YWAM Montana - Lakeside https://ywammontana.org Whatever it takes to know God and to make Him known, Together! Sun, 26 Apr 2015 15:17:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What’s the Point of Outdoor Ministry? https://ywammontana.org/whats-the-point-of-outdoor-ministry/ https://ywammontana.org/whats-the-point-of-outdoor-ministry/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 18:45:54 +0000 https://ywammontana.org/?p=4721 Ministry today looks much different than it did 2000 years ago, but the message is the same. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save us from eternal separation. My pastor once said, “The Gospel is kind of like a can of soda. If you look at the style and design of a soda can from 20 years ago you would see a lot of differences, but the contents are still the same.” It is the same with the ways we do ministry. Our methods change and evolve with the times.

Outdoor adventure ministries are one of the new opportunities we can use to bring people to Jesus, make disciples, and to give people a chance to get away from the busyness of life and connect with their Creator. We need this! Take a look at Jesus; there were many times when He “slipped away” to the wilderness or garden to spend time listening to His Father. Shouldn’t we do the same?

RISK, UNCERTAINTY, AND UNFAMILIARITY LEAD TO GROWTH, CHANGE, AND RENEWAL

When a person is taken away from their daily routine and put into a challenging situation we often see an abundance of growth. Kids taken from their monotonous school routines often find relief and opportunities to grow when exposed to the great outdoors. When people are exposed to beauty of God’s creation for the first time (seeing it with their own eyes, not through a computer screen or on TV) they are filled with a new sense of accomplishment and purpose. We are able to see beyond our own troubles and insecurities when we stop to watch a sunrise on the mountains with the beautiful alpine glow for those few short minutes.

Westley’s story

Several years ago, I helped take a group of eight teenagers on a five day backpacking trip into the Sierra Nevada Mountains. On the third night, we moved each participant at least 100 yards away from the main camp and gave everyone a good 15  hours to just be alone. Right before they went to sleep, we went down to check in on everyone. Westley was laying on a nice flat rock just staring into the huge emptiness of space that filled the sky. We were up at an elevation of about 8,000 feet and the sky was crystal clear. As I sat down next to him, he continued staring up at the star-filled sky and he asked me “Is there really a God out there that loves us?” I smiled and took a breath. The Holy Spirit had just tossed up a beach ball for me, and gave me a chance to hit it out of the park. So I swung and shared the Gospel with him. That night was a eye-opening moment for Westley. The beauty of God’s creation had opened a door in his heart.

Outdoor Ministry

Those are the moments that we strive for. Opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives and hearts of others. Sometimes in these moments something clicks in a person’s heart and they accept Jesus for the first time, they have a revelation how much God truly loves them. Or maybe in that moment of quietness they truly understand that they can overcome their addictions to drugs, cutting, pornography, anger, insecurity… Oftentimes risk, uncertainty, and unfamiliarity lead to growth, change, and renewal. For many people the outdoors are a risky, uncertain, and unfamiliar place. That is why we take people into God’s creation. That is why we keep doing what we do.

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I Love Making Announcements https://ywammontana.org/i-love-making-announcements/ https://ywammontana.org/i-love-making-announcements/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 19:23:06 +0000 https://ywammontana.org/?p=4705 One of my favorite parts about being a Session Leader in the School of Biblical Studies is making announcements during the first first five minutes of each class… and if I’m being honest the announcements usually take me closer to 10 minutes because I’m having fun, probably more fun than a person should have while making announcements.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all the other aspects of staffing an SBS – teaching, studying the bible, and getting to know my students and staff  – but man, do I love giving those announcements! I think it’s because we always end up laughing for one reason or another. Usually it’s because I’ve said something dumb, or didn’t pronounce something correctly, or one of my students was snarky and I snarked back. It always ends with us all laughing though. I don’t know what comes over me. There’s just these moments during announcement time where I’ll end up dancing, fake crying, stumbling over a “big word” like “Thursday”, or being sassy with one of my more sarcastic students.

My students learn quickly that I really like to laugh, and have fun, and just be a total goofball. Life is too short to be serious all the time. God has blessed us too much for us to not laugh at the silly things in life. I give a lot of credit to this group of students. They are all really great. They’re totally chill, they make any environment super comfortable to be in, and they value laughter.

This group of students really exemplifies the personality of “Rocket Raccoon” from Guardians of the Galaxy. If you haven’t seen it, thats a bummer, because it’s a really great flick. We discovered this comparison when I had the students over to watch the movie, and the more Rocket did his thing in the movie, the more we realized that my fun loving, snarky group of students was embodied in that crazy, spit fire of a raccoon. The students have fully embraced this comparison, and they are very proud of it. Not all of them are that way, some are quiet but even the quiet ones laugh at the sarcasm and join in from time to time. I love my students. They are my snarky raccoons, every single one of them. They are going to do amazing things because they really love Jesus, the Bible and other people.

This is why I love what I do, we get to learn a lot about Jesus, the Bible, and people. We get to live life together – laughing at the goofy things, crying in the hard times, and loving each other in this shared nine months of SBS. For me giving announcements is so much more than a bland chunk of information at the beginning of class. It’s a time where I get to laugh and connect with this awesome group of students.

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Catalysts of Change https://ywammontana.org/catalysts-of-change/ https://ywammontana.org/catalysts-of-change/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 16:43:41 +0000 https://ywammontana.org/?p=4687 There came a point in my life when I began to wonder what life as a Christian really meant. I was questioning why there were still so many desperately poor people, injustice, war-torn communities, preventable disease, widows, and orphans, many of whom live in countries that claim to be primarily Christian. If there are so many Christians in this world, why wasn’t there more of a difference? And yet, the even bigger question I had was what could I do, as a Christian, to influence the world around me? Everyone lives in some sort of community, and regardless of whether you are rich or poor, God wants everyone to have life abundantly. That is the reason why I took the Community Development School. Community development focuses on transforming communities that are stuck in life-destroying cycles to communities that are living in abundant life.

During my time in Zimbabwe for the Community Development practicum, a woman I will call Anne told me her story. When Anne was a teenager, her father passed away. Times were already hard for their family, but once her father died, the family became destitute. In order to help support her family, Anne dropped out of school and became a seller of snacks for buses that would stop along the main road. The first day of work, she did not sell a single snack because she lacked the courage to go up to the bus windows to show her goods. She went home defeated. However, the second day, was different. She claimed confidence in Christ and sold so many snack that her mother scolded her when she returned because she thought Anne must have been stealing! Anne continued to help support her family in the family farm, and through these means, her family was able to pull themselves out of poverty. Anne eventually married and had a daughter of her own. When her own husband passed away, Anne was able to continue providing for her family since she knew that God would not abandon her and her daughter. Today she is sending her daughter to university (rare for the village they’re from) and is encouraging and helping the community to seek abundant life that can come through Christ.

Community development is the call of each individual Christian as well as the whole body of Christ to be the catalysts of change in communities. Community development is a call to action and and a challenge to live intentionally for Christ.


Are you interested in learning more about how you can be a catalyst of change through community development? We offer a 3 Month Community Development School here in Montana followed by an optional 3 month outreach. Learn more about our Community Development School by clicking the image below.

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We also offer a shorter, 4 Week, Community Development Seminar. Learn more about the Community Development Seminar by clicking the image below.

