Church Volunteer (various)

Arab World / Theology / Church / 1-11 months, 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 1513

The Church’s vision is to grow, to train people for ministry, to design new programs and activities for youth and children, to increase unity, to be a neighbourhood church that attracts the neighbours to its services, to increase social activities, and to minister to the refugees in the area.

There are many possibilities for this role: the church and neighbourhood have many needs but the need is for human resources. The church would like someone who is able to fulfill one or more of the following roles: Youth work, tutoring (French and English), music (for example to start a choir with the youth), teaching English to refugees, working with the elderly (the church has an old people’s home — nursing experience would be a bonus!), visiting refugees in the neighborhood and co-ordinating relief, writing grant proposals and administration to improve ministry in the neighborhood, medical ministry, beginning a theological/ministry training centre, manual work to maintain the church building.

The ideal person for this role is someone with entrepreneurial characteristics, willing to work independently but with a high degree of judgement and cultural sensitivity. No specific qualifications are required if you are able to carry out one of the listed roles. If candidate has no working Arabic, some Arabic study whilst in country is required.

Youth Pastor

South East Asia / Theology / Church / 2+ years / Job ID: 1566

Vision: By God’s grace, the church seeks to nurture disciples of Jesus who encounter God and one another, and are vibrant, refreshed and equipped for loving service and outreach. Mission: The church’s purpose is to glorify God by knowing Him in community, growing in Christlikeness, and going to serve.

This is a full-time position mainly serving English-speaking 12- to 18-year-olds. The youth pastor will maintain and grow a personal spiritual life; develop good relationships with young people in the community; lead and organize effective youth programs providing fellowship, worship, biblical study, spiritual formation, service, and mission opportunities; provide counseling and discipleship training to church youth to help them grow in their intelligent and faithful commitment to Jesus Christ, and to winsomely seek to introduce other youth in the community to the life of faith in Christ. The youth pastor will serve as a team player and an encourager to other members of the pastoral team, and give spiritual input to help fulfill the overall vision of the church.

Applicants should have a vibrant personal Christian faith, a love of young people and a passion to make disciples, the ability to teach young people, cross-cultural experience, formal Bible training, up-to-date understanding of child protection policies and practice, and experience in working with youth. We are looking for someone who is a gifted communicator with confidence to speak in front of large and small groups, a team player with the ability to encourage and work collaboratively with other volunteers and staff, and with skills in creating programmes and the ability to plan ahead.

Youth Worker

West Asia / Theology / Church / 1-11 months, 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 560

The churches in the major cities in this land need help with developing youth ministry. Reaching the youth and discipling them is a big need.

A significant focus for the churches in this country is providing ministry and support for teens. There is very little being done and it’s a significant need. Those with skill and focus on this age-group can work even while they are learning language.

Applicants should have experience in youth work, be initiators and self-starters, have the desire and calling to work with youth and teens, and have the ability to work with others, under the authority of a pastor or other leader.

Seminary Faculty

South Asia / Theology / Church / 2+ years / Job ID: 235

An evangelical seminary trains students for ministry.

Faculty are needed at the graduate level (MDiv) for the following areas: Biblical Studies, Systematic Theology, Church History, Christian Ed, Counseling, Greek, and Hebrew. The qualified candidate will have a ThM or PhD/ThD.

Bible School Faculty

Pakistan / Theology / Church / 2+ years / Job ID: 240

Faculty are needed at the undergraduate level (B.Th.) for a bible school. The qualified candidate would have a M.Div.

Evangelist

South Asia / Theology / Church / 2+ years / Job ID: 226

This 75-bed hospital serves the tribal people of a remote region. It has good operating rooms, and is supported by laboratory, pharmacy, X-ray and ultrasound facilities and has physiotherapy and mother/child healthcare departments.

The evangelist is to work with the resident pastor, to talk and pray with patients and visitors; to speak to patients and visitors at Daily Devotions and in Outpatients, to lead Bible Studies and prayer groups for staff and interested people, and to work with external organisations.

A theologically trained Christian, who is prepared to commit at least three years to the position, of which twelve to eighteen months would be in language study. Either male or female, but female preferred because the majority of our patients are female.

