Short Term Ministry for Longer Term Results
Posted by danneker on November 29th, 2013 | 1 comment
What makes a short term ministry team a success? In our opinion, it’s when teams come willing to serve in their giftedness but also willing to be stretched and do what’s needed. In planting communities of faith, the ministry is constantly changing. We have seen God use each team He sends us in unique ways, often in ministries we could not have done without them.
The Glenview Alliance Church (Glen Rock, PA) short term ministry team came to Thailand (Nov 4-16, 2013) ready to learn, ready to serve, ready to be stretched, and ready to do what was necessary for the task at hand. As with previous short term teams that have come along side us, they were a great encouragement and blessing to our longer term ministry team. Highlights included English outreaches at a local sports college and a local elementary school and prayer walking through the “House of Peace” area of Mahachai.
The sports college English outreach was only confirmed by the school two weeks before the Glenview team arrived. Then instead of the expected 100 freshmen divided in seven stations around campus, we were forced to stay in one large classroom because of the driving torrential rain. Only around 50 students braved the weather to join the event. But God turned the situation around giving us a quiet, more personal atmosphere in the roomy large classroom. After the team performed the Good Samaritan mime, Pastor Sukprasan powerfully shared the Gospel. Sensing the interest of the audience, he gave the students a chance to ask Jesus into their hearts. Pastor heard someone praying after him. After our fun “English through Action” classes, I (Sue) sought out the young lady who prayed out loud. Nit briefly shared her story and I encouraged her to read the literature we were passing out and to come to church on Sunday.
Local Elementary School
The weather was perfect as 130 adorable grades 4, 5 and 6 students sat attentively to begin the English program. They roared with laughter as the team did the Good Samaritan skit. Pastor Sukprasan shared the gospel through colors. Then the students split up and went to seven different classrooms to participate in our English through Action classes, rotating every 20 minutes to a new teacher. These children of simple means were so appreciative of the wordless book bracelets and school supplies donated by the children in Glenview Alliance Church’s Awana program. Many students seemed eager to put on the bracelet. Each child also received Christian literature and candies.
House of Peace
The plan was: prayer walk on Thursday afternoon then pass out “Steps to Peace with God” Gospel tracts on Friday afternoon in an area called “House of Peace.” With the extra manpower that the short term team brought, we felt we could canvas the entire neighborhood in that time frame. After we made the plans and announced the event, we learned that two men from the church had lived in this area before they became Christians. One man, Lek, had really lived a worldly lifestyle, participating heavily in many vices and sins before he was saved. He hadn’t been back to this old neighborhood for 15 or more years. Lek was in my group. He totally ignored the map Ed had drawn up and the idea of prayer walking. He instead went to visit everyone he knew who still lived there. We just followed him, praying as we went into rundown shanties, into snooker halls, into bars, etc. “I’m a Christian now, here read this tract, it’s good news,” Lek said each time he found someone he knew. The old neighbors and friends hardly recognized him. “This is the daughter of my friend. My friend’s still in prison…” “I built this house, but couldn’t pay the mortgage so the bank foreclosed on me,” Lek shared as we followed him. We ran into Ed’s group as we crisscrossed the neighborhood. Arun, another man in the church, was doing the same as Lek. He wanted to make sure everyone he knew, now knew that he was a Christian and give them a Gospel tract. Ed had his group stop and pray after meeting with an old friend. Our group just hustled to keep up with Lek. It poured down rain on Friday, flooding the streets and some of the simple houses in that neighborhood, so our plan of passing out the Gospel tracts that day had to be canceled. But Praise God, HIS plan was not thwarted on Thursday!
Praise God for all the Kingdom advances as a result of the short term ministry team coming alongside our longer term ministry team. To God be the Glory! Please now pray as we do follow-up and continue to water the seeds that were planted.