Cultivating Kingdom Partnerships | the Reach May 2024

Dear Friends,

The idea was to partner with a small African village to help build a church, to join in a mutual ministry of encouragement and prayer continents apart. But how does a small rural church of less than 100 members start the journey of making that happen? We had no full-time missions director, and we’d never taken an international short-term missions trip. It seemed a bit daunting. Eventually a friend of a friend introduced me to Carol, the missions director of a larger church about an hour from our own. Carol said, “It just so happens we’re going to Africa in six weeks. You want to come?!”
Fast forward about fifteen years, and not only did we partner to build a church with the nationals in Africa, we partnered with another church in our own presbytery, taking not just one mission trip together, but three. Carol and I developed a friendship that led to collaboration and idea sharing, blessing both our own congregations and many of the missions we supported together.
Presbytery Meetings and General Assembly are such remarkable opportunities to bring Teaching and Ruling Elder Commissioners together, not only for the business of the church, but especially for mutual encouragement, collaboration, and idea sharing. Wouldn’t it be great if we had that kind of opportunity for the missions leaders in our EPC churches?
The Connecting Mission Leader Conference is just that! It brings together lay leaders, missions directors, pastors, and mission enthusiasts – providing opportunities for missiological reflection, worship, prayer, building relationships for new collaboration in mission, and sharing best practices. EPC World Outreach has partnered with Frontier Fellowship, The Antioch Partners, The Outreach Foundation, and others to plan and offer the biennial conference for mission leaders, this year to be held at Hope Church (EPC) in Memphis, Tennessee, October 24th to 26th.

Whether you lead missions in a small church, are on staff at a large church, or just feel a passion for God’s mission for the world, you are invited and encouraged to attend, make connections, share, and be inspired.

This year’s theme is the Whole Church, taken from the Lausanne Covenant, including the phrase, “evangelization requires the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.” In reflecting on what is meant by the ‘Whole Church,’ Matthew Ellison, plenary speaker and president of Sixteen:Fifteen, will bring the perspective that the Great Commission is for everyone sitting in our pews. Missions isn’t just for the few God calls to go around the world; missions is for all believers! Whether by praying, sending, welcoming, mobilizing, going around the world, or going across the street, the Great Commission is for all of us. We have been blessed to be a blessing—to be used by God to take the whole gospel to the whole world.

Looking at the ‘Whole Church’ from the perspective of all generations, Rev. Dr. Lisa Pak, Finishing the Task and Operational Catalyst for the Kingdom Impact Network, will share her own passion for mobilizing the global church, especially the rising generations, towards collaboration in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with all who have yet to hear. As we invest in younger believers, as the world is changing, and as we work to reach the unreached, how do we disciple, encourage, and prepare tomorrow’s leaders for the Great Commission? What do we have to learn from them? What synergies can be found by working together? And how can we sustain a long-term call to missions that continues from one generation to the next while trusting in Jesus’ promise to be with us always, to the end of the age?

The third plenary speaker will explore the ‘Whole Church’ from the perspective of all nations. As we enter a new era of missions, how can the global church partner to bring the whole gospel to the whole world? Inspiring the global church, to fully embrace its calling to share the news that is truly good, both in word and deed, at home and around the globe, is the subject of the third plenary. P* founded a youth movement dedicated to fostering reconciliation and leadership development in his homeland, which burgeoned to encompass over 25,000 young adults during the country’s post-civil conflict period. This movement ignited similar initiatives in over 10 other nations grappling with violence and turmoil. Today, the youth leaders of these movements are championing hope in their respective regions, guided by principles of forgiveness and love for their neighbors. P is renowned worldwide as a speaker, driven by his passion for hope and reconciliation rooted in the Gospel, and he inspires young people within the faith to embrace their mission of being witness to the Good News through both word and action on a global scale.

So, what happens in between the plenaries? Worship, prayer, networking, break-out sessions, meals, and time for fellowship. Perhaps you’ll find a new colleague and friend to plan a short-term trip with. Perhaps you’ll be inspired with new ideas to mobilize all the believers in your church to be on mission with God. Perhaps God will lead you to new ways to disciple the next generation for the Great Commission. Whatever God might be calling you to do next as a missions leader in your church, we invite you to come together, to connect, to be inspired, and to inspire others.

You can find registration details here. We hope you’ll mark your calendars now and plan to join us in October for the Connecting Mission Leader Conference. 

– Nancy Cimprich, EPC World Outreach Church Engagement Coordinator

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

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Support the GROW Center here. Otherwise click the SUPPORT button for the WO worker support landing page.

