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April 2012 Training Tracks

Hi fellow SEND-ers,
In this edition:

  • MOP-up begins
  • SEND U logo search
  • MinistryStyle assessment available
  • Learning about story-telling

MOP-up has begun. This new training initiative of SEND U has been in the planning stages for the past 3-4 months after it was approved by Directors' Council in November. We trained coaches for MOP-up, put more of the MOPtraining on the wiki and SharePoint, developed a process for enrollment, and of course contacted all of the area leaders to find out who is ready for MOP-up. Generally, a missionary enters the 3-month MOP-up training after they have completed language study and have received their first ministry assignment, but there will be exceptions. We currently have 4 first-term missionaries enrolled, and more will soon be added. The participants are beginning to review the Member Orientation Program material, now from the perspective of reality rather than theory. Each of them has been given a coach to help them process what they are learning. You can read more about what the MOP-up program entails on the SEND U wiki.

SEND U is looking for a logo. Our Leadership Team thinks it would be helpful to establish our identity within SEND and even more broadly to other mission organizations that use SEND U resources (SEND U wikiSEND U trainingblog, online course). I have already asked our SEND U Facebook group for suggestions, but I welcome some more creative ideas. The logo should communicate the idea of lifelong learning and growth. I will give a $20 Amazon gift certificate to anyone who comes up with an idea for a logo that we end up choosing. I will make that $50 if you come up with both an idea and an actual logo. The SEND U Leadership Team meeting is in 2 weeks (April 24), so send me your ideas before then.

At the beginning of the year, we decided to renew our license for the MinistryStyles Visual Personality Profile and Assessment. MinistryStyles is a practical tool that measures who you are, and then provides a systematic report that can be compared to the Portraits (or profiles) of others. It is built on the DiSC analysis but goes much further and into much greater detail. About 70 SEND people have already completed the assessment. Send me an email if you would like to do one as well. It is free to SEND members, staff, and children. Unfortunately the program only works on PC computers, but soon a web-based assessment will also be available.

One of the items on my own individual development plan for this year is to learn more about story-telling and orality and how to train missionaries to serve among the 60 - 70% of this world's population who cannot, do not, or prefer not to learn through literate means. Almost all of the ministry training I have received in the past was built on the assumption that people can read God's Word. But the majority of the world, including the vast majority of the unreached people groups in the world, is not going to be reached through printed or Internet-based text. These people (and maybe some of us) will only really hear the good news in a meaningful way if it is communicated through stories. This November, Directors' Council will be learning about story-telling from Dr. Larry Dinkins, an OMF missionary. You can hear or read Larry's journey into story-telling online. I have just finished reading Making Disciples of Oral Learners, available as a free PDF download from the International Orality Network. This short book (only about 75 pages) gives a good overview of the need for narrative approaches, even among those cultures where we assume a high percentage of the people are literate. I would welcome your thoughts (email or on Facebook) about the need for missionaries to be trained in story-telling.

Keep learning,