Our Key to Lasting Impact
Deep, Lasting Impact Comes Through Long-Term Relationships
Nearly 70 years of mission work around the world has taught us a few things. One that surpasses all others is that the deep, lasting impact that we all long for in our work most reliably comes from long-term investment in relationships. More than programs and more than resources, it is people pouring together with people in the name of Jesus and by the power of the Spirit which changes cultures and communities and families.
The Inner Home
In many Arab cultures, the house is built with a courtyard and a main room where guests are welcome. You might visit for years and enjoy the company of the family, but never be invited to see the rest of the home. This is because there is a difference between hospitality to guests and welcome into the family.
This protected inner home is a concept present in many cultures, where deep access to the inner life is something you gain only with time.
There is an irreplaceable need for long-term presence with cross-cultural ministry.
We have seen enough good Christian work move into communities and only ever gain access to the outer courtyard, and when the group leaves, so leaves whatever advancement was made.
WorldVenture believes that whereas there is value and a place for short-term work, there is very much an irreplaceable need for long-term presence with cross-cultural ministry.
Jesus Modeled Long-Term, Relational Investment First
“Then he called them. They immediately left the boat and their father and followed him.” Matt. 4:21, 22.
Jesus spent three years day and night with his disciples. Whereas, He could have pursued other means of transforming the world ... like a hostile takeover with an enormous army, or starting a university to teach His principles, or politics, or money, but He didn’t. He chose twelve men and invested everything into them for three years. Then when He left, they continued His work until their own executions (except for John who died in exile.)
Jesus chose relationship as the means of bringing the church into the world.
It was the disciples relationship with Jesus that drove them to all the corners of the earth preaching the good news.
In our experience in missions, the greatest and most lasting fruit only follows the investment of time and relationship.
For Example : Senegal
We have seen two generations of missionaries invest in Senegal, West Africa.
The first generation of missionaries worked for years and years without seeing many Senegalese come to faith.
The second generation of missionaries are seeing a huge spreading revival from village to village, where now one of the great challenges is to train enough pastors to shepherd the congregations. Believers will walk hours from outlying villages to reach a hub village where they can hear the word preached.
Now many short-term church trips are able to go for only a couple weeks and see a number of people come to faith, but that would not have been possible if it were not for the years of faithful, sacrificial service from that previous generation.
How Long is Long Enough?
QUESTION : How long should I consider serving in missions?
ANSWER : It depends on the assignment.
For each of the opportunities we list on our website, we include a minimum and maximum length of service. This is because if you want to come and establish a church in a city where there is no access to the gospel AND you want to do it in a month ... you’re not being realistic. Our church planting opportunities will often require 3 to 5 years commitment.
But if you want to come and produce video to help local believers communicate the gospel in their language ... well that might be something you can do in a month (if you’re a quick editor).
Access to hearts and minds often starts on the other side of the language barrier.
To be successful at most of our opportunities, a person will need to learn the language of the host culture. Language acquisition is a priority for WorldVenture. Access to hearts and minds often starts on the other side of the language barrier.