Sign up for the Conference

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Join a Mission Cohort! | the Reach April 2024

Dear Friends,

Have you ever been curious if global, long-term missions is something God is calling you to but don’t know where to start? Every fall the EPC launches a Mission Cohort, a year-long program where college-age young adults meet over Zoom for interaction with like-minded peers, missionaries on the field, and EPC World Outreach mobilizers. This cohort has been valuable for many students, but not everyone has a linear journey to missions. Whether you have felt the call to missions your entire life, you find the idea new and intriguing, or you simply want the opportunity to explore, the Mission Cohort is a great place to start.

I first discovered the EPC World Outreach Mission Cohort for college students on a dreary day in December of my freshman year. This was a space for college students seeking guidance and community as they explored a calling or interest in missions. Missions wasn’t a new idea for me. I’d felt a soft tug towards missions on my heart all throughout my childhood. But as I left for college, it was all but a backup plan in case the rest of my life didn’t work out. By the time I was chowing down on my lunch as my friend rattled on about this “special club” she was in, missions wasn’t even a speck on the horizon of my great plan for myself.

I’d had a wonderful semester that year—I had all A’s, was climbing the departmental ladder for my major in archaeology, and could see myself becoming a renowned author, a savvy businesswoman, a daring archaeologist, or an adventuring world traveler. I could see myself doing anything and everything— everything except missions.

Even as I sat at a cafe table and listened to my now best friend tell me about the Mission Cohort she had joined, my mind fixed, not on the purpose of the cohort, but on the opportunity to travel and check another box off my list of successful life necessities. She was getting to travel to the Middle East that year, a dream of mine. I immediately told her to hook me up with “this cohort thing.” I wanted to get off this darn continent!

Thankfully she did, because though my heart was anywhere but the right place, God has changed and saved my life and faith through this beautiful group of people. The following semester, after seeing the many pictures she and her cohort returned with, I belatedly joined Mission Cohort 3 (MC3). We met monthly over Zoom with kids my age from all over the country. We prayed together, studied a book together, and met and interviewed EPC missionaries with all sorts of backstories and advice.

If you asked the other members of MC3, they would tell you that I was quiet, disinterested, and never caught up on our book readings. That spring semester of my freshman year, I returned to school ready to thrive as I had that past fall. Over that semester, however, I began to slow down, mentally, physically, and even academically. Sleep became sparse, my mind felt scrambled and blurry, and my motivation to do anything plummeted. I stopped going to church, I couldn’t feel God, and I didn’t want him. I began to hate myself. To hate my existence, my personality, and my body. I wanted to die, to be released to the heaven that I knew was better than this.

Throughout it all, we had our cohort meetings. Month after month. Zoom after Zoom. The cohort had no idea of the darkness clouding my mind, but they gathered around me anyway and prayed with me. Together we walked through God’s word and heard story after story about his steadfast faithfulness. When I was too broken and weak to make it to church or to look to God, this beautiful community brought the Church to me. They showed me the mercy and love of God each month through a screen full of prayer, laughter, and hope.

That summer, I was diagnosed with Severe Clinical Depression, a disease of the mind in which your own thoughts lie and hiss in your ear, wreaking havoc and destruction on your life and soul. Yet the beautiful thing is that winter, as I stood with my cohort in person at the Urbana conference in Indianapolis, I looked around at the faces I’d once only known in 2D that past year and saw that in that dark valley of death and hopelessness, where I’d refused to look for God and cursed his absence, he’d never let go of me. He’d surrounded me with his image, his people to hold my hand and bring me home to him. In my pride and surety of my life plans, he’d reminded me that my life is not my own, that I am not alone, and that he’d never been that far away. When I’d thought I’d had my life all figured out, he gently reminded me what life is like without him and broke through my stubborn heart to open my eyes to his wondrous glory, his redeeming grace, and abounding mercy.

I’ve since not only started attending church again but also entered part-time ministry while I finish school and pursue long-term missions. I have had the blessing and pleasure to watch as four of my fellow cohort members prepare to be commissioned as long-term missionaries. I did get to travel with the cohort at last, though not to the Middle East, and with a much more humble and grateful heart and all the greater experience for it.

As a cohort alumna, I am forever grateful and indebted to my experience with this community. Mission Cohorts, whether you join to learn how to become a missionary, how to support missionaries, or even for the selfish purpose of getting a plane ticket, will always be a community of disciples walking alongside disciples, through the tough crossroads of college and on to eternity.

– E. A., MC3 Alumna

E’s experience with the cohort was unique and full of challenges, but God used it powerfully in her life, both for her own healing and for solidifying her call to missions. Sometimes our ministry results turn out differently than we expect. But in our obedience to what God calls us to, he uses our ministry for his purposes. We are called to serve faithfully and entrust the long-term impact to him.

Want to see what it is all about?