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7 Resources for Teaching English Overseas https://ywammontana.org/resources-for-teaching-english-overseas/ https://ywammontana.org/resources-for-teaching-english-overseas/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 17:05:29 +0000 https://ywammontana.org/?p=4642 Believe it or not, there are two billion people around the world right now learning the English language. With so many people seeking someone to teach them English, there are a lot of opportunities these days to become a “teacher.” For some, being a teacher means having a group of students sitting in a classroom with desks and a board to write on. For many, however, the opportunity to be someone’s teacher is less obvious. You will find that doing simple things like sitting around tables in coffee shops with university students, or cooking a meal together with adults, or making crafts and kicking soccer balls with children…provide real experiences for those real “students” to practice their English with you. And every potential student you bump into is another life you can positively impact in a way that goes far beyond the reaches of language. Many lives have been transformed forever—both inside and outside of the classroom—because of a relationship that started with a simple English lesson.

My husband and I have had the great privilege of equipping DTS teams for English teaching opportunities during their outreaches, in addition to leading TESOL courses for professional English teachers. Below are a few of the best and most frequently used resources we’ve trusted over the last ten years of teaching English to students of all ages in the U.S. and Asia.

These resources are geared for the outreach team preparing an English Camp, or the solitary missionary who finds him or herself in an English classroom with little or no training, zero time for preparation, and fresh faces looking on in anticipation. Many have found themselves in your shoes at one time or another. Fear not—you can do this! Especially with endless help and strength from our wonderful Lord. “Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” (Joshua 1:9, MSG) Remember, as you enter wild foreign lands, He is with you.

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1. Fun Activities for Teaching English

It doesn’t have to be an English class. You can use these activities in youth gatherings, business meetings, bible studies, and cultural exchange camps. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: “It doesn’t always have to be about English.” And secondly, almost everyone likes to have some fun now and then. This resource consists of more than 60 proven activities that offer folks a chance to practice their English with you, while having fun at the same time. And having fun together is really the best starting point for making relationships. In the words of Plato, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

We like to photocopy this into little half-paged booklets that all of our DTS students can keep on them during outreach. They’re just the right size to fit in your back pocket, or your daypack. The activities inside can be added to existing English lessons to make your curriculum come alive. They can also stand alone when you’re in a pinch for time (see the section titled “How to prepare a lesson, FAST!” for ideas on how to survive that awkward moment when someone asks you to teach an impromptu English class with little time and preparation). These will also help you as you look for ways to make your lessons more active and engaging for everyone in the group. Also included is a guide for understanding your student’s level, useful website links, lesson plan templates, and some non-English activities when all you want to do is “get this party started.” Download this resource to your iPad or smartphone, and it will always be with you. I keep a copy of mine in the iBooks library on my phone, just in case.

Download: “Fun Activities for Teaching English”

Download all of the Resources as a bundle: “TESOL Resources Bundle”

PROS | builds relationships, minimal materials required, transferable to different levels and settings, fun for all ages, perfect size for outreach, free downloadable content

CONS | no pre-made lesson plans provided (do-it-yourself), doesn’t include reading and writing activities

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2. Magazines, Newspapers, and Travel Books

So you’re headed onto that plane. As you hand the stewardess your boarding pass and walk through the doors of the airport gate you walk past a tall metal stand that has a few shelves filled with complimentary newspapers. You spot one from the foreign country to which you’re traveling. Grab one. As you find your seat on the plane you take a quick look at the headline. You can read today’s headline because it’s written in English. In fact, the whole newspaper—even though it’s from your foreign destination—is written in English. You just found the textbook for your first English lesson. It was free. And it’s filled with brightly colored photographs, advertisements showcasing the latest trends, and or course, the news—current events that matter to the world, that should matter to the lives of your students, and that are happening just beneath you as you fly over your destination.

Most classrooms have textbooks and other materials that are several years old. Therefore, a big problem with using traditional textbooks is that they never provide students with real-life content, as it’s actually happening. In addition to this, not every school has the ability to buy beautiful, expensive textbooks for their students. However, there are often wonderful resources located all around us—you only need to look around. Neither is this something to be ashamed of, in fact, there are enormous benefits to using “genuine content,” as we call it. Typically, students will be more engaged with a well-made lesson that uses content from their favorite magazine, than a lesson from the fanciest of textbooks. That’s because all of the things that your students find most interesting right now—the latest trends, the hottest topics, the most popular music and movies, the scariest news stories from around the world—all of these things can be found in one place: the newspaper and magazine stand at your local convenience store.

So, how do you add this content to your lesson? For a simple reading activity, choose an article and have students look at any pictures, titles, or captions in the article. Ask them to make predictions, such as “What is happening is this picture,” or “What is the woman saying to the man?” After reading the article, ask your students questions about what they read to check their comprehension. And then do a fun role play based on the people and events from the article. Find activities A3 and A4 in our Fun Activities for Teaching English booklet (see above) for instructions on doing role plays. For other activities you can do with newspapers and magazines, see B10, B11, B19, C8, C9, F1, F2, F3, G1, G2, G3, H1. You can also do a modified “scavenger hunt,” where students are asked to find certain things related to your lesson. Or choose an interesting photo and have students write a short paragraph or dialogue based on what they see, then have them read the actual story. When tutoring students one-on-one, or doing conversational English lessons in a coffee shop, you can do many of these same activities with the travel and photography books that you almost always find in cafes and other hangout spots.

PROS | inexpensive, easy-to-find materials, genuine and meaningful content, nice photos, interesting for youth and adult learners, transferable to different levels and settings

CONS | no pre-made lesson plans provided (do-it-yourself)

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3. Conversational English Lessons

One of the most popular places English learners go to practice their language skills are cafes. A great example of this is The Rock Coffee Bar in Danshui, Taiwan. University students and businessmen from all over Taipei City area have been known to travel an hour or more to visit this little cafe, because they know it’s a great place to have a conversation in English (or another foreign language) over a nice cup of coffee. And they may make the journey several times in one week. Most of the time, people will begin coming to The Rock because of the opportunity for language practice, but they continue to come—night after night—because of something more. Some people continue to come purely because of the relationships they have made there, and some come in search of spiritual truth. And there are a lot of cafes like this one that are currently being operated by missionaries all around the world, because they are such good environments for making friendships and sharing biblical truths—night after night.

Although many “Conversational English” or “English Corner” sessions are completely informal and simply consist of a few random people sitting and talking at tables, there are a few curricula that can be used for more intentional settings. Two of our favorites are called International Discovery and God Loves The Outcast, both of which have been created by—and for—missionaries and church planters in Asia. Either of these could be done in a number of different settings: from living rooms, to classrooms, to coffee shops. And they are wonderful if you want to add an element of evangelism or real discipleship to your English classes.

International Discovery is a set of 120 Conversational English worksheets that you can print, two per page, and hand out to the students at your table. Each lesson begins by practicing language that students need for communicating in everyday situations. The lessons are also centered around a cultural story that discusses culture in Asia. And every lesson is designed to lead into an encouraging story from the Bible. The transition is typically subtle, so teachers can decide whether or not to incorporate biblical truths into their lesson, and how much. Most lessons provide wonderful opportunities for sharing personal testimonies and stories from the Bible.

