First Baptist Church - East Stroudsburg, PA
For Immediate Release
With 25 years of experience leading and training short-term teams for missions outreach, youth pastor Dawes Dunham knows that transforming short-term ministry into long-term life change is a significant challenge. When the First Baptist Church of East Stroudsburg, PA, sought an answer to this problem, they turned to The Next Mile. "This is the best short-term material I have ever seen," said Pastor Dunham, reflecting on The Next Mile's impact on his recent short-term trip to the Gulf Coast.
The Next Mile provided Pastor Dunham with tools to accomplish the task of making a short-term trip more than just a visit to the mission field: pre-field, on-field, and post-field segments of the mission experience come together as a continuum of spiritual development. "The depth and amount of the materials was excellent. Our team met together for training on six different occasions, with homework given for each session. These sessions brought our team together and prepared us for what we would face in the Gulf." Pastor Dunham said.
According to Pastor Dunham, the benefits of The Next Mile were evident during the trip. "Some [team members] wondered as we began ‘Why do we need to do all this training for such a short trip?' When we arrived on the field those same people tied much of the success of the trip to the training," he said. The team applied its training on-field while they renovated homes and cleaned up a neighborhood park in challenging conditions. "Team members were flexible, encouraging and hard working. In spite of being tired and hot, there was a continual positive spirit."
After returning home, the team continued their journey, debriefing from the trip and reflecting on their experiences. The spiritual journal - begun by team members prior to the trip and continued following the trip - is a tool "through which many on the team shared what God was teaching them," said Pastor Dunham, "I do not believe any of our team members will ever walk into their homes in the same way."
The Next Mile Leader Kit is ideal for evaluating the program. It includes a Leader Guide (with Resource CD and Road Map), Goer Guide Youth Edition, Goer Guide All-Age Edition (both with Mentor Packet), and the Mile Post Devotional. For more information, contact The Next Mile at 800-533-5822.