Theology Lecturer

Pakistan / Theology / Church / 2+ years / Job ID: 189

St. Thomas Theological College has an opening for faculty of theology and missions.

Imitating God’s kindness

Each week our family has the privilege of supporting Khruu, a local Christian community leader, to reach out to children who live in the city’s largest slum by teaching them who Jesus is and what He has done. This ministry originated out of our own local Thai church. This slum community has numerous social problems ranging from substance abuse to domestic violence and neglect … and is spiritually oppressed. The reality for each child is that these problems are a natural and deep-rooted part of their surroundings. However, in spite of these challenges, God has enabled us to get to know these children well and to witness their growing desire to know Jesus.

Nong is a 10-year-old boy. His father has long since left and his mother is heavily in debt and hounded by debt collectors. He has recently had to flee home with his mother in order to avoid these debt collectors. The Christian community leader Khruu herself lives in the slums and does not have much money. But Khruu sought to imitate God’s abounding grace and kindness to this boy by purchasing a new uniform for him to wear to school. It was the first set of new clothes Nong had ever worn to school. Before this, it had always been fourth or fifth hand-me-downs, worn out and covered in blotches. Nong was so grateful and now walks to school with pride. His grandmother, who also lives in the slums, has encouraged his mother to return to the community on the weekends so Nong can still participate in our Sunday school outreach program and get ready for school for the coming week.

Asking the question “Is mission relevant?” presupposes the answer to a related question, “Whose mission is it?” The question of mission’s relevancy cannot be disassociated from the One whose mission it is.

What seems indisputable from Genesis to Revelation is that our God is the unstoppable God who is bringing about His unstoppable mission. In spite of humanity’s every effort to thwart God’s plans, the creator and redeemer God relentlessly demonstrates His abounding love, righteous justice and profound wisdom to all humanity.

And in the course of God’s salvation history, the death and resurrection of God the Son is the epitome of this divine love, justice and wisdom. By natural consequence, all must respond to His offer of amazing grace. When God’s redeemed seek to imitate the very nature of God himself—his abounding grace and kindness—the world cannot but at least acknowledge that this transformation must come from the divine, particularly when juxtaposed against fallen humanity.

Nong’s circumstances reflect the hope of the salvation we have received, which shapes our lives now in anticipation of that certainty when Jesus will create all things anew. At that time the foolish decisions of others will no longer have a devastating impact on children. All that will remain will be praise and glory to the One who has redeemed us out of our own poverty of sin and who will give us pure and blameless clothes to wear for eternity.

Dan works with the national church to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children.
Names have been changed.

Still needed and wanted

Imagine a country dominated by communist atheism for 70 years! For people to know God’s love, missionaries were certainly needed after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. One elderly woman told me how, after growing up believing there was no God, it was wonderful to learn that there was a God who loved her. Her life and the lives of many others were transformed in those early days. With the help of the early missionaries to Central Asia, churches were established, local leaders put in place and initiatives begun to reach out to others with the news of God’s love in Jesus.

But more than 20 years later, are mission workers still needed in Central Asia? My local colleagues will answer a resounding “yes!” … if the workers are willing to work in partnership with local believers, supporting and strengthening them as they reach out to others and help people grow in faith and understanding.

I enjoy the great privilege of working with teachers in a theological college as we help students to understand the Bible and the Christian faith more deeply, so they can communicate well to others. Our teachers have only been Christians for 20 years or less. Therefore, they value partnership with others from the wider church with broader experience. They appreciate help with such things as understanding material, planning courses, finding helpful books, teaching and preaching.

A foreigner with wider knowledge often knows where to access financial and other resources. We’ve been able to access funds to computerise our library and, thanks to the assistance of a librarian friend from Australia, for our librarian to learn how to use the system. Outside assistance has allowed us to buy more books in the local languages and to translate some helpful commentaries.

When mentioning retirement in a few years’ time, I am met with responses such as “Where did that idea come from?”, “If you are going to leave us, you need to find someone else to come and help us!”, “We want you to work with more teachers to teach more subjects”, “You need to make sure we can do this or that before you leave!”