God Loves The Outcast is a set of 40 lesson plans complete with flashcards and materials, and each lesson teaches English through telling Bible stories. The curriculum is designed to be spread out over 14 weeks with three lessons per week, however the schedule could easily be modified as a yearlong course with one lesson per week. Each lesson focuses on some form of language practice, including new vocabulary, pronunciation, and simple grammar points. Then the lessons include listening, reading, and speaking practice that centers on a story from the bible. The curriculum moves chronologically through the Bible with a new story introduced every week, which makes this a great resource for teaching basic Bible Overview to receptive English students. That is what makes this resource so wonderful for church planters looking for a more intentional way to bring the Bible into their lessons and make real disciples along the way. This curriculum is designed for adults from a high beginner to low intermediate level, and includes a lot of reading, but you can make it suitable for lower levels by simplifying the Bible passages and replacing some of the reading requirements with listening activities. By doing this, it also makes a decent English-through-the-Bible curriculum for children, and the lesson plans have been written in a simple format that makes it easy for anyone to pick up a lesson and teach.

Download: “International Discovery”

Download: “God Loves The Outcast”

Download all of the Resources as a bundle: “TESOL Resources Bundle”

PROS | complete lesson plans provided, teaches the Bible at the same time, great for discipling and church planting, no other materials needed, free downloadable content

CONS | single level (fit for high beginner-intermediate)

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4. Multi-Level Curriculum

Sometimes, nothing beats a good textbook. When it comes to establishing professional English classes at your school, cafe, or other ministry location, nice-looking textbooks will add some sizeable style points to your program. But one of the biggest benefits to using textbooks in all of your classes is the progression students experience when moving from one level to the next. When students complete one book they are ready to move onto the next, and with each new level they receive a feeling of accomplishment while maintaining the familiarity of a common curriculum across all levels. If students know what to expect when they come to class, their learning actually improves, and the repetitive rhythms of textbooks makes this easy.

One of the common downfalls to using textbooks is that they lack a little “spark” if you’re not creative with them. So we try to make our lessons come alive by adding a few fun activities to keep the students active and interested in the material, and we tend to build a lesson centered around content from the textbook, as well as an occasional newspaper or magazine article to keep your lesson up-to-date and meaningful to your students. The best and simplest way to organize all these different pieces is making your own “PPP” lesson plans, and saving your lesson plans and materials in folders will make it easier to reproduce the same great lessons next time.

Although it’s ideal to have a textbook for every student in every class, this is often impossible for some schools and ministry locations. If that’s the case, we have a simple solution that maintains a lot of the benefits mentioned above while holding back a huge chunk of the cost. Copyright laws will generally keep you from photocopying pages out of your textbooks, however, as long as you have a single copy of each book in a set of curriculum, you can gain a lot of great ideas from those textbooks regarding which topics to focus on, which vocabulary and grammar to practice with your students, and what that all might look like. Then you can fairly easily take that inspiration and craft your own lessons that follow a very intelligent path through all of the different levels, with plenty of room and freedom to make your lessons fit your own context and worldview. If you’re unable to print out your new materials, simply write your exercises on the board (or find creative ways to get your students to write them on the board), and hand out lined paper to your students for note-taking. For the cost of a few textbooks and a stack of blank lesson plan templates you can easily and cheaply design your own curriculum. Just be careful to respect your textbook’s copyrighted content as you do this.

One set of textbooks we highly recommend for teaching high school and university-level students is the Smart Choice curriculum designed by Oxford University Press. Each level of books is split up into similar looking units; each page of the unit focuses on a different language skill, such as learning new vocabulary or practicing speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The back of the book has scripts that can be read aloud or turned into role plays if your classroom doesn’t have the CD player necessary for each listening section. And teachers and students are able to logon to the Oxford University Press website and practice grammar and vocabulary through fun online games—great for assigning homework to a tutored student, or setting up a computer lab station in your classroom. In addition to Smart Choice, there are a number of other great curricula that have been designed in recent years by Oxford and Cambridge Universities, all of which we’d recommend. You’re looking for something that you can afford, that looks professional, has nice photos and other visuals, and makes practicing the different language skills (speaking, listening, reading, writing, pronunciation, grammar, etc) easy to follow for both the teacher and the students.

Download: “PPP” Lesson Plan Template

Download all of the Resources as a bundle: “TESOL Resources Bundle”

PROS | complete lessons provided (however, doesn’t include lesson “plans”), multi-level (beginner-advanced), great for language skills practice, best choice for paid language courses, most professional, online practice included

CONS | expensive, some lesson plan preparation still required (to make it “come alive”)

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5. Bible Coloring Pages

One of our favorite things to do is teaching English and Bible Stories to children. Kids love learning in hands-on interactive ways, they have bright imaginations, and they are always open to hearing the Good News about Jesus. Kids also love to have fun, and when you make the gospel message fun and exciting for them, they will tell their families and the whole world what they have learned. When designing a typical lesson for children, we will follow a “PPP”-style lesson plan format, but this time allowing extra time for fun activities that get the little ones moving around and basically shedding lots of energy. See our Fun Activities for Teaching English for a list of great activities for children.

But kids also love making stuff. And anything you can offer to children that will let them be creative and make something artistic (or edible) will be a good idea to include in your lesson. That is where coloring pages come in. This is one of the simplest things to prepare, they’re easy to find, and kids absolutely love them. There are many professionally-made books out there, on many different topics, and each one is filled with tens or hundreds of different coloring pages. Bible Story Coloring Pages by Gospel Light is a great choice. You can also simply search the internet for any topic and include the words “coloring pages” in your search and you will not be let down. If you are heading on an outreach trip and you’ll be out of country during, or near, a popular holiday, then be sure to bring a few coloring pages based on that holiday. I’m sure you will have a chance to bless some kids with them.

On a teaching trip in Thailand, while volunteering at a children’s home, I once had a classroom full of girls ages 4 – 14. It shouldn’t be surprising, but it wasn’t easy to make a lesson that gave the 4-year-old something simple to do while also keeping the 14-year-old interested in the exact same lesson as everyone else. But in classes with mixed ages, sometimes all you need is a few coloring pages and some stickers to keep the lower half of the class busy while you pay attention to the needs of the upper half. Don’t forget your crayons or markers.

PROS | perfect for teaching children, reinforces Bible stories, great for holidays, reproducible content

CONS | requires having to photocopy materials (print before you leave on outreach if it’s easier)

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6. Mobile Apps for English Teachers

At last count, nearly 2 billion people worldwide use smartphones, and millions more have tablets and other devices that can access the internet at anyplace and anytime. With all of that expansion in the mobile sector, it only makes sense that technology will soon have a bigger and bigger place in tomorrow’s education. And with leaders like Sal Khan, whose website (and mobile app) has a mission to offer a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere, it’s becoming possible to harness technology in a way that can bring a great education to many who never had access. For these reasons alone, we think it’s a good idea to explore using this new technology in the classroom, so long as its presence doesn’t take away from your ability to relate well with your students. Done in the right way, we think it’s possible to be a better teacher by using mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads, and there are a lot of fun activities that you can do in your lessons with these devices.

One of our favorite activities for older students, both in the U.S. and Asia, has been the “Digital Scavenger Hunt.” (See A2 in the Fun Activities for Teaching English booklet.) In this fun activity, groups of students work together to find items and complete tasks on a scavenger hunt list, and they take photos of whatever they find as proof that they completed that task. These photos can later be used in the class just as you might use flashcards and other pictures, including “Describe Your Picture” (B11), or a modified game of “Pictionary” (B3) or “Charades” (A5) where students try to reproduce their photos without speaking, while others guess which photo it might be. There are a lot of fun and interesting ways you can incorporate technology into your lesson, this is really just the beginning.

