Grow as a Global Ministry Leader

By Andrew Shaughnessy, Oct 22, 2019

As MTW prayerfully looks to grow in numbers and in kingdom impact, it is clear that we will need more and more leaders in our organization.

We aim to build them.

“We have both a great need and a great opportunity to develop leadership for the future,” said MTW Director of Member Care and Development Brian Deringer. “A lot of our leadership at MTW is of an older generation that’s coming close to retirement. But there is a strong will within the organization to develop new leaders for the future.”

So MTW is building several professional development pipelines to identify, foster, and equip grace-driven visionaries from the beginning to the end of their careers.

Just Starting Out: Mentored Internships
Millennials and Gen Z are the future of the church and of missions, and we want to set them up for success. That’s why we’ve begun the Path 270 internship program, for 20- to 26-year-olds considering careers as long-term missionaries.

With Path 270, interns will travel the globe together, spending three months in Europe, three in Asia, and three in a cross-cultural setting in America—gaining valuable ministry experience and perspective in dramatically different contexts. Along the way, they’ll be mentored by missionaries who understand the complexities of the cultures that surround them.

“That 20 to 26 age range is such a pivotal time in so many people’s lives,” said MTW Senior Director of U.S. Operations Kendra Jeffreys. “We have so many young people who come to us trying to figure out, ‘How did God make me? What are the gifts that He’s given me?’ ... We want this internship to be a structured path to a deeper relationship with the Lord, to understanding more about themselves, other cultures, and their role in advancing God’s kingdom.”

Mid-Career: Continuous Professional Development for All
For both missionaries in the field and stateside staff, MTW is creating a professional development pipeline, personalized to each and every employee.

“The idea is simple,” said Cartee Bales, MTW’s senior director of field operations. “Each member of MTW will have a development path and then will have training opportunities along that path. … At the same time, we aim to identify people who have leadership gifts and skills that can be developed earlier in their career, so that when there is an opportunity for them to step into leadership and use those gifts, they are ready to do that.”

According to Bales, these professional development paths won’t be ready for a few years yet, but MTW’s current leadership is actively building out the program.

From the moment a new MTW employee is on-boarded they will set short- and long-term professional goals, then plan out what experiences, trainings, or certifications they will need to get there. If, along the way, God changes a person’s desired plan, they can pivot to a different path and take advantage of training and coaching there instead.

Leaders for the Long-Haul: Identify Early, Train Continuously
MTW’s push to boost leadership development stems in large part from the 1% Challenge. Over the last several years, MTW has challenged PCA churches to pray that God would raise up 1% of their congregations to serve as new cross-cultural missionaries over the next 10 years. If God answered that prayer, and if those missionaries serve with MTW, it would mean 2,877 new missionaries deployed across the globe.

“That new missionary force will be built on the backs of team leaders, and we need to begin preparing in faith,” said MTW missionary David Stoddard, who serves as the international director for MTW’s missionaries in Europe. “Back when I joined MTW, the assumption was that to be in leadership you’d better sit in the trenches for five to six years before we set you free. I would like to move much more quickly.”

In Europe, Stoddard and his team have built out two separate leadership development tracks. The first, required for all first-year team leaders in Europe, involves intensive assessment followed by individualized coaching that addresses their relationship with God, understanding themselves and their relationship to others, along with practical leadership skills development. The second track, offered to all other missionaries in Europe, provides continuous education and professional development on topics such as principles of healthy church planting.

Though Stoddard’s team in Europe has a head start, MTW as a whole is building up a similar continuous leadership assessment and training program. Even now, field leadership is engaged in a 360-degree review and mentoring follow-up program aimed at analyzing strengths and weaknesses and training each leader to serve their team well.

For aspiring leaders who want to deepen their skills, now is a great time to join MTW. “If you are a potential leader, we are looking for you,” said Stoddard. “We want to equip, empower, and set you free.”

Andrew Shaughnessy

Andrew Shaughnessy is a long-time word slinger who spent nearly six years as MTW’s staff writer, gathering and telling impact stories from missionaries across the globe. These days, he’s off working as an analyst and editor in the publishing industry, writing fiction, and mountaineering. He holds a B.A. in history and English literature from Covenant College, and an M.S. in political science from Portland State University.

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