“When can I go to Africa on an ALARM trip?”
On a weekly basis, someone at Watermark asks me this question. Usually this comes from folks who see the Africa exhibit outside the worship center or read a story about Watermark’s efforts in Central Africa with ALARM or hear about Africa from a friend who has been there with the church. In fact, we have two groups in Central Africa with ALARM this week! (In case you’re unfamiliar, ALARM is African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries, our partner in several Central African countries.)
My response to the question is a little longer and a lot more detailed than most folks expect. But given the high value we place on our partnership with ALARM and the high expectations we place on folks who go, there is no short answer to the question.
So, how do you get to go to Africa on an ALARM trip? It starts right here at home, because these trips are not “mission trips” in the traditional sense. As with all our trips overseas, we call them “Discipleship Trips” because a trip itself is the culmination of months of preparation with other team members under the leadership of trusted and trained team leaders. Our goal is a not a “vacation with a purpose,” but an overseas opportunity to disciple and develop future Watermark leaders. (See more on that approach in our earlier post.)
Strategic Training for Watermark Leaders
Our ALARM trips specifically are among our most strategic leadership training opportunities (even more than our other Discipleship Trips, to Haiti and Ethiopia). Because of that, invitations are reserved for individuals who are nominated by Watermark’s ministry staff, lay leaders, and elders. Those folks will have three basic things in common:
- They are an active Watermark member
- They are in a healthy and active Watermark Community Group
- They are a lay leader in a Watermark ministry or with an external ministry partner, OR they have some leadership responsibilities and are viewed as a future leader because of their faithful service at this time and potential for leadership in the years ahead.
So how do I go to Africa?
Your journey to Africa starts here in Dallas. Be faithful to serve and lead wherever God has you at Watermark right now. Seek out opportunities to lead in your area of ministry. Let the staff and lay leaders you serve under know that you’d like to be part of our partnership with ALARM in the future.
And learn God’s word and apply it to your life on a daily basis, because that is what we teach in Africa (and here!) more than anything else.