To download the original copy please follow this link: News Update – March 2015
From this issue of News Update:
I have often been asked, “Why do you lead so many STM teams? What are the benefits of a STM team? Shouldn’t we be investing more in full time missionaries? I have heard comments like, “People go on STM trips mainly for a vacation and to get away,” or “The money that is used to send a STM team overseas may be better used in various different ministries.” “STM teams are more of a hindrance than help because the locals will have to look after and take care of the teams.”
These are questions and comments that come from well meaning Christians, and as a pastor for 15 years and now a full time missionary, these are issues that I have had to tackle, and even ask myself, “Why do I lead and train STM teams? Is it worth it?”
The truth of the matter is that missions as we know it has been changing over the last number of decades. Though career missionaries will always be used by God, and I deeply respect and admire the Hudson Taylors and David Livingstons, financial support for career missionaries have been declining resulting in fewer missionaries. However, God has raised up an army of STMers to come alongside these career missionaries to continue to spread the gospel globally. In many ways, we are all called to be career missionaries as we should be sharing God’s love to all that cross our path whether it be with our families, our friends, classmates, colleagues, or cross culturally in another country.
As I have led the STM teams, and have also talked to many leaders both abroad and locally, I have come to the conclusion that it definitely is worth it and there are many benefits to be part of a team.
It is Biblical as the Bible teaches us in the Great Commission to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19) We are also called to love our neighbors as ourselves and be the hands and feet of Christ.
Benefits to the STM member includes: developing their own spiritual gifts, strengthening their leadership skills, learning to depend on God for their needs, developing a greater awareness of the world, and learning to have a thankful heart.
Almost every STM member that I have gone with comes back with their lives transformed. A number of them have gone on to serve on mission committees, attend Bible school, and become pastors. They see God serve on a global scale and have desire to share more courageously their faith.
Benefits to the sending church includes: a mission vision for the church, people who want to serve in their church upon return from their trip, and greater unity as the church prays as one for the STM team.
Benefits to the host includes: fresh energy, resources, and volunteers to share the gospel and being able to worship with the larger body of Christ. I have talked to many foreign leaders asking them if bringing STM teams is more of a hindrance than a blessing because they need to take care and look after the team. I told them perhaps we can be more help by praying and just sending money. Every response that I have received was, “Yes, please continue to pray for us, send money, but more important, please continue to send the people. They are an inspiration to us and when the locals see that a STM team has come all this way to work with the local church planter, it gives the church planter instant credibility, and people will be more prone to hear God’s message from that church planter.
At CIM, we bring STM teams to Ghana and Togo. I have been blessed to work alongside many STMers. The relationships I have built have been wonderful. Please prayerfully consider if the Lord is calling you on a STM to Ghana or to Togo. If you would like more information about how to join one of our teams, or what our teams do on a STM, please do not hesitate to email me at email@example.com
Rev. Isaac Quan (Associate Executive Director)