By Jon Hansen, District Representative, Mountain Central District
A Connection Between Recruiting and Mentoring
My wife Debbie and I began our ministry as the Mountain Central District Representatives seven years ago. We never imagined how involved we would be in mentoring a new generation of Missionary Pastors. During our first District Representative meetings we discussed recruitment. There was a great need for candidate couples to fill the open fields in the United States and Canada.
As we began to pray our hearts turned to making this a priority (in addition to pastoral care of the missionaries and churches in our district).
A Mentoring Plan Takes Root
In the fall of 2011, we attended the Association of North American Missions (ANAM) Elijah Elisha Initiative in Longview, TX. Mission leaders were encouraged to mentor the next generation to serve in their place. During that meeting mission leaders discussed how they could pass the baton.
We left those meetings praying about how we could mentor the next generation of missionaries.
That fall, we also attended the Rural Home Missions week at Frontier School of the Bible in LaGrange, Wyoming. There we met several young men interested in getting to know more about serving with Village Missions. As we prayed we knew the Lord was about to change our ministry in a big way.
In January 2012, we held our first Elijah/Elisha Mentoring Weekend with two young men at our home in Chadron, NE. We shared about the ministry of Village Missions and got to know them on a more personal level. We also included a retired Village Missions couple who shared about their service with Village Missions. From that weekend our main recruitment tool was born; it has outgrown our home and is now hosted in Lagrange, WY, the home of Frontier School of the Bible.
The Fruit of Mentoring
Each fall and winter, we spend a week at Frontier School of the Bible getting to know students who are interested in ministry. Each January we host our Mentorship Weekend with those who want to know more about Village Missions. Some have decided to serve with Village Missions; others are called to other ministries. After six years of mentoring we now have three couples serving full time in our district. These couples filled fields that were waiting for a missionary pastor.
Daniel and Kimberly Waide (left) graduated from Frontier School of the Bible in 2014. They began serving full time at Formoso, KS, in the fall of 2016 after completing a one year internship with this Formoso Community Church. They keep busy raising a young family while serving their church and community.
Mike and Monica Dinkel (upper right) also graduated from Frontier School of the Bible in 2014. They began serving full time at Harlan, KS, in May 2017 after completing their internship at Starbuck, WA. They have been busy settling their daughter and themselves into their new home and meeting the people of the Harlan Church and the small communities surrounding their rural church.
Jacob and Amanda Heaton (lower right) began serving full time at Chalk Hills Community Church in Scotia, NE, on August 13, 2017. They graduated from Frontier School of the Bible in 2015 and have just completed their one year internship at Calumet, MI. They are adjusting to being new parents along with their new ministry.
We rejoice to have these couples serving in our district. We look forward to continuing mentoring them in the years ahead.
The Next Step in Mentoring
So what’s next? Jon and retired Village Missionary Bill Korf will attend the Rural Home Missions Week in September at Frontier School of the Bible. While there, they will share about Village Missions and visit with students interested in attending our Mentorship Weekend to be held in early February 2018. We are praying about taking our Mentorship Weekends to other Bible colleges and seminaries that would allow us to do this. Would you begin praying with us for the Lord to bring to us the next generation of Village Missionaries?