Of course, I’ve had a lot to learn over the years and I keep learning, not only the language but much more about life and relationships here. I’ve made mistakes and been helped by my local colleagues to understand how to do things better and differently. We have disagreements and patiently work things out together. I’m sometimes told that “We have a different mentality” and I try to see things from a different cultural point of view. And I’m humbled by the love and appreciation I receive.

Other Partners here are greatly valued as they serve alongside local people, showing the love of Jesus in their lives and work. They teach English or Korean or Mandarin, serve with a local team in a shelter for homeless people, do further training for medical personnel, set up businesses and NGOs which employ local workers, serve and support local church leaders, and teach in a school for international children so their parents can serve here. Such people are still needed and wanted, and opportunities abound.

I’ve never heard anyone here say, “We don’t need missionaries!” I have heard people speak negatively about missionaries who want to control, who try to “buy” them, who “just live here” and don’t do much, who “feed their dogs with meat we can’t afford to eat”, who try to impose another culture onto them. They want mission workers who will work with them, under them, alongside them, as they seek to bring the love of God to their own people.

Gwen is a Partner who has been working alongside the church in Central Asia for the past 14 years.
Names have been changed.

The Richter effect

Excited children spill into the dark street. Distracted briefly from the ever-present danger of this illegal celebration, more than 100 people are celebrating the saviour’s birth in this unassuming living room. Jammed together, perspiring, excited, these national friends exude the bonds of community and deeply forged friendships carved from the harshness of life in this province. I am included in their community, the one “family member” with no beautiful colour in my skin.

As always, I struggle to process the disparities: the disproportionate (in terms of effort) encouragement our visits bring to these people; the tumbling piles of expensive clothes and toys left behind by departing expats to be shared among my national friends. I struggle with questions such as, “What giveaway message is here for my friends?” “What legacy has been left by those beautiful expat families who have now gone?” This focus suddenly changes as I look at Adin’s face, an island of pain in the midst of this celebration.

Adin and Diwa represent to me all that is noble and good here. They have lived sacrificially for more than a decade here to help the people of this marginalised and repressed area. But, being nationals from another province, they are considered outsiders, mocked and discriminated against in employment and housing. Richly endowed with skills and caring hearts, Adin and Diwa teach organic gardening skills to their neighbours and friends. Luscious strawberries and healthy vegetables grow in these gardens, enough to help feed their own family as they face the daily challenge of finding enough food. Lately there has even been enough produce to sell a little, marginally easing the acuteness of financial stress that plagues such workers’ lives.

We too have lived in this province—harsh in climate and sanctions but so rich in glorious natural beauty. Memories of laughing faces and wet bodies still linger, reminders of our weekly retreat meetings with other expatriates. What also lingers is the knowledge that few similar intentional events had existed for the national workers. During our time in the province, changes were made to bring this encouragement to nationals in their own language and culture, but something more regular was urgently needed to “strengthen the arm” of these people.

The term “member care” is not new for some of us, but for our national friends it was a foreign concept. Sent out from their home areas, they had existed for so long in isolation without regular care that they didn’t understand when we asked, “What would make you feel encouraged?’” or “What can we do to support you?” So much for ethnographic surveys! What a golden opportunity for us to become a living example of the Father heart of God in caring for them.

Our international team members loved being tasked with initiating regular gatherings for national workers. Monthly gatherings began at beaches or in homes. Families met for socialisation, de-briefing and prayer. Adults met for weekly networking. They had never experienced such encouragement before on a regular basis. Workers travelled from other cities; weekly meetings started in other locations. The model of member care lived out in situ was having the Richter effect, cascading out like the earth tremors we frequently felt.

We now have a vision for a next step. Most expat workers have left the province and that lovely island retreat centre is no longer allowed to host such events. The love of Christ compels us to walk alongside our national friends to see the establishment in another location of a facility for gatherings, for rest and refreshment, for counsel and spiritual direction for the national workers who seek to bring light and hope to marginalised population groups.

Alice is a long-term Partner, walking alongside national workers in South East Asia.

Names have been changed.