Download our Mobile Apps for English Teachers for a list of over 50 useful apps that we’ve found so far. And let us know what apps you’re using in your classes (you can email us your great ideas at tesol@ywammontana.org).

Download: “Mobile Apps for English Teachers”

Download all of the Resources as a bundle: “TESOL Resources Bundle”

PROS | great tools for activities and staying organized, downloadable content (get apps before you leave on outreach)

CONS | can make lessons “tech-heavy” and less relational, requires internet and power source

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7. Three Things You Already Have

With all the anxiousness people experience prior to teaching English on outreach, here is a short word of encouragement. Your greatest resource might be you. Yourself. The things you already possess and carry with you wherever you go. When you step off that plane and you’re surrounded by opportunities to teach your language, you really don’t need any of the resources I’ve mentioned above. All you need are three simple talents: to talk to people, to make friends, and to pray.

MAKE FRIENDS. BE A BLESSING TO PEOPLE. BUILD GENUINE RELATIONSHIPS FOUNDED IN TRUST AND HUMILITY.

That’s because what students usually want more than anything else—and truly what they need as language learners—is someone to talk to. They just want someone they can practice their English with, and someone who will simply be their friend. So just get out there and talk to people. Take advantage of the opportunities in front of you. Make friends. Be a blessing to people. Build genuine relationships founded in trust and humility. And shower all of these things with prayer. Share your story with your friends: what Jesus has done for you, and what he can do for them. Do all these things, and you will be far more than an English teacher. You will be a missionary

Any excellence we strive for in our English teaching, any preparedness we attempt to have as we gather these resources, should not be done solely for the sake of becoming excellent English teachers, but because we have an amazing opportunity to be messengers of the Gospel. We are not just here to display new ways of speaking, but when we live as ambassadors for Christ every part of our lives are on display.

I believe we should stop running away from opportunities to teach English. Instead, we should be running toward them. Someone once said, “Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.” This philosopher, however, believed that mankind could make these great opportunities exist through the power of his own strength and merit. I think the better tactic here…is to pray. Pray that our Heavenly Father will lead you to the right students, at the right times, and provide you with the opportunity to share your stories and speak truth into their lives. And then, taking advantage of every moment he leads you to, make those occasions great.

Teaching English is an exchange. Both parties give a little, both parties receive a little. It is not just an exchange of language, but it is an exchange of feelings, ideas, and deep-rooted cultures. Like waiting for any fruit to grow, it takes time and we should go expecting to be learners as well as teachers. Friendship, C. S. Lewis wrote, is born in that moment when two people learn they have more in common than they first thought. I hope that is what teaching English will bring to you. Occasions for learning from one another, for establishing common ground, and for birthing those transforming relationships that form in those moments when you realize, although language separates you from others, it is also what draws you together and you have something now that you didn’t have at the start. You are friends. And anything is possible through a little friendship mixed with prayer.


CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR TESOL TRAINING COURSE

2,000,000,000 – There are two billion people in the world right now learning the English language. It’s the most widely learned and sought after language in the world. Because so many people want to learn English, most missionaries from North America find themselves teaching in classrooms at some point in their overseas ministry. A large number of ministries around the world use English classes as a tool for evangelism, building relationships in their communities, and as a way to open doors of ministry in restricted access nations. Yet, many of today’s missionaries have never had any formal training as language teachers.

TESOL is a uniquely strategic seminar designed to quickly and effectively train any English speaker as a fully certified English teacher and to release them into ministry. This course emphasizes an interactive classroom using Language for LIFE.

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7 Backcountry Skills I Take With Me On Outreach https://ywammontana.org/edts-backcountry-skills/ https://ywammontana.org/edts-backcountry-skills/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:24:57 +0000 https://ywammontana.org/?p=4582 What follows is the second installment in a two-part series on things that translate from backcountry use and practice onto the mission field. The first piece I wrote detailed my top 10 pieces of gear that translate from a backcountry kit to the mission field.

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In this second part, I want to focus on skills, activities, practices and approaches that contribute to both a successful backcountry trip and a fruitful outreach. In EDTS, we call these collective skills, activities, practices and approaches our “bag of tricks”. We equip students with a comprehensive quiver of practical tools and resources for the outdoors and mission field that they can pull out of their bag as needed.

What follows are a handful of tried and tested things from my EDTS bag of tricks. And, as always, I’m excited to talk about some gear that will help you best utilize each trick!

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#01 – Storytelling

This might not be one of the first things you think of when you think about a backcountry skill. But think about time spent at your campsite, base camp, host-home or around a campfire. It is a place of rest, relaxation, being yourself, sharing good food, practicing hospitality and fellowship, and usually engaging with people. Good story telling (and good listening) is a skill to be learned, honed and practiced. I like to have a few stories in a few different categories in my bag of tricks… Stories of my adventures and travels, stories from the mission field, and my personal testimony. Supreme to all of those, however, is the story of God and the good news of Jesus – that’s the one I want to be able to articulate the most if the opportunity presents itself both in camp and on outreach.

Recommended Gear Pairing:
Have a good book or magazine in your pack that other backpackers and travelers might also be reading. It’s a great conversation starter


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 #02 – Wilderness First Aid Training

I can’t say enough about this. All of our students go through a 4-day Wilderness Advanced First Aid through an internationally recognized wilderness medicine agency and walk away from EDTS with a 2-year certification. Members of our staff team hold Wilderness First Responder and EMT certifications as well. Ask anyone on our team and they’ll tell you that wilderness/backcountry medicine scenarios mirror what we find on the front lines of the mission field in villages and cities alike. Most importantly, this skill is an avenue for loving and serving people. Wound management, in particular, is a tangible way to show the love and compassion of Christ to others.

Recommended Gear Pairing:
A well-stocked group/expedition first aid kit with smaller, supplemental kits for day hikes or short trips. Encourage everyone in your group to have a small stash of band-aids and hand sanitizer that they carry themselves. The $.99 cent first aid kits found in the travel section at a store are great. The container is small but still large enough that you can add a few other things like a small lighter, clothes pin and antibiotic ointment to beef it up.


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#03 – Living out of a Backpack

It is a practice in simplicity for some, a game for others (think ultra lightweight hiking) and a challenge for the rest of us. Having everything you need for life, adventure, travel and ministry all in 85 liters or less is an impressive trick.

Recommended Gear Pairing:
A well-fitted backpack with appropriate volume and capacity for the activity.


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#04 – Group Games and Team Building Exercises

Build unity, community, trust, communication and teamwork with your backpacking group and have some fun while you’re at it! Debrief each activity and stash into your bag of tricks. Pull these out and adapt for children’s ministry, drawing a crowd, icebreakers, running mini camps and equipping aspiring outdoor educators.

Recommended Gear Pairing:
An 8’ x 8’ tarp, slackline, tennis balls, hacky sack, Frisbee, retired climbing rope. Learn some foundational experiential education and facilitation approaches like challenge by choice, the comfort, growth and danger zones, and how to brief/debrief activities.


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#05 – Backcountry Cooking

Let’s just say that we’re glad that we had a student back in 2012 who was comfortable butchering chickens. On outreach in Cambodia that year, that trick came in handy! Meal/menu planning, shopping, dehydrating, packing, storing, transporting, serving, consuming, clean-up all translate.

