Gleanings From IW Tour

Gleanings From IW Tour

One of the great things about being part of the Alliance is that we have regular and frequent opportunities to have International Workers present in our churches. In the RMD this typically means several days, and not just for a Sunday. For some of you, this may feel very normal, but for others who have ministry experience outside of the Alliance, you know how rare this can be in American churches.

Because this is largely uncommon, we want to steward this gift well for the glory of God, the lost around the world, and the people of our churches. I believe that, as a District overall, we are succeeding in this aim. I frequently hear comments from International Workers about how well they were treated and how engaged our RMD churches are in the global mission of God. For many workers, it is their first time in our District, yet they leave with a desire and request to return on their next Home Assignment. 

One of the ways that we have developed this culture is by keeping an eye toward improvement and adapting with changing times. To this end, we generally ask the International Workers who tour with us if they would provide feedback as to their experience in our District. Since our spring tour just wrapped up, I thought that I would provide a summary of the most common feedback we received this year: two areas to keep pressing into, and one to continue to develop.

Areas of Strength

Variety of Ministry. An overwhelming number of International Workers commented positively on the wide variety of ministry opportunities in which they were able to engage: Sunday sermons, Sunday School, kids club, men’s/women’s breakfasts, potlucks, meals with church members, parties, Bible studies – the list was very long. Great job integrating the International Workers into the total fabric of your church’s ministry!

Personal Care. The vast majority of International Workers made specific comments related to one or more of four items: downtime and fun activities for recreation, generous love offerings, welcoming and friendly church members, and gifts, cards, or other care for their family back home. These things are so meaningful to the workers and show that we are not only concerned with the mission of God but also the ministers of God. You’ve done a great job in loving our workers!

A Growing Edge

Communication. By far the most frequent comment related to future improvement concerned communication. The comments fall into three categories:

  1. Schedule. There was often a lack of communication about day-to-day activity. Some workers expressed that they wished they would have known more about what the week was going to look like so they could better prepare. It was not uncommon to hear a worker mention that they weren’t even sure where they were staying, or where they should drive to, until the morning they left the prior church.
  2. Ministry Settings. There was an overall desire for increased information about the nature of the church and its ministry. For example, what is the demographic makeup and the general culture of the church? What does a normal men’s breakfast look like? Are there children present throughout the entire service? 
  3. Technology. Churches vary widely in their use of technology and software, and it was mentioned frequently that knowing what was available to a worker for their presentations would have been helpful information.

I found this feedback to be very helpful and encouraging for two reasons. First, it’s obvious that we’re doing well in the essential areas of attitude, generosity, and ministry engagement. Second, communication is a very easy area to improve. Setting some time aside several weeks prior to the worker’s arrival to have a conversation in which plans can be shared and questions can be answered isn’t difficult, and it would result in even more effectiveness. 

So, there you have it! Be encouraged, be challenged if needed, and keep growing in your ability to steward that which the Lord has entrusted to you!

Together with you,

Chris or (406) 647-2764