March 14, 2016
By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Global Missions has launched a new leadership development resource to challenge traditional beliefs about God’s mission in the world and the role of Christians in God’s mission.
Pivot: Turning Teams Toward God’s Mission Near and Far is a resource geared especially to those seeking deeper meaning in short-term mission experiences. The 106-page spiral bound publication considers and offers guidance on the impact of the local community as well as teams of these short-term trips. From the period of mission preparation, on-site experience to pivoting back home, Pivot seeks to train individuals and congregations, including clergy and laity, to think critically about cross-cultural mission engagement.
Pivot is co-authored by CBF field personnel Matt and Michelle Norman, who serve in Barcelona, Spain, and was edited by Ryan Clark, CBF’s Global Missions Church Engagement Manager.
“When one pivots, one changes the way he or she intends to continue toward a destination,” Matt Norman said. “It’s not that the intention or the destination changes. It is the way one continues that intent. We are asking individual and churches who want to engage in mission to pause for a moment, to pivot and then continue on mission.”
“Pivot is an outstanding resource for groups seeking to reframe the way they minister in local communities as well as around the world,” Jones said. “It teaches leaders how to be partners, bringing all of our collective gifts and abilities to the table.”
CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter emphasized that Pivot plays a vital role in “exploring a conceptual shift in short-term missions.”
“It is not so much a preparation guide for mission trips as it is a process to transform the way we see God’s world and the church’s missionary calling within it.”
Pivot follows a three-stage process (Preparation, On-site Engagement and Pivot Home), and each stage is composed of six to eight lessons. The Preparation stage asks the question “Why Practice Mission?” and explores scripture, theology, leadership, context and values to assist readers and teams in developing their own missiology. The On-site stage, designed to integrate the cross-cultural and learning experiences, looks at hearing and seeing the “other,” learning culture and asset mapping. The final stage of this resource invites readers to apply what they’ve learned on-site to their home community.
Groups working through Pivot are invited into a closer relationship with CBF field personnel and are equipped to leverage their expertise, along with those of other leaders in the community, to move into a deeper understanding of God’s work in the world and their role in that work. Groups meet regularly, using video conferencing to connect with field personnel, studying and discerning together throughout this visioning process.
“It was exciting to work on this project with Matt and Michelle Norman,” Clark said. “Pivot reminds me of when I completed Experiencing God in college. While that resource was about scriptural teaching of what God wanted for me and my response, Pivot is about how God speaks through the Bible and our mission engagement to reveal God’s vision for our church community.”
CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry efforts, global missions and a broad community of support.The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.