Recommended Gear Pairing:
Here are 5 personal recommendations that we pass along to our EDTS students each year and that we stick to both in the backcountry and on the field.

  1. Always carry a well-stocked spice kit!
  2. Carry instant coffee. Folgers Singles, Starbucks Via, Nestle “Turbo” are among our favorites.
  3. Know your units (English/metric conversions for measurement, altitude, distance, volume, weight, etc) – use precision and accuracy when preparing meals and planning trips.
  4. Ask these questions before each trip… What am I cooking? What am I cooking it in and what am I using to actually cook it (i.e. Spatula, spoon, tongs, pocketknife)? What am I using to eat it?
  5. Always have one good cooking knife with you (separate from your pocketknife if possible)

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#06 – Water Sanitation & Personal Hygiene

Nothing puts a damper on a camping trip or outreach like communicable diseases spreading through your group like wildfire. The trick to this trick is getting your team to maintain both individual and group accountability to sanitation practices. The best way we’ve figured out how to approach that accountability is by seeing our bodies/mind/soul, healthy living and healthy community through a correct Biblical worldview – which is also something that your team can teach about on outreach.

Recommended Gear Pairing:

  • Appropriate water treatment devices and methods.
  • Tools, equipment and know-how on creating hand-washing stations.
  • Tools to implement and practice Leave No Trace principle #1 – Plan Ahead and Prepare as well as principle #3 – Dispose of Waste Properly.

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#7 – A Tech-Savvy-Social-Media-Artistically-Gifted Student/Staffer Equipped with a DSLR Who is Also Mechanically Inclined

You might not find all of this in just one person, but you get the point. Capturing the story of your trek, adventure, expedition or outreach, and effectively communicating it through relevant media streams is something that, if done well, will serve your program, goals, and further the kingdom. These are the means by which we partner with others in ministry, keep them updated, market and recruit for schools/programs, but most importantly they’re one of the ways in which we testify to God’s faithfulness and to how the gospel and truth of Jesus Christ are changing people, communities and nations.

Recommended Gear Pairing:
An iPhone 4s or newer. There are two big reasons that I recommend these, or similar, smartphones. First, we pair an iPhone with the DeLorme inReach satellite communicator to create a fully functioning GPS/emergency communication device on our backcountry trips. Second, I can pop a SIM card in my phone pretty much anywhere in the world and have everything I need to coordinate ministry. I’ve gotten better 3G coverage in the corners of Nepal’s Himalaya’s and remote parts of Cambodia than some parts of where I live in Montana!


The vision for the Endurance DTS outdoor ministry is to take students deeper into their own discipleship journey with Christ, and then give them the tools to reach out to others, particularly within the outdoor industry. We know that people on a trip, trek or great adventure are often seeking deeper spiritual revelation as they journey, and God has given us a desire to reach out and meet these individuals along the way. Endurance DTS aims to equip our students to engage with both the lost and trekker/adventurers, and to testify to Christ’s saving grace and faithfulness with credibility and confidence. The focus of our outdoor curriculum is two-fold… Build “translatable” backcountry skills that are applicable to the mission field, and build credible, industry-standard outdoor/backcountry skills that can lead to both outreach and future vocational opportunities post-EDTS.

For more information on EDTS and to read more about the foundations of EDTS and our specific goals, please visit the “Resource Materials” drop-down menu on the EDTS page below.

Click the image below to learn more about EDTS!

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5 Reasons Why You Should Do a DTS https://ywammontana.org/5-reasons-why-you-should-do-a-dts/ https://ywammontana.org/5-reasons-why-you-should-do-a-dts/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 16:19:33 +0000 https://ywammontana.org/?p=4493 “So why did you do a Discipleship Training School?”

Having done my Discipleship Training School about four years ago and now being on DTS Staff, this is one of the most frequent questions I get asked. You could ask ten people this same question and you would probably end up getting ten different answers. Some people have grown up wanting to be missionaries, some came because their parents encouraged them to, and some because they didn’t know what else to do. For me, it was simple…

I was lost in my faith. I knew there was more and I wanted it. I needed it.

I grew up in a loving Christian home where my family had always been involved with church in some way or another. My oldest sister had done a DTS after she graduated high school and then joined staff; so I was pretty familiar with the concept of DTS. During my sophomore year of high school everyone was so concerned about their GPA and their extra curricular activities. They were doing everything right so that they would qualify for the right scholarships to get into the best colleges, while I was still thinking, “I have absolutely no clue what I should go to college for, so why would I go and waste my time on a degree I don’t even know if I can use, or that I even want?” I enjoyed school, I just wasn’t sure of the direction I wanted my life to take. Around that same time, the youth group at my church fell apart and the youth pastor ended up leaving. That was when I realized my faith was in serious trouble. I had allowed myself to be spoon fed without developing my own relationship with God. I knew He was there and that He loved me, but my faith wasn’t my own.

Missions had always been something that interested me and I wanted my own relationship with God. I knew DTS was a great program where I would be submerged in a community where we would all be going after God’s heart together, which was what I wanted.

I hope that through sharing some of my experiences I’ll be able to communicate a little bit of what I’ve learned during my time with DTS. Here are the five reasons why I think you should do a Discipleship Training School.

#1 To Know God

Wherever you are in your walk with God, whether you just submitted your life to him, or you have been following for a while. . . there is so much more to learn about God. He is just so vastly outside of our comprehensible limits. However, He has made Himself available to us. He wants to be known. He wants to be known by you. In DTS, we learn about topics like The Father Heart of God and Hearing God’s Voice (and many more). By understanding more of His character and hearing Him speak to us, we can eliminate the lie that He is a distant and cold God. In reality, He is loving and inviting and is trying to communicate with you this very second. He desires relationship with you and is waiting for you to take a step closer.

THERE IS A GOD WHO LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN COMPREHEND

This might surprise you, but most students that come to DTS do not believe that God loves them. They know He does in their head (many of us are quite familiar with the Sunday School tune “Jesus Loves Me”), but they don’t believe it in their hearts. Honestly, who can blame them? It doesn’t make sense. I think to myself, “Why would the Creator of the universe love me? I am flawed, broken, and more sinful than I care to admit. What about me is worthy of being loved at all, especially by the King of all Kings?” I think the more we understand the gift that Jesus was, and the love that motivated that kind of sacrifice, the more we are changed. We are completely undone because that kind of love that is so undeserved, yet so freely given. If you have no idea what I am talking about, please, please come do a DTS. There is a God who loves you more than you can comprehend and He is just bursting with excitement to be able to shower that love upon you.

#2 To Know Yourself

It says in Genesis that we are made in the image of God (1:27). Therefore, by knowing more of who God is and how we bear His image we will ultimately learn more about ourselves. In my DTS, one of the biggest things God spoke over me was my identity. By looking into God’s Word, He revealed so much to me about who I am and who He created me to be. By learning to hear and recognize His voice, He taught me who I was as an individual and how He uniquely designed me. I found out who He said I am instead of what society and culture were trying to make me out to be. I am to be set apart, and so are you.

I love this verse as it is written in The Message.

1 Peter 2:9 (MSG) “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”

God has so much more in store for you and your life. Are you willing to give Him the chance to reveal that to you?

