About The Next Mile

For NNYM Missions Affinity Network (NNYM/AffNet) members, this is a tremendous praise, as it is the second tangible product produced by the group. The first was the development of the Short-term Missions Standards of Excellence, and now The Next Mile. The Next Mile represents and addresses what we've discovered together to be a top priority: revolutionizing the short-term missions movement by focusing on the long-term effects of a short-term mission. It represents a best practices from the combined experience of over 30 mission experts representing more than 20 organizations!

The heartbeat of The Next Mile is built around the spiritual pilgrimage concept.  It provides practical guidelines and resources to help local churches, organizations and team leaders excel in transforming people for long-term personal change and world impact.  Organizing effective short-term mission experiences begins before the trip and so The Next Mile discipleship process starts before and continues long after the trip is through.  The development of The Next Mile has been coordinated by DELTA Ministries for the AffNet.

The Need

Statistics today are astounding.  It is estimated that as many as 35,000 churches in the USA are sending short-term teams and that as many as 4,000,000 people per year participate in missions lasting a few days to a few years in duration.  Before The Next Mile, the largest percentage of any training and resources available for this length of ministry revolved around how to prepare for and how to do the ministry.  When it came to living out the spiritual, character and leadership growth obtained during a short-term ministry experience and applying it back home in the local church and community, there were only paragraphs or chapters here and there in a small quantity of resources.  While there were some tools available that focused on "debriefing," there was little done after a person's ministry assignment to help them keep the flame alive back home.

Based on surveys administered by the NNYM Missions Affinity Network, Caleb Project and DELTA Ministries, youth leaders and mission leaders alike agreed that a tool to address the follow-through of short-term missionaries is needed.

Customer Requirements

The surveys indicated a desire for a study guide, a leader guide, and a journal. Customers wanted a tool that could be used both in a group and self-guided reflection time, with considerable flexibility in the number of sessions included. People surveyed included long-term missionaries, local-church missions pastors, those that have been on short-term trips as well as missions agencies staff and long-term missionaries.

Distribution

This project is the fulfillment of a mandate by the members of NNYM's Missions Affinity Network. A consensus was reached by the group's members that this tool is the highest priority by each of its members. It was envisioned that partnering organizations and contributing authors would use this tool in their ministry's Short-Term programs. Contributing authors agreed to encourage the identification with, and ownership of, the overall project within their sphere of influence.

The Plan

Phase one of the product was completed for pre-viewing and pre-publication sales at the FSTML conference in October 2005 and was ready for distribution in December 2005 through Authentic Media a division of Send the Light Publishing (Now International Bible Society).

Phase 1 - There are currently six items associated with The Next Mile product range that churches and organizations can utilize to address the follow-through of short-term missionaries.

Phase 2 & 3 - Following the release of the guides for Short-Term Mission teams, three additional Next Mile guides will be produced including: A study guide for the Mid-Term Missionaries, a handbook for Host Receivers, and follow-through tools for Sending Organizations.

One-day conferences will be hosted by local churches intended for anyone who has been on a short-term or mid-term ministry. There will be plenary sessions, seminars, exhibiters, schools, missions, worship, the opportunity to connect with a missions coach and more. These conferences will allow people to get reconnected, to process their mission experience and to explore the next mile in their lives.