Beyond is working on a strategy based on the idea of "hubs". In brief, this strategy is:
- Go to a "phase 1" hub - learn to make multiplying disciples in your home culture. (This doesn't necessarily mean in the United States). P1 usually lasts about 15 weeks or so.
- Sign up with Beyond (this is our application phase): onboarding, ministry partner development, and everything else that happens before you go to the field.
- Transition to the field, "land" at a "phase 2" hub
- "Phase 2" - primarily language & culture acquisition for first year or two (or longer, depending), while serving with a cross-cultural strategy to engage a people group. This is where you take what you learned about DMM/making disciples in phase 1, and add the cross-cultural component.
- Once you are finished with Phase 2, you can decide either to continue serving that hub, or pioneer something new - a new strategy team engaging an unreached/underserved/unengaged/pioneer people group or city.
The "hub" strategy is not new. You can see echoes of this in many existing agencies, as well as many historical ones. (There are dangers--the stereotypical "missionary compound" was a base or hub, but did not multiply out.)
What makes us different: we're working on starting movements. What's critically important about hubs:
- the ability to learn-and-do solves the balance between too long a time in training ("years in training") and getting to the field without any training at all. Just-in-time training means you get what you need, when you need it, plus ongoing coaching and mentoring while you implement.
- the idea that hubs are constantly raising up teams
to send them out to new unreached places helps us avoid the "
evil Matthew effect" by intentionally designing times with hubs to be short-lived, and the optimum goal to be the sending of strategy teams to new places.
- solves the calling problem incrementally: most people, when they first sign on, have only the most nebulous idea of where they want to end up. We need to be flexible in our exact missionary focus. Most people tend to know they want to be in this region, not that one; but out of 16,000 people groups (more, perhaps, if we count "dialects" that really are people groups themselves), how can you know which specific one you will be focused on 5 years from now?
- solves the time commitment problem: you can go and serve in a hub for 2 to 4 years, learn a language, experience a culture,
make a contribution--and if you come to the conclusion that "missions isn't your thing," you can return home having made that contribution. It's an easier "off-ramp." We make much of how the modern generation isn't ready to commit the rest of their lives to missions; we need to engage with that and offer commitment timeframes and strategic objectives for those time frames that feed into an overall strategy.
(Want to talk to me about hubs and Beyond? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
Read more: this post by Steve Smith in Mission Frontiers, also talking about hubs