#3 To Make God Known

We are all called to make God known, wherever we are. In Matthew, the last words of Jesus before He ascends to heaven are:

“God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 MSG

This is the charge the Jesus leaves with his disciples. The word “disciple” translates to mean “a follower”. I believe if we consider ourselves followers of the Lord Jesus Christ then this verse applies to us. We are called to be disciples and we are called to disciple others.

These first three reasons to do a DTS are connected. How can we make Him known if we don’t even know Him? How can we understand ourselves and our purpose if we do not understand our Creator? We are called to know Him in such a way that the outpouring of our relationship with God spills out to every area of our lives, making it impossible to keep it to ourselves. That is how transforming the love of Christ is.

WHILE ON OUTREACH YOU’LL GET A GLIMPSE OF WHAT OVERSEAS MISSIONS LOOKS LIKE

During your Discipleship Training School you’ll be given the opportunity to Make God Known by visiting a foreign country and sharing His love with people who have maybe never even heard the name of Jesus. The Gospel is for everyone. What an amazing privilege – to be able to introduce Jesus to someone for the very first time. While on outreach you’ll get a glimpse of what overseas missions looks like, and you will have the opportunity to use your gifts and abilities for the Kingdom of Heaven.

#4 Because He is Worthy. He is the Redeemer.

I have this picture of what it will be like to stand before God on Judgement Day. I am standing there, knowing I deserve hell, having accepted my sin and my humanity, knowing that my best efforts just weren’t enough to deserve eternity…  and then Jesus walks in. He comes to stand right in front of me and shows the Father His hands where His scars remain. These scars that say I am clean, that my slate has been washed by the blood of Christ, that I bare my sin and shame no more. As Jesus stands in my place on that Day, I am ushered to the gates of Heaven where the most amazing Holy Spirit party is taking place because of the reality of what Jesus did for us the day He took up our cross.

DTS ISN’T THE CLIMAX OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD BUT RATHER THE BEGINNING OF A LIFE FULLY COMMITTED TO HIM

Because of this, He is worthy. He is worth taking five months to fully devote yourself to Him. We don’t want your DTS experience to be the climax of your relationship with God but rather the beginning of a life fully committed to Him. He is the Savior and He is the one who comes to redeem your story. No matter what kind of story you might have, no matter what you have done, you cannot out-sin His forgiveness. He is worthy, and redemption is yours for the taking.

#5 Why Not?

Take a minute to ask yourself “Why not do a DTS?” – I understand that we all have our own obligations, ambitions, hopes, and dreams to consider. I have been there, I know! Sometimes we need to give God the opportunity to be faithful in our lives. God is steadfastly faithful, but when we try to control everything, we don’t allow Him to reveal that part of Himself to us.

LOST IN MY IDENTITY, INSECURE AND HOPELESS, THE LOVE OF CHRIST CHANGED ME

Why not set aside five months of your life to chase after God with everything you have? Look back at where you were five months ago. How much is different? How much is the same? I can guarantee you that when you look back after your DTS you will see that a transformation has taken place. That is the power of giving everything over to God.

Lost in my identity, insecure and hopeless, the love of Christ changed me. Will you let Him change you?

Want to learn more about Discipleship Training School?

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Worship is Not Filler https://ywammontana.org/worship-not-filler/ https://ywammontana.org/worship-not-filler/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 22:01:16 +0000 https://ywammontana.org/?p=4278 I was recently leading worship at an event where the MC announced to the congregation, “Make sure you arrive on time to our next gathering!  We’ll be jumping right into the thick of things and we won’t have any ‘worship filler.’” Besides struggling with my personal feelings of being devalued, I had to contend with my own willingness to get offended by such a blatant disregard for what should be prioritized rather than marginalized.

In our western culture, we often believe that the most obvious and impactful methods for communicating truth is through teachings and lectures.  While I strongly value the need to exhort God’s people and accurately teach the Word of God, perhaps we might consider that time spent listening and responding to God Himself in worship times could have an even greater impact on the Community of Believers to understand how to apply and obey the truth of God’s Word.

In worship, we are called to look past our circumstances and understanding in order to proclaim that God is God and we are not

When we engage with the presence of God in worship, we position ourselves to better understand and commit to obedience. Worship itself is an act of obedience that defies our selfishness and egocentric tendencies.  In worship, we are called to look past our circumstances and understanding in order to proclaim that God is God and we are not. We position ourselves to hear that the God we adore indeed has intense affections for us, and the more we understand the fact that He loves us, the easier it is for us to obey what He is calling us to.

It seems we tend to rely on our sermons to call people to obedience because we don’t trust that God Himself can call people to advance His Kingdom according to His design. Perhaps we rely on our eloquent speeches because we are convinced that listening to God is too difficult for the average believer, so therefore it is up to us to call His people toward action.

While these teachings and exhortations can and should be powerful, we simply cannot allow them to dominate all of our gatherings at the cost of diminishing or devaluing time spent together in worshiping at the feet of the One who promises that His faithfulness can be trusted because He indeed loves.  When we finally come to a place of revelation, where God’s love is personally experienced,  we can  then in abandon and gladness follow wherever He leads.


Are you interested in exploring this topic further? Join Kristy and the rest of our Worship Arts Department this spring for The Well.

The Well is a hands-on training and practicum program for worship leaders and worship musicians. This program is designed to challenge worship musicians by moving beyond simple worship sets towards a more integrated worship model that places a high emphasis on response to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Click the image below for more info and consider joining us this spring for The Well!

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10 Lessons I Have Learned From a Decade of Web Development https://ywammontana.org/a-decade-of-web-development/ https://ywammontana.org/a-decade-of-web-development/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 16:36:15 +0000 https://ywammontana.org/?p=4228 It’s hard to believe that I have been developing web sites for about a decade now. I still remember my introduction to the web back in high school when the model was “the more the better”, and “if it flashes or moves, it’s cool.”  Back then, hover effects were a pro-grade effect, tables were still the best way to lay out a site, and viewing a website on a phone was something that would have quickly been labeled as absurd.

I hope this article can be a help for any web developer out there but particularly those with a kingdom advancing mentality. For the most part, I have been developing sites for Christian missions organizations and churches. That being said, most of the tips are more practical, however some have a little bit more of a spiritual development aspect. Since starting I haven’t been able to get enough of it, and love creating alongside the Creator. Contrary to popular belief, God is actually a pretty incredible programmer, and has spoon fed me a few ingenious solutions to decent sized problems over the past few years. I owe Him everything. So, without further adieu here are “10 Lessons I Have Learned From a Decade of Web Development”.

1. Learn, and continue to learn, all the time

This one is near and dear to my heart, and there’s a reason it’s at the top of the list. As a young student at Purdue University I really didn’t have a grasp on exactly why many of the classes were structured the way they were. As I look back now, I realize exactly why we were given labs without much explanation, problems without foreseeable solutions, and were for the most part expected to teach ourselves the material.

My favorite example of this phenomenon was in a Computer Science “weed-out” class. On the first day of class we were placed at a computer with a black screen and a blinking green cursor. There was an explicit set of to-dos but we weren’t given any tips on how to accomplish the tasks. Nearly half the students didn’t show up for class the next day. It became painfully clear that our professors and teaching assistants were merely there as coaches, continually reminding us to “keep trying, until it works.”

Sitting where I am today, I am grateful for that rigorous, seemingly “life-draining” system that didn’t teach me how to do one or two specific things, and furthermore wasn’t there to feed me the answers. Rather, I was taught how to approach any problem with resolve, knowing that the solution is just a little research, a few late nights, and a couple innovations away.

