Lack of knowledge can complicate missions. Missions service is about more than just preaching the gospel, feeding the hungry, or rescuing refugees. Today’s missionaries must also navigate travel, technology, and global connectedness—and the complex laws that govern them. Know-how is critical to success.
MBI offers a unique professional and contextualized service called LIFT (legal, immigration, financial, tactical) to help YWAM missionaries crush the “big rocks” that sometimes hinder ministry. LIFT workshops allow YWAM leaders and staff to work through issues with experts via training, discussion, and one-on-one consultations. LIFT’s topical training ranges broadly from corporate bylaws and worker visas to financial planning and facilities security.
In February this year, MBI offered a LIFT workshop at the YWAM San Antonio Del Mar campus in Mexico. Nearly sixty leaders and staff representing over thirty-five US YWAM campuses attended the three-day event to hear from experienced YWAM leaders and MBI’s network of lawyers and professionals.
Husband and wife lawyer team, Allen and Julie Anjo (Office of General Counsel at YWAM’s UofN in Kona) taught on nonprofits, child protection, mandated reporting, religious worker visas, data privacy, and constitutional protections for nonprofits. “These legal considerations,” they say, “form a basis for legal protections that allow the ministries to focus on their calling to the Great Commission. As lawyers called first to missions, we use our skills, experience, and expertise to help ministries and missionaries set up strong legal foundations so they can succeed in their calling and not worry about possible compliance issues or lawsuits.”
After the LIFT workshop, YWAM participants said: “What an incredible resource! Every base should attend!” “I learned so much exceptional information, much of which I didn’t know.” “I loved having a place where we could get this information and knowing where to look in the future.”
As YWAM ministries worldwide do whatever it takes to reach the world, MBI continues to provide the tools they need to thrive through opportunities like LIFT.
Since 1960, YWAM missionaries have continued reaching out to this broken world spiritually and practically. They bring health and healing through hands-on mercy ministries and interrupt human trafficking via rescue and education. They strategically distribute Bibles to help end Bible poverty. And they’re training yet another generation of believers to share the good news of Jesus Christ. As YWAMers continue to make God known to the least, the last, and the lost, Mission Builders International is there to support them.
For instance, YWAM Cambodia strives to transform Cambodia’s history from one of “killing fields” to “living fields,” believing God for One Nation in One Generation. As a result, five hundred Cambodians now attend YWAM Cambodia’s ten church plants, and a thousand youth recently joined the soccer league hosted on their campus. MBI is helping YWAM Cambodia in tangible ways to realize its vision by sending volunteers, helping with training and equipping their leaders, debriefing their staff, providing professional architectural services, and more.
MBI remains committed to providing YWAM campuses with the services and practical help they need to stay healthy and fulfill their callings long-term. Now, we’re taking our commitment to a higher level. Planning is underway to build MBI’s Mission Lodge hospitality center to engage YWAM missionaries, volunteers, students, and visitors more fully.
The vision took root when YWAM Lakeside Montana gifted its prime one-acre piece of property to MBI in 2004. In 2019, MBI expanded its ministry by adding new services like Leadership13, LIFT, Partner Architects, Debriefing, and more. Today, the time is right to make the Mission Lodge a reality.
MBI co-director Dawn Masucci says: “Part of our vision for the Mission Lodge is to create a welcoming place where YWAM missionaries can come to be refreshed, retooled, and re-sent, so they may continue to ‘know God and make Him known.’ We’ve envisioned a well-designed building dedicated to the Lord that increases our capacity for hospitality, collaboration, training, communication, and recruiting.
“We also see a place to create more awareness about MBI and YWAM as we engage students and show hospitality to their families and friends. The 1000+ visitors who pass through YWAM Lakeside and visit the Mission Lodge every year will gain a clear understanding of what MBI does and leave inspired to find their unique opportunity to reach the world by helping international YWAM locations.
“Our vision for the Mission Lodge, with its wooded location and beautiful views, also embodies a place of restoration and replenishment for those experiencing a rough season in ministry. Frontline YWAM missionaries will come to be debriefed by professionally trained debriefing staff. Leaders who may feel tired and bruised will receive encouragement, skilled mentoring, and fellowship, returning to the field with renewed faith that they can, indeed, take on giants.”
