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Making disciples among the unreached
     

Ministry in Alaska and Canada takes a Full Cast and Crew

Tags: Administrative, Bible Studies, Community Development, Construction, Discipleship, Evangelism, Health Care, Pastoral Care, Training nationals, Youth Ministry, Alaska, Canada, SEND North, Story

If you want to know about ministry in Alaska and Northern Canada, you should think of it like making a movie.  When people think of who is needed to make a movie, they first think of actors. Yet after the movie finishes, the credits roll for a long time, and most of the names listed aren't actors. When people think of who is needed to do missionary work, they likely picture a cross-cultural church planter sitting in a jungle tribe learning a new language. Yet many people are involved in missions work who fill other important roles.

SEND International's mission is to mobilize God’s people and engage the unreached in order to establish reproducing churches. In short, SEND is an organization dedicated to “church planting among the unreached” throughout northern North America, Europe, and Asia.

We in SEND North are the branch of SEND International that operates in Alaska, northern Canada, and eventually in Greenland. We desire to see every community of the 60/70 Window filled with local disciple-makers who meet together regularly and have established regional leadership. This is the heart of why I pursued missions.

I recognized that my home town was overflowing with people who were activeily making disciples of Jesus. There were a plethora of solid churches working together to reach out to our community. I desired to serve Christ, but I wanted to do it where there was a greater need than Cedar Falls, Iowa. That decision led me to Bible college, aviation training, marrying my wife, Marissa, and eventually moving to Alaska. During the preparation process, I had no idea exactly how I would serve God, I just knew it was my heart’s desire to do so.

When we first heard about the opportunity in Alaska, we heard that pilots were needed to serve as church planters as part of a regional ministry team. This vision, combined with the opportunity to help with youth ministry, captured our hearts and brought us to Naknek. What we especially loved about SEND North is that there is no cookie cutter ministry role.

It takes more than just traditional church-planters to form the “full cast and crew” of our ministry. Both before and after arriving in Alaska, the ministry emphasis has been on remaining flexible and following God into the opportunities he creates.Here are a few of the roles that people fill within SEND North (and how many people are filling each role):

  • regional team leaders (5)
  • aircraft mechanics (5)
  • pilots (10)
  • public school teachers (7)
  • pastors (9)
  • nurses & health workers (2)
  • volunteer fire fighter/EMS (2)
  • youth ministry workers (13)
  • small business owners (5)
  • small group Bible teachers (15-20?)
  • worship leaders (5)
  • church planting directors (1 for Alaska, 1 for Canada)
  • financial experts (2)
  • media expert (1)
  • executive leadership (2)
  • short term ministry coordinators (4)
  • ministry training coordinators (4)
  • personnel and human resources managers (2)
  • partnership resource coordinators (developing relationships with churches and donors for the purpose of fundraising and ministry cooperation) (2)

(All of the numbers above are only estimates. Nearly all of our people are filling multiple roles, so it is sometimes hard to accurately fit labels on them.) Two things impress me about all this:

  1. There are huge needs and tons of ministry opportunities in Alaska and Northern Canada.
  2. It takes all kinds of people with a variety of gifts, working together, to see the Kingdom advance.

What about you? Has God given you a passion to see the people of Alaska and Northern Canada (or Greenland) find salvation and life transformation through Jesus? If so, I imagine there is some way you can be a part of the team. Most likely you have a skill that we need!

written by Jim Stamberg Area Director

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