2. Sharpen your ax, before you try to chop down the tree

“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend four hours sharpening my ax.” - Abraham Lincoln

each hour spent preparing is worth several hours of troubleshooting

Something that has definitely proven true is that each hour spent preparing is worth several hours of troubleshooting a system that wasn’t thought through very well. When building new systems, or altering existing ones the preparation time is critical, and should never be rushed. The conceptualization and planning for each project will look different depending on what the project is trying to accomplish. But typically, I try to think about as many problems, difficulties, and pieces of system functionality as I possibly can and work them out before I even type a single line of code.

3. Think Long Term

I have always despised working on projects where it is apparent that the last person did not have long term vision. If, while you are working on something, you have the thought, “This is going to be a nightmare for the next person,” stop what you are doing immediately and take on the nightmare yourself. Don’t be that person!

When it comes to websites, I have realized if you aim for major releases having 4-5 years of solid use, you’ll probably get 2-3 good years before you start to notice the functionality, graphics, and the utility of the site as they begin to break down and show their age. Being able to view sites on mobile devices has been, without doubt, the biggest wrench in any website’s longevity. The last site I made that wasn’t “mobile first” is now nearing 4 years of age.

When creating new systems, it’s always important to try to anticipate future needs and adaptations, and create an environment that allows those to happen organically and without too much disruption.

4. If you can renovate well, you’ll be able to build exceptionally

I once had a master carpenter tell me that if you can renovate something well, building anything from scratch will seem like a cake walk. That phrase has held true in a lot of other aspects of my life far past carpentry, and certainly web development.

What he meant was that often times the hardest task can be taking existing infrastructure and adapting it to fit the current day’s needs. History has shown that this, more often than not, is how the world works anyway. We live in a post-post modern world, where companies are often times built on the backs of other companies that have existing infrastructure. Rarely do web developers get requests for entirely “new” sites, but rather a third, fourth, or fifth generation face lift on an existing site using an existing database of information.

I have learned to take “renovation” jobs with a different type of attitude and grit, fully knowing that they require a far greater amount of expertise and creative innovation.

5. Don’t reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to

This is a big one. Every once in awhile I run into people who just love the idea of a completely custom system. Custom back-end, custom database structure, custom front-end, custom everything. No real good reason, they just like the idea of having a custom solution.

I haven’t ever gone as far as the above example, but I definitely feel like I have broken this rule enough to be an expert on it.  I am a compulsive “envelope pusher,” if there is such a term.  If it’s been done before, it’s not good enough. To say I have learned my lesson would be an understatement.

There are definitely times to be innovative to try and figure out new and (potentially) better ways to do things, but it almost always comes at a high price of time and complexity. There are a lot of tools already out there. Many of them have been sharpened over years and years of use and abuse, and to be frank, they are probably better than what you’ll come up in the handful of hours you have to dedicate to it. My advice is to make room for some of these tools in your bag of tricks, because they’ll help you do your job better, and give you more time to focus on your clients needs. I have found that fixing, or backtracking where I have pushed too far, was often costly and not very fun. So push wisely when you have to, and know when to utilize the resources that are already out there.

6. Functionality; because if it doesn’t have it, nothing else matters

This one is pretty obvious, but I have to include it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter how pretty it is.

7. When it comes to God, never settle for Good Enough

We, the church, have the anointing of the Creator; the One who invented creativity. We should be leading the world in creative efforts to make lasting change

Something I noticed growing up in the church was that when it comes to tech, web or anything of the sort, there seems to be a victim mentality. This mentality says that it should settle for “good enough” and the “best” is out of reach and a waste of time. This has never made sense to me. God has a passion for building His church, so why would He not equip us to be leaders in every industry.  I am not saying that He is going to bless us with riches to buy the most expensive equipment and the most ostentatious of buildings. But what I am saying is that we, the church, have the anointing of the Creator; the One who invented creativity. We should be leading the world in creative efforts to make lasting change.

So whatever it is you specialize in, especially for the sake of the Kingdom, be bold and know that you have been anointed by the Creator and inventor of everything; He has chosen you. Alongside Him, there is nothing that can’t be done. Keep pressing into your work, and keep asking God for more wisdom, knowledge, and creativity. He will give it to you, and one day you’ll look back and wonder how the rest of the world does anything without Him.

8. Learn to listen to God, and take action when you hear Him

It wasn’t until I was well outside of college that I realized the importance of inviting God the everyday matters of life. Contrary to popular belief, God loves to talk shop.

I have begun to rely on God as “Option A” when it comes to troubleshooting and creative thinking. The funny thing about hearing the voice of God, especially when it comes to things like web development, is that it is often a journey, not an experience. What I mean by that is that it takes time, energy, and a certain amount of focus; it doesn’t just happen… most of the time. In my experience, some of the most incredible solutions God has led me to have been fraught with multiple failed attempts before it. Sometimes God wants us to exhaust all of our options, before plopping the answer in our laps in such an unmistakable way that it’s impossible to deny Him the credit. Some of the most incredible innovations I have ever been a part of have followed this methodology to a tee. In other words, only after completely eliminating myself, my ideas, abilities, and pride from the equation has God presented His solution.

Why does God work this way? God wants us to be the best in our field. He wants us to go through the trials that continually shape and sharpen us into the industry leaders He knows we can be. He knows that the better at something you are, the louder your microphone gets into the people’s lives around you.

9. Live faithfully in the small challenges

I have often heard it said that God won’t trust you with the big stuff, until He knows you can be faithful in the little things. This is absolutely true in everything! As I look back, I can draw lines from one challenge to another and pinpoint some of the bigger obstacles in my life that those small challenges prepared me for.

Sometimes we get so focused on our idea of reaching the top that we forget about the many steps we will need to take just to reach base camp. Keeping your eyes on the summit will always inspire you, but the only thing that will get you there are slow, careful, and faithful steps towards the top.

What I have begun to realize is that God is always preparing me for something one step at a time, and measuring my preparedness by my willingness to accept the challenges He presents to me. The key is being faithful in each step, and trusting that God has a plan for what often doesn’t seem to make sense. It hasn’t always involved my profession, interests, or even my passions. In the past, it was simple things like showing up for class on time at 7:00 AM, not just walking past an overflowing garbage can without taking it out, and other times it was serving my housemates by doing their dishes for them when I knew they had a busy week. In web development, it can be things like taking time to comment your code, cleaning up sloppy code, following coding standards and not creating nightmares for other people.

So often we like to live in the “Big” picture: How many people will I bring to the Lord in my life? Can we really change an entire nation in one generation? What school will I go to? What company will I work for? What will my retirement will look like? Who will I marry? Will my children end up accepting Jesus? By no means are any of these things bad, but unless we are faithful in the small things, many of them may never come to pass. Walking with God is a lot like climbing a mountain. Sometimes we get so focused on our idea of reaching the top that we forget about the many steps we will need to take just to reach base camp. Keeping your eyes on the summit will always inspire you, but the only thing that will get you there are slow, careful, and faithful steps towards the top.

10. Know when to stop

It only seems fitting to shut this thing down with my last point; knowing when to stop. Fortunately and unfortunately, the world of web development changes with each day that goes by. New interface designs, better mobile frameworks, new plugins, slicker CMS functionality etc. The list will forever go on and on, and it will only change with more speed as more people become authors of the web.

