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When missions is more than a program


What happens when missions becomes more than a program? Piper Kirkpatrick knows the answer.

Reared in Madison, Alabama, Piper attended Asbury United Methodist Church. In 2002, Asbury UMC began partnering with TMS Global to increase the church’s mission capacity.

“Starting as a preschooler, kids at Asbury UMC are taught to be engaged in missions,” says Rhonda Dahlin, TMS Global’s director of church partnership and a former staff member at Asbury UMC. “Children have mission outreach opportunities throughout their elementary school years. In the fifth grade, kids are allowed to travel on their first international mission trip. Junior high and high school ministries coordinate monthly local mission nights, as well as an annual local mission trip and an international mission trip. By the time a student graduates, missions has become a fundamental part of his or her faith.”

TMS Global’s church ministry team partners with local churches across the country, mentoring congregations as they take the next step in outreach. Dahlin explains, “One of our primary aims is to move missions from a program of the church to missions being the core DNA of the church.”

Asbury UMC adopted the concept and integrated missions into every aspect of the life of the church. For the past seven years, Dahlin coordinated Asbury UMC’s mission ministries.

Piper absorbed the missions experiences and teachings as she attended church through middle school. “When I was in the sixth grade, I went on my first international mission trip to Costa Rica,” remembers Piper. “The trip was formative in the way I began to view life as a mission.”

On the trip, Piper shared her testimony in front of a few hundred students in Costa Rica. “The experience made me wonder why I didn’t share my faith more openly at home,” she said. Piper began to share her testimony during local outreaches in Madison. She began to see her school as a mission field and became a Christian Club leader.

Now in college, Piper has continued to make missions a priority in her life. She is studying theological and biblical studies at Wheaton College and plans to pursue full-time ministry after graduation. She currently works for National School Project, a ministry designed to see a student-led, church-supported, campus awakening to the love of Jesus Christ in every public school. Piper disciples students in Chicago-area public schools and teaches them how to share the gospel in their contexts.

“I want to continue to equip students to reach their school campuses for Jesus Christ,” says Piper.

What happens when missions becomes more than a program? Everything changes.

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