LUP036 – Yokefellows: Trent Cornwell

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll hear in Episode 36:

  • Update – Today we launch our deputation surveys for missionaries and churches.
  • Encouragement – Hear how a childhood tragedy created a passion for missions in Trent Cornwell – without turning him into a missionary.
  • Tech. Tip – Another way to organize scattered thoughts when starting a new project.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Update

Well, first of all, we did finally get that problem with the customizer figured out last month. I spent several hours on it, ruling out a bunch of possibilities. Then, I pulled my developer in to see what he could find. In less than 30 minutes he found a setting on the new servers that was blocking things. When he flipped that switch (metaphorically speaking), everything suddenly started working again.

And about those surveys I mentioned last month… Well, a few minutes ago – just before recording this episode – I finally launched Edify Hub’s 2017 Deputation Survey for Churches and Missionaries.

I’m confident we can find a tool that will make it easier for missionaries and the churches that want to support them to find each other. While we’re at it, though, there are a lot of ways we could actually get it wrong. The purpose of these surveys is to get a basic understanding of what missionaries and churches believe are truly important, and what kind of information will help them make their decisions and avoid wasting their time trying out relationships that won’t work.

I’ve been excited to hear the positive feedback I’ve received from both missionaries and pastors. Both groups seem very eager to share their thoughts, and both groups agree that it’s a solvable problem that needs attention.

If you feel the same way, then I’d love to have you contribute your thoughts on the survey.

To start, just visit edifyhub.com/2017survey.  The whole survey will take somewhere around 15 minutes.

If I get at least 500 missionaries and 500 pastors to submit their answers, then I’ll publish a detailed analysis of the results. If you participate in either survey, you can get a copy of those results.

Also, if we get 500 pastors and 500 missionaries to respond, then five random missionaries will win a copy of The Deputation Manual for Missionaries by Austin Gardner and Tony Howeth, and five random pastors will win a copy of The Pioneer Sender by Trent Cornwell.

And of those five missionaries and five pastors, one missionary and one pastor will each win a $100 Visa gift card.

Again – if you want to help streamline deputation, and possibly even win a prize, start by visiting edifyhub.com/2017survey.

To qualify to potentially win one of those prizes, or to get a copy of the detailed analysis, I will ask you to submit your email address along with the survey. But if the prizes and results aren’t important to you, you can submit the survey completely anonymously.

And if you do enter to win one of the prizes, I’ll also give you your own personal link that you can use to invite other pastors and missionaries to fill out the survey. For each completed survey that starts from one of your personal links, you’ll be entered into the drawing again – greatly increasing your chances of winning a book or the $100 Visa gift card.

Why am I giving all this away? Because getting useful results depends on having input from a large population of people.  I’m happy to share what I learn with every one of you, and I’m hopeful that in return for that promise, you can help me out by spreading the word and encouraging your missionary and pastor friends to participate.

edifyhub.com/2017survey — that’s what’s happening with Edify Hub.

Encouragement

For some people, a death in the family begins a downward spiral of disappointment, discouragement, depression, and despair. But for today’s guest, it had a very different effect.

Trent Cornwell

When I introduced our deputation survey for pastors and missionaries, I mentioned the drawing to give away five copies of The Pioneer Sender, by Trent Cornwell. Well, my guest today is Trent Cornwell. I met him a few years ago via Twitter, after being impressed with his heart to help missionaries get to the field and to keep them actively supported while they’re there. I noticed that his church, Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, wasn’t that far from the office where I worked, so we met one day for lunch and had some amazing Indian food.

That’s where he shared his heart with me, along with some of the story that you’ll hear today. With both of us having that desire to see missionaries successful around the world, we became fast friends, and I can’t wait for you to hear his story.

“What is my responsibility in getting that man a Bible?”

What a sobering question that is.

Maybe God has called you to work directly in a country outside of the United States to make sure people there have access to the Word of God. Or maybe you’re just starting to recognize that He is calling you. Or maybe, like Trent and me, God is leading you to do something very specific where you are right now to help missionaries.