It’s important to know when to wrap a project up. Of course there will always be minor adjustments and bug fixes along the way, but major changes and upgrades need to be strongly considered for future major releases.

What I began to realize when I first started web development was that the more I was able to let go of past projects, the more I was able to launch myself into current and future techniques and practices. Letting your projects be done, allows your future projects to thrive all the more.

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10 Things from My Backcountry Kit that Work Great on Outreach https://ywammontana.org/10-things-backcountry-kit/ https://ywammontana.org/10-things-backcountry-kit/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 18:36:23 +0000 https://ywammontana.org/?p=4157 This is the first installment in a two-part series on things that translate from backcountry use and practice onto the mission field. Being the gear junkie that I am, I’m kicking things off with my personal, and EDTS field-tested, top 10 pieces of gear that translate from a backcountry kit to the mission field. Be sure to check out Part Two as well.

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 #1 – The “Butt Pad”

It’s light, it’s compact and it comes in handy on those long road trips to a village in the back of a truck with 20 people in it. Make one yourself from a retired foam sleeping pad or check out the Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat Camp Chair.

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#2 – Water Purification Tablets

Remember, water filtration is not the same as water purification. Do your homework and understand where you’re going, what the water quality is like, and the tools that you’ll need in order to safely treat water for consumption. Even if I’m prepared with filters, purifiers and the like, I always carry emergency water treatment tablets.

#3 & #4 – P-Cord (AKA: Parachute cord, paracord or 550 cord) and at least one Locking Carabineer

I recommend at least 50’ per person and a few hundred feet if you’re the gear guy/gal in the group. Multiple uses included stringing up mosquito nets, keeping packs and other gear off the ground and drying your laundry!

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#5 – Multi-tool/Pocketknife

If you’ve ever used one of these you no doubt realized that it was useful for fixing something that you didn’t think could be fixed without the proper tool! (Remember, when in doubt, just bang harder!) A lot of people think that bigger is better, but my favorite, and most used, knife/tool is my Swiss Army SwissCard.

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#6 – Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

I carried a bottle of this stuff the entire 2,174 miles of the Appalachian Trail back in 2004. I have also taken a bottle of it on every outreach that I’ve been on. My favorite use is as shaving cream. It is especially invigorating when there’s no hot water! I recommend pairing it with a liberal application of Gold Bond Medicated Powder (#7 on my list) post bucket shower/sponge bath. *Warning! One time I had a leak in my bottle and it seeped into the foam of my backpack. For the better part of a day I thought I had a spinal cord injury due to the constant hot, tingling sensation in my back while I hiked. I always bag it in a Ziploc (#8 on my list) just in case!

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#9 – All Purpose Cloth (APC) also known as a bandana

So many uses! Just remember to let the sun’s UV rays do their thing from time to time to kill all the nastiness on it.

#10 – Electrolyte Tablets

After a long day on the trail when I feel flat out fatigued this is my go-to recovery aid of choice. Same thing applies to the field. On those long, hot days ministering in the city or a village, sweat loss, exertion and stress/strain are sure to add up and drain you. Keep hydrated and keep those electrolyte levels up. Coconut water and ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) are comparable alternatives. Coconut water can give you the runs so consume wisely. My favorite go-to tablets are the Hammer Endurolyte Fizz tabs.

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The vision for the Endurance DTS outdoor ministry is to take students deeper into their own discipleship journey with Christ, and then give them the tools to reach out to others, particularly within the outdoor industry. We know that people on a trip, trek or great adventure are often seeking deeper spiritual revelation as they journey, and God has given us a desire to reach out and meet these individuals along the way. Endurance DTS aims to equip our students to engage with both the lost and trekker/adventurers, and to testify to Christ’s saving grace and faithfulness with credibility and confidence.

Click the image below to learn more about EDTS!

edts
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Courage for the Battle https://ywammontana.org/courage-for-the-battle/ https://ywammontana.org/courage-for-the-battle/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:15:45 +0000 https://ywammontana.org/?p=4073 If someone advised you, “Take courage!” how would you respond? “Why?” might be my immediate response.

In Joshua 1:6-9, we see the Lord commanding Joshua to be “strong and courageous” three times. But if we take a closer look, we also see the Lord commanding Joshua to obey the Law three times as well. The Lord only exhorts for bravery on account of the battles he would fight once (verse 6).  The next two verses (7-8) speak entirely about Joshua being courageous regarding loving and keeping the Law.  Verse 9 provides a kind of final, hand-on-the-shoulder, “be strong and courageous”. Why would Joshua need such clear encouragement?

The battle for our hearts is perhaps the hardest battle for leaders and followers alike.

Deuteronomy 31-34 gives us the answer: once in the Promised Land, the people would all “turn to foreign gods…” (Dt. 31:16, 20). This is more than a military battle. Perhaps what we commonly interpret as an encouragement for bravery in battle, is actually an encouragement for Joshua to be brave in loving and obeying God. The battle for our hearts is perhaps the hardest battle for leaders and followers alike.

You Need More Than Courage

Tackling “giants” is nothing to God; overcoming the hearts of men, now that’s another issue all in itself. Joshua had seen giants and had hoped for the chance to overcome them 40 years earlier during the spies’ first foray into Canaan (Numbers 13). However, Joshua had also witnessed the effects of unbelief and rebellion. Joshua needed a love for God and His Law even more than strength, courage, and determination in battle. It would take all these things to complete the mission God had given him.

It takes courage to obey God, yet even more courage to lead unwilling people to do the same. Giants are one thing; tackling the hearts of rebellious (or doubting) people is another.

A Leader Must Seek God’s Approval

Joshua’s story also offers another valuable truth: we don’t get our [ultimate] validation from people. This is especially important for those in leadership. Affirmation is wonderful, but man’s approval (or lack thereof) does not determine one’s identity in Christ. I realize that affirmation is important and valid, but is it vitally important? …important enough to tempt us to rebel?

As you go out into the next chapter of your life, don’t forget the things God has told you, shown you, and promised you. The giants you may be facing are one thing, and God can take care of those.  Sickness, pride, divorce, poverty, child-trafficking… these are giants God wants to (and can) slay. It’s the giant of our heart—our devotion to Him—that God won’t force (cf Matt 15:8, 16:24, Rev. 3:20).

The validation that counts to those who follow the master comes from the master.

Give Him access to this “giant,” and there is nothing God can’t do through you.The point is this: don’t try to be a super leader. Instead, love God’s Word and remain faithful. In our world today, it takes more courage to be obedient and pursue holiness than it does to simply be “relevant”. Obedience in the life of a disciple is the natural overflow of a life impacted by the Gospel. The validation that counts to those who follow the master comes from the master. Joshua needed to understand this truth, and it’s this truth that would ultimately make him a better servant and leader for the people.

Open the door to Him daily.  Be faithful with His Word—spoken and written. Be strong and courageous! Have courage for the battle!

Consider These Questions Today:

  1. Are you “in the Word”? Is the Bible a primary part of your life? Do you “love the Law and God’s commandments” as Joshua was exhorted to?
  2. Are you trying too hard to be relevant, or do you simply need more courage to be obedient?
  3. In your leadership (or followership) are you more concerned with disappointing people, or pleasing God?
  4. What safeguards (good habits and relationships) do you have in your life which help you to see clearly in every decision?
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