MBI’s Ross Lackey of Partner Architects created a master plan for the one-acre site, designing the 16,000 square foot building and preparing for construction. The Lodge’s interior will include twenty guest rooms and a caretaker’s suite, a full kitchen, a large conference room, a commons area, a reception area for hospitality, and an MBI office area with desk spaces and meeting rooms to accommodate thirty staff. The exterior design features a drive-through covered entry and twenty dedicated parking spaces.
Site preparation begins this spring, with foundation completion projected for early 2023. Construction will start soon after. Our faith goal is to have the building “dried in” by the winter of 2023, then debt-free and ready for service by the end of 2024.
Winston Churchill said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us.” The Mission Lodge’s purpose, design, functionality, and beauty increase MBI’s ability to shape lives by helping YWAM missionaries—and the people they serve worldwide—to thrive.
Many students of YWAM’s Discipleship Training School graduate with a desire to serve full-time in the mission, and YWAM campuses worldwide need people just like them to achieve their mission goals and thrive. MBI brings these two dynamic groups together through our After DTS program.
DTS graduates can now explore opportunities and locations through volunteer placement, allowing them to experience a variety of service opportunities, places, cultures, and causes. Graduates may learn new skills, encounter new people groups, fall in love with a ministry vision, find their “tribe” of like-minded missionaries, and more! They volunteer at global locations, build lasting relationships, and find their best fit for long-term service. MBI makes easy what used to be laborious and time-consuming.
Dawn Mekunwattana from Thailand did her DTS in the spring of 2011 at YWAM Lakeside and knew she wanted to join their staff someday. She spent time mission building on campus between the secondary schools she attended after her basic training. She says:
“My mission building experience gave me a snapshot into the behind-the-scenes life of missionary members on campus and helped to solidify my desire to serve full-time in Montana. I loved the Mission Builder community! We had our meetings and times of connection and prayer outside of the regular base meetings, and I loved connecting with all the people who would come through for those short seasons to serve and bless others. Mission building also grew my confidence—I could serve and work in many capacities! It’s been ten years since I did my DTS and six years since I last worked as a mission builder. Now, I’m finally here as a full-time missionary member!”
DTS graduates like Daniel, Fabio, Presley, and others have utilized the After DTS program to explore the exciting ways and places available to them to serve within YWAM as they’ve fulfilled God’s call on their lives.
Are you a DTS graduate with a passion for moving to the next step of service? Apply at www.missionbuilders.org to volunteer with After DTS and discover your next step!
“Buildings preach,” says architect Ross Lackey. He believes that intentional architectural design can effectively promote everything from community values to religion.
After he and his family stepped into training and missions at YWAM Lakeside Montana in the fall of 2012, Ross spent seven years as architectural director of the nonprofit architectural firm 100 Fold Studio. He trained young architects to provide design services to charitable organizations around the world.
What Ross couldn’t get out of his mind, however, is the need frontline YWAM missionaries have for efficient spaces where they can do the work of training and discipleship effectually. He says, “YWAM ministries deserve places that support their efforts as part of God’s redemptive work in the world.”
So in May of this year, Ross aligned his brand new ministry, Partner Architects, with MBI, because they share a common goal: so others may thrive. MBI provides a conduit for an expanded expression of Ross’s vision.
“Partner Architects’ motto—Design for Missionaries, by Missionaries—clarifies that we serve missionaries from the shared place of being missionaries ourselves. We don’t come into a project with a different goal or set of values in play. When you can trust that your architect is making decisions based on a shared goal of seeing lives transformed by the gospel, your architect becomes a partner.”
Ross actively invites Christian professionals to see and use their gifts and talents not merely as a vocation, but also as a platform that can be used for eternal purposes. “Once they hear that they can be part of something bigger and farther-reaching,” he says, “they go from ‘my money matters’ to ‘my life matters.’ It’s a big step.
“In the end,” Ross concludes, “our success is not a pretty building, but rather how Christ is having a real impact on people’s lives.”
