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Behind the Curtain Series: Scouting

Giving you a backstage pass into my world! 

It is a common, yet complex question that I  often receive… “What do you really do?”  Most people end up getting a highlight reel from a newsletter or a quick Facebook/Instagram update that really doesn’t capture what the day to day looks like.  In this series, I will attempt to take you behind the scenes to understand the intricacies of my world. 

In true Joel VanBriggle format…this series will likely be an A.D.D. adventure, so roll with it, please! 

#1 – Scouting – Where do you find places to partner in the work that you are doing?

My process began with finding out who the local “in-country” missionaries are and what their responsibilities entailed.  These amazing servants have dedicated their lives to moving their families into a particular country, learn the language and culture, and serve faithfully among the people of that country.  (I have found that most of them thoroughly enjoy it when I bring Belgian Chocolates with me!) 

It is through those missionary colleagues that I made contact with the national church leaders and then local pastors in the country. 

THIS PROCESS IS SO IMPORTANT!  I was able to gain real-time intel into all that is happening nationally, regionally, and locally.  (I will expound on the relationship building in a subsequent post in this series.)  A collaborative approach is always beneficial in understanding culture, effective approaches, and relational synergy.  It is out of these meetings that potential projects emerged.  It is only with the collective blessing of these parties that anything moves forward.  Active listening is imperative and respect for everyone builds trust—the foundation upon which every effort must begin. 

It is not uncommon for me to speak about “scouting villages.” The truth is, that villages can be found anywhere, so I’m really scouting leaders.  The success of any project rises and falls on leadership.  If there are easily identifiable opportunities in a village, it must be matched with a strong leader present who has the capacity to see it through. 

I also looked for leaders who were already pursuing their God-given vision with limited resources.  Organizationally, our experience was that where there was a leader who was going to do a project regardless of our partnership, we had greater success.  If we were driving the project or vision, it was likely to falter at some point and usually sooner, rather than later. 

Ultimately, I relied on the Holy Spirit to give me discernment, insight, and the capacity to capture the heart of each leader as he or she shared.  Sure, there were numerous other factors that I processed, but I think I gave you the most important things! 

In subsequent posts in this series, I will give further insights into my responsibilities over the past 3 years.


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