By Heather Mustain
CBF recently published a leadership development training resource called Pivot: Turning Teams Toward God’s Mission Near and Far.
There’s no shortage of research that suggests short-term mission trips are not as impactful on trip participants or those they intend to serve as perhaps we once believed, especially if they are executed poorly. Pivot intends to be a part of the solution in helping congregations re-imagine their involvement in the mission of God, both near and far.
There are three phases to Pivot; preparation, on-site engagement and pivoting back home. This process takes about a year to fully complete, a much different approach than a normal one week to ten-day mission trip, with the real crux of transformation resting in the pivoting back home phase.
For the past six months, eight of us have been working through this material together. We spent five months preparing for our ten-day learning experience in Barcelona, reading and discussing basic missiology and poverty alleviation methodology. And last week we returned home from our on-site engagement phase where we heard from local pastors about the current state of the Evangelical church, discussed Spain’s social ideology and its implications for newly arriving refugees, heard testimonies of life-long atheists coming to faith in Christ, and learned how to understand a community by it’s assets instead of it’s deficiencies.
But now begins the real work, where we will discuss how we will implement what God has revealed to each of us and craft a covenant to keep each other accountable to our commitments.
Barcelona was beautiful and not a horrible place to spend ten days. The city is so charming, the Sagrada Familia takes your breath away, the Gothic District transports you back in time, the art scene is exquisite. But for me, the lifestyle was a breath of fresh air. Kids playing outside, friends dining at lunch or in cafes for hours, couples strolling through well-kept green spaces, people enjoying one another’s presence. It was obvious that people in Spain work to live, not live to work and that relationships were the fabric of society.
As I’ve returned to work overwhelmed with a full email inbox and voicemail, preparation for an upcoming event and speaking engagements, and organizing our holiday giving, I’ve had to take deep breaths each time someone “interrupts” my work day and remind myself that I want to be about people and relationships not production. Transformation isn’t always about monumental ideas, but often times it comes in the form of simple reminders that call us back to faithfully following Christ in our everyday life and actually doing something about it.
Heather Mustain serves as the Minister of Missions at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.