Leadership and Vision

Vision, leader(ship), and goals are words often used to identify or describe Christian organizations.

 In the case of Mandate, to make this personal, vision is the expectation, shared by the entire team, of what we think God wants us to accomplish.

 The leader is someone God brings to team who can share the vision, help the entire team accept it as their own, and guide them towards making the vision a reality.

 Since vision is sometimes a fuzzy concept, the goals are specific, measurable outcomes which lead to the realization of the vision.

Wow, that sounds a bit dry and academic. Sorry about that. But keep on reading.

Over Mandate’s 20+ years, God has provided three leaders to take the position of Executive Director. I’m not going to name names here, but do want to highlight the leadership roles of these three.

The founder of Mandate was a man with a lifetime of cross-cultural experience. He was able to foresee the necessary changes in missionary methods needed to bring the message of Christ into areas where traditional missions could not go. With the help of others who could catch his vision, he was able to build a new type of organization around our first written vision statement.

To lead mission agencies and churches worldwide in partnership to place their people in key locations in order to reach the least-reached people of the world according to the Great Commission by providing to provide highly qualified personnel to serve in the areas of health, education, enterprise development, appropriate technology and economic development.

 Through his decade of leadership, this pioneer established Mandate and led workers into India and Nepal. In the process, he helped other agencies and churches unselfishly pool their personnel and resources to effectively pursue both vision and goals. His final leadership role was setting the example for an orderly leadership transition, which brought in . . .

The man who became Mandate’s second Executive Director was hooked by an e-mail which began, “We’ve been waiting for you.” This man also had many years of missionary experience, including establishing churches among unreached tribal groups and home office administrative and leadership roles. He fully embraced the vision and Mandate model and helped streamline the purpose statement.

We are working to grow God’s kingdom among the least reached peoples of the world through the relationships and proactive witness of development-oriented Christian professionals. 

And, in an even more succinct purpose statement:

Serve the people, build His Church.

During his leadership, Mandate moved from the two original countries of service into Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar.

Over the past three years, Mandate had developed and carried out a plan to bring in a new leader in 2019. This led to a newest Executive Director being appointed by the Board of Directors earlier this month. Younger than those who’ve gone before her, with both organizational and cross-cultural experience, she is poised to expand Mandate’s draw in the U.S. and outreach overseas. She and the entire Mandate organization believe that God has called and gifted her to lead us into the next decade and beyond.

Our new Executive Director will take this page next week to share more about herself and express some of her goals for the future. Having heard these goals directly from her, I know you’ll be thrilled to read them here. So, please