Bertha and I are back in Kiev, Ukraine after our 3-month home service, and we are glad to be home, although home has a little different meaning now that both of our children are in college in Canada.
My schedule for this fall and winter is filled with a number of international trips and SEND U training events, including ARES in Taiwan (Oct 18-20), training in “Integrating Millenials into our mission teams” at Directors' Council in Farmington (Nov 3-11), and MOP in the Philippines (Jan 16-27). You can see the SEND U Calendar at any time on the first page of the SEND U wiki.
I want to draw your attention to two coaching workshops that I will be facilitating, one on the Farmington campus from Dec 5-7, and another one in Quezon City, Philippines from Jan 30 - Feb 1. This training in coaching is primarily targeting the people working in the mobilization departments in the USO and in the Philippines Sending Office, but other SEND people are welcome to join, as long as we have room. If you are interested in participating in the training, contact Tom Engelsman (USO) or Larry Salisbury (Philippines).
I am very thankful to God and pleased to announce that SEND U now has another staff member. In September, Ted Szymczak joined the International Office, and will be devoting 40% of his time to SEND U, particularly in the coordinating and developing of training in church planting. Ted and Wendy served in Poland in theological education and coaching church planters for many years, but have recently moved back to the USA to address some family needs. Ted has already been serving on the SEND U Leadership Team for the past couple of years, so is quite familiar with our priorities and different training initiatives. This past summer, he led a group of SEND church planters on home service to the annual ReachGlobal training (Multiplying Churches Globally) in Minneapolis. Ted believes this is an excellent training program for cross-cultural church planters, and we will continue to encourage other SEND church planters to attend in subsequent summers.
SEND U is committed to developing a coaching culture within SEND. Coaching is an essential component of the SEND U program, and a key method of accelerating learning and development of gifts and skills. We believe that coaching fits SEND and our theology well, and is NOT only for those who serve in some type of leadership role. Every missionary would benefit from being coached. We want to see more and more SEND members being coached and being trained as coaches, and envision that that coaching will become a predominant style of the way that we work together.
Over the past couple of years, I have been trying to track how many people within SEND are being coached, and ask our coaches to report their coaching hours each quarter. As far as I can tell, 82 different SEND missionaries have been coached at some time over the past four years. But I am afraid that my statistics are quite incomplete. Not all of the coaches I know regularly report, nor do I know who all is being coached by those outside of the organization. Could you help me get a fuller picture of the growth of coaching within SEND International? If you have been coached by a trained coach in the last year (since January 2011), could you write me a brief note, telling me who coached you, and for approximately how many hours? All I want to know is who and how long, not what you talked about.
As more and more of our newsletters are being sent out by email rather than by snail mail, I have been looking at better ways of managing our email list, designing attractive email newsletters, and even tracking who actually reads our newsletters. Recently I have started using Mail Chimp, and see that quite a few other missionaries are doing the same. Mail Chimp is free if you have less than 2000 addresses in your list, and you send less than 12,000 emails a month to your mailing list, which fits both the budget and needs of most missionaries. Mail Chimp helps me design an attractive newsletter with pictures and columns (not just as an attachment). It will send out all of my newsletter in a couple of minutes, without forcing me to break it into batches so that Gmail will accept it. Best of all, it tells me how many people and which people have actually opened our newsletter (this is a little humbling, I am afraid). It offers training and a step-by-step process in writing an email newsletter “campaign,” I encourage you to try it out. Did I mention that it was free and that a chimp sits at the top of every screen providing comic relief when you don't feel like writing your newsletter? Maybe I should be using Mail Chimp to send out my Training Tracks newsletter?
Of course, writing good newsletters is not just or even primarily about using technology effectively. Our SEND U wiki also has recently added some articles on “Partner Development” that I would encourage you to review as you think about your own communication with your donors.
based in Kiev, Ukraine