14) The Last Bit: Are you a Mobilizer? Check Out our “Letter to Ryan”

We have this great friend named Ryan. He will hopefully be starting very soon as a mobilizer at a mission organization. We decided to write him an open letter (so you could read over our shoulder). The question that the letter addresses is — “How might you become the most effective mission mobilizer you can be?” Here’s our letter to Ryan. If you know a prospective (or current) mobilizer, is there something here that you can share with him/her, or does this letter get your mind/heart working so you can share something similar?

Dear Ryan,
We’re so excited that you’ll be starting soon as a mobilizer. THANK you for the work you’ve invested in getting here. College, short-term trips, fundraising, and now, the most important thing you have — your time. As you start, the question occurred — after having done this stuff for 40 years (this October), how would I (Doug) answer if you asked the question, “What do I do?” I think we’d start answering that question by asking a question in response: “Am I a gatekeeper or a bridge builder?” It would be an important question to ask. How can one discern the difference?

Here are several pairs of statements. Which one would you think might best describe a bridge builder? … statement “a” or “b” ???

a) “Prove to me why you might be successful in the mission field.”
b) “Let’s walk this road together. Let us help you be effective.”

a) “Why in the world do you think you’re cut out for missions?”
b) “Why WOULDN’T God want to work through you in the mission field?”

a) “We’ve seen so many people try missions and fail miserably.”
b) “We’ve seen so many people, in spite of themselves, be used by God in missions.”

And here’s a famous one…
a) “Our application pipeline is difficult for a reason: We’re trying to see how serious you are. If you can’t finish our application process, what makes you think you can get to the field!”
b) “Yes, we ask a number of questions that help us and help you determine if we’re a good fit together. Either way, God has a purpose and a plan for you to be involved in His Great Commission. Let’s see if, together, we can’t help you discover it.”

So, how’d you do on the quiz? Which mobilizer is a gatekeeper — the guy responding in the statements labeled letter “a” or letter “b”? We trust the answer is obvious. But now, you might ask, rather than guarding gates, what will help me be effective at building bridges?

Remember, the most valuable thing you can do as a mobilizer is learn to pray. The second most valuable thing you can do is pray harder. The third most valuable thing is to ask someone else to join you in prayer. Those are steps a through c. Everything else is just details. But those details probably include:

d) Learn as much as you can about your church or agency. Do this first, before your first speaking date or visit.

e) Write personally some of the team leaders of teams for which you’re being asked to rally interest. Ask them for a one-liner quote or a brief story about a changed life. Explain that you feel this personal exchange will help your story be lots more believable when you’re in that church or on that campus. Make sure you learn to describe the traits, skills, experience, and type(s) of persons you’re seeking. Get some of this directly from the field team — so they’re telling you person-to-person. It makes for a very powerful message that now you can personally communicate. AND, one of the most effective ways for God to work a “missionary call” is for the person across the table from you to hear you describe his or her credentials to a “T.” That feeling, when it occurs (“Whoa… they’re asking for a person with exactly my training/experience”) is very compelling.

f) Visit personally at least one field per year for which you’re being asked to give priority. Explain to your leadership that this might be the most effective way to personally tell the story — to see it first hand.

g) Work hard to nurture a genuine personal belief that the only reason you are satisfied with being a mobilizer is because you feel its more efficient or effective for the Kingdom at this stage of your life. (You might have other reasons, of course; but one good reason is that if you can find 100 people to sign up during the next 10 years, and if those 100 people can match you in effectiveness, you will have increased your life’s potential fruitfulness 100-fold.

h) Finally, make sure you’re sharing Christ locally with the people around you (cross-cultural or not). Get started in a Zume group next week (or later this week?) if you haven’t done so already.


The fuel for your fire has to be active and burning if you’re going to share the spark with others.

At the end of the day, the most helpful thing you can do is build bridges. But one of the easiest traps into which you can fall is to see yourself as a gatekeeper. Let’s transform mobilization into more of the former and less of the latter.

Ryan, we’re praying for you. Seriously. And we know God will speak through your words. Be strong. Be courageous. Be determined.


PS to Brigada Participants: Thoughts? Please share them by clicking on “Comment” following the web or app version of this item. (And yes, as dust on the ground, of COURSE you are always welcome to share this and any other Brigada item if God tells you it could be useful to help someone, somewhere, find out about Jesus.)

One Response to 14) The Last Bit: Are you a Mobilizer? Check Out our “Letter to Ryan”
  1. Randy Mitchell Reply

    Ryan, join the Global Mobilization Network and attend the next Global Mobilzation Consultation in Sao Paola, Brazil December of 2019. This will give you valuable opportunities to network with other mobilizers as well as develop yourself as a mobilizer.

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