MBI’s newest ministry, Leadership 13 (L13) came into existence in 2010 when colleagues Ron Brewster and Dawn Masucci and I felt compelled to combine our years of leadership experience and expertise into a concerted effort to respond to a cry for help from a number of the promising young leaders serving within Youth With a Mission. Those leaders were being called upon to shape this rapidly growing, international, interdenominational movement of Christians called to bring the whole gospel to the whole world.
Though each of us desired to see YWAM succeed at the macro level, with all of its myriad of expressions, we shared an even more pressing passion to see this current generation of leaders adequately equipped to face the challenges of successfully stewarding their respective ministry locations. Having invested 30-plus years of service at the senior leadership level in one location, it was and is our firm conviction that any lasting leadership legacy can only be accomplished when those “to whom much has been given” graciously acknowledge and respond to the second half of this biblical mandate that “much is required.”
L13 was forged in the fire of finding ways to pass on our life lessons and expertise in any way God might want to use them for the benefit of YWAM leaders. The end goal was to see the advancement of the kingdom of God globally.
Since embracing that call 9 years ago, it has been our privilege to have assisted in training and coaching leaders in approximately 16 YWAM operating locations from the U.S. and Canada to far flung regions such as Cambodia, Taiwan, Costa Rica, and Barbados. Though some of the leaders we have had the privilege of serving are mature and experienced, the much larger percentage have been young, inexperienced , and, in some locations, first generation Christians.
These God-called, amazing servants find themselves responsible for some of the most innovative ministry expressions we have ever seen, ranging from the foundational YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS) to numerous other secondary expressions such as the School of Biblical Studies (SBS) and School of Community Development, just to name a couple. Because 2 of the 18 foundational values of YWAM are about being “visionary” and doing “new things in new ways,” there is no end to the creative ventures we have observed as these ministries explore how they can more effectively take the age-old gospel message and contextualize it to reach the cultures to which God has called them.
The gospel is going forward to some of the least-reached areas of the world through creative approaches that include everything from very sophisticated English/computer education programs to AIDS orphan homes to micro business enterprise (designed not only to provide income streams for the local ministry but do so in a way that serves to generate financial support for full-time, indigenous workers). The challenge is that, in many cases, their remarkable effectiveness has become a double-edged sword. The accelerated growth these ministries are experiencing has outstripped the leaders’ knowledge and expertise as to how to keep the ministry healthy, thriving, and appropriately funded. These are wonderful challenges, but these leaders are often ill-equipped to navigate them.
This is exactly the point at which L13 discovered that our year-long approach of coming along side these ministries has borne good fruit. Our expertise joined with their energy and desire to lead well has produced a winning combination. The tools we’re able to give them through our on-site visits as well as Skype coaching and mentoring has proven to be very effective in equipping them with understanding in areas such as organizational dynamics, healthy systems, and strong staff development. Coupled with our core value and commitment toward “developing servant leaders for lasting growth,” L13 not only encourages the leaders we serve but arms them with the confidence necessary to lead those whom God has placed in their charge so that the entire ministry can learn to walk in the footsteps of our great servant leader and master, Jesus Christ.
Since its inception, L13 has been blessed beyond measure to add four more players to the team, Jason Howard, Lane Lackey, Veronica VanSchuylenburg and occasionally John Briggs. Each brings with them a skill set that has broadened L13’s ability to help in even more areas.
Just over a year ago, L13 was delighted and blessed to be invited to make Mission Builders International its permanent home. When the opportunity first presented itself, it almost seemed like a no-brainer. The call of MBI, “So Others May Thrive,” seemed like a hand-in-glove fit with all that L13 desired to accomplish.
Even though it seemed obvious, however, the final decision to join forces was only made after a great deal of prayer by all of those involved as well as a serious discussion with the wise and godly board of directors that serves MBI. At the end of the process, all were in hearty agreement that to add L13 to the MBI family was a match made in heaven. MBI’s call to the larger Mission as opposed to any one location is a call that we share together.
As the times we live in become increasingly uncertain, we invite you to join your prayers with ours that MBI and L13 will find ever-widening circles of influence where our passion, “So Others May Thrive,” can be expressed in and through our Mission and ultimately to the ends of the earth.