EPC World Outreach will kick off Mission Cohort Six (MC6) on August 19, 2024! Now is the time for college-age to sign up and start getting connected with our cohort leadership team. Whether you hope to be a missionary going to the field one day or simply want to be engaged in missions from the U.S., the invitation is open! Students will go through discipleship materials and have in-person experiences including attending a missions conference over the winter and a mission trip during the following summer. Anyone that’s interested can go to and fill out the cohort form, or contact Saul Huber at or 217-851-4670.

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

Pray for WO Workers

Join the EPC World Outreach Prayer Network to care for our workers through intercession. To join the network, click here.

Support WO Workers

Click the SUPPORT button for the WO worker support landing page.

Partner with a Mission Cohort

Learn more, apply, and get connected with Saul Huber here.

The Power of Experience | the Reach March 2024

Dear Friends,

Since January 2023, Brad Buescher has filled the role of WO Director of Strategic Trips. Two of World Outreach’s strategic priorities are Partnership & Sending and Church Engagement. The first refers to cultivating partnerships with national churches and other agencies for the purpose of reaching those with the least access to the gospel. Church Engagement is our goal of bringing 100% of EPC churches into the work of reaching the least-reached. Brad’s role plays beautifully into these two priorities.

So, what are strategic trips and how did Brad find himself in this role?

Where to begin?

Kansas City? Pasadena, California? Frankfort, Indiana?

Mexico? Haiti? North Macedonia? Uzbekistan? Saudi Arabia? Bangladesh?

How about Paola, Kansas – a town of about 6,000 people– a half hour south of Kansas City, where I was working as an associate pastor with an emphasis on missions, taking several groups of men from our church to fix wells in Haiti, and most of all, serving on the EPC World Outreach Committee, which oversees our denomination’s mission work across this massive planet.

I think this was the place of convergence for God’s clarion call on my life: to accompany leaders to see and experience least access people groups in hard places. Then, to share our experiences for the purpose of bringing the church to these peoples. That is the aim of strategic trips.

A few terms to clarify:

  • Leaders: This doesn’t refer only to pastors or elders. If you have any sphere of influence and want to share with others what you’ve learned on a trip, this is for you.
  • People group: Any group of people who call us, us, and them, them; technical definition
  • Hard places: Well, you can probably imagine, but if not, join me on a trip to see for yourself.
  • Least access: You can imagine this: think about every social network you belong to, your family network – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.— neighborhood network, vocational network, various friend groups, past and present, and so on. Now, what if, out of every single one of those social networks, there was not one single person who had any knowledge of this Jesus we talk about? Not only had they not believed in his message, they had no idea that Jesus and his message even existed. That is least access.

As I prayed about God’s next call on my life after serving as a pastor, he gave me the idea of exposing our church leaders to cross-cultural workers who were serving Jesus in the 10/40 Window. My reasoning was that although some people might want to go see this kind of work, not many of us are going to simply decide one day to just do it, but they might if a leader invited them. That’s where I come in. So far, 19 people have now come with me to seven different countries in my first 15 months on the job.

I get excited as these leaders experience light-bulb moments; we talk about who and what we are seeing, and then how to pass along what we have seen and heard in a way that people back home can understand both what God is doing among these people groups, and the overwhelming reality of what still needs to be done.

Example of Good Results: Each of my teammates on our 2023 trip to Saudi Arabia have spoken to various groups and churches. The results have been encouraging—new prayer and financial support for Egyptian workers on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, a business connection to enable cross-cultural workers to gain long-term visas in this isolated country, and growing support for several ministries which train cross-cultural workers to live, work, and share Christ in this MENA region (Middle East North Africa).

The people who have come with range in age from 22 to 70; entrepreneurs, truck drivers, pastors, etc.; mostly well-traveled, but a few greenhorns; introverts and extroverts and in-between-troverts (a fairly accurate description of me); Type A’s and Type B’s. I suppose you could say they’re all over the map.

Bottom Line: If you are seeking God, have a heart for the nations, and are willing to share what you experience, let’s talk. The Lord may want you to come and see.

Places we are considering in 2024 & 2025:

  • Kyrgyzstan: Special Needs Camp: Summer 2024
  • Indonesia: Sea Cucumber Farm: Fall 2024
  • India / Turkmenistan: 2025
  • Pakistan: 2025
  • Tunisia: 2025

Yep. Hard places. God may want you there too.
Come and See. Then Go and Tell.

Interested? Contact Brad Buescher for more information.
Phone: 913.271.2140

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

Pray for WO Workers

Join the EPC World Outreach Prayer Network to care for our workers through intercession. To join the network, click here.

Support WO Workers

Click the SUPPORT button for the WO worker support landing page.

Partner with WO

There are many ways you can partner with World Outreach! Learn more by clicking here.