Whatever way it is that comes to your mind to help spread the gospel around the world. Will you do it?

Tech. Tip

In last month’s episode, I explained how I sometimes use colored sticky notes to help me organize the start of a new project.

But sometimes, like with streamlining deputation, sticky notes are just too loose. The thoughts and ideas start to come widely scattered, but still already in categories. For streamlining deputation, I wanted to capture questions I had about how pastors make decisions, how missionaries make decisions, what pastors do that bother missionaries, what missionaries do that bother pastors, what pastors were willing to contribute to the process, what missionaries were willing to contribute to the process, ideas of who to ask for input, ideas of how to gather the input, etc., etc., etc.

Early mind map with FreeMind

And each of those categories could branch out with additional thoughts going in many different directions. Trying to manage that grouped but scattered, and constantly-growing collection of thoughts was going to be way too overwhelming for a wall full of sticky notes.

This was not the kind of project where I could just slap my thoughts on the wall and try to organize them later. No each thought came pre-arranged; I just needed a system that would let me quickly place a thought in the category where it belonged.

What I needed was a mind map.

With a mind map, you start out with a central idea. In my case, that idea was “Deputation Help.” Write down that idea in the center of a piece of paper. Then, as related thoughts come into your mind, write down those thoughts in a few words, scattered around that central idea. In my case, many of those thoughts were questions. What do missionaries want? What is a missionary’s pain? What do pastors want? What is a pastor’s pain? Draw a line from the central thought to each of those second-level thoughts. Then, you may have more detailed thoughts that focus around one or more of those second-level thoughts.  Write them down, and draw a line between each one and the second-level thought. As you keep thinking and working, you’ll have new second-level thoughts, new third-level thoughts, and maybe even fourth- and fifth-level thoughts.  For example, one pain of missionaries is spending hours calling without booking a meeting. That thought led to a list of clarifying questions I wanted to ask, and some of those questions led me to think of how other aspects of the process might affect those answers.

Many people create their mind maps on paper. And that’s certainly one way to do it – especially if you want to quickly capture your ideas without a tool getting in the way. You’ll just find yourself writing smaller and smaller as you get into more and more detailed thoughts.

For me, I like to use mind mapping software. There are lots of options out there for both Mac and Windows. But I like to save money, so if there’s a free option, I’ll use that.

And, of course, there is a free option.  It’s called, not surprisingly, FreeMind. It runs on both Mac and Windows.

So, if you’re working on a crucial project that needs to reflect a lot of scattered thoughts, all at the same time, try mind mapping. And maybe even try it with FreeMind.

Closing

So today, you learned about mind mapping, the tool I used to help me organize early plans to help streamline the deputation process. You also met Trent Cornwell, and you heard how the death of his father on the day of his high school graduation sent him down a path that turned him into a highly-effective missions mobilizer working from inside his local church. Finally you heard about the launch of of our 2017 Deputation survey.

I want to give special thanks to Trent Cornwell and others at Vision Baptist Church and Vision Baptist Missions in Alpharetta, Georgia. When I contacted them about buying the books for the survey giveaway, they replied that they would donate them. I certainly appreciate their generosity in making those books available. If you’re a pastor and you want to win a copy of Trent Cornwell’s book The Pioneer Sender, or if you’re a missionary and you want to win a copy of Pastor Austin Gardner and Tony Howeth’s book The Deputation Manual for Missionaries, visit edifyhub.com/2017survey, complete the survey, and answer “yes” when asked if you want to enter to win. Then, use your personal link to invite others to take the survey to increase your chances of winning with another entry for everyone who uses your link to take the survey.

With the answers you provide in that survey, we’ll work towards creating tools and processes to help streamline the deputation process for both pastors and missionaries. Wouldn’t it be nice to see compatible missionaries and churches find each other more quickly? What an encouragement it would be to see deputation routinely completed in 18-24 months. How many people could we lift up doing that? And you can help, starting today.

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