God has given us a clear mission for our lives – to share the gospel and make disciples of all nations. Yet global trends of Christianity are changing and the traditional models of sending are becoming less tenable.
What will it take to raise the next generation of mission workers?
To answer this question, SIM UK partnered with Frank Analysis Ltd in December 2020. This research piece culminated in a clear summary and short report (download below).
Key milestones in the journey
Our research generated some key findings, as summarised in the report above. First and foremost, the influence of key figures on someone’s awareness or heart for mission – church leaders, church-sent mission workers – cannot be overstated. Put simply, if the church leader has a heart for global mission, the congregation will follow.
“This research reiterates the part we all have to play in envisioning the next generation into mission service.”Chloe, Innovation Manager at SIM UK.
Younger generations have more inclination and motivation to ‘make a difference’ and take action for social justice, being part of something bigger that is worthwhile, challenging and helps solve problems. Yet with more career expectations and choices, choosing to step out and serve in full-time ministry can feel more daunting.
The report also demonstrates the importance of relationship-building, even at enquirer stage. This is not only between the individual and the organisation’s mobilisers, but even between the individual and those already serving in the prospective location. Exposure trips, stories and interaction with workers on the field are key to helping younger enquirers visualise their place in the ministry or project.
“This research reiterates the part we all have to play in envisioning the next generation into mission service.” says Chloe, Innovation Manager at SIM UK. “Whether it is current or past members sharing experiences of sharing the gospel, or churches exploring the Great Commission with their youth groups, we must recognise that valuing the significance of mission starts younger than we thought.”
“With this research, SIM UK can reflect the emerging trends of Generation Z (and Gen Alpha) to engage the younger generation more meaningfully with the gospel needs across the world.
“It gives SIM a real opportunity to use its wealth of mission experience and its genuine desire for partnership to equip churches to profile mission amongst the next generation and to, God-willing, see a generation of believers who are championing mission and listening to the call of Christ upon their lives.”
How was this research carried out?
Through an intensive review in December 2020, with 6 online focus groups, 22 personal interviews via Zoom or phone, 2 questionnaires (to mission staff and to mission workers/alumni), we investigated the journey of someone being sent or mobilised into cross-cultural ministry. This research project was carried out in partnership with Frank Analysis Ltd.
"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." Matthew 4:19
Read more on SIM UK’s 2020 Strategic Review
“A church without a mission focus is a church that has missed half the Bible. People need to see that it’s not everyone’s calling to go, but everyone has a part to play.”‘Maureen’, long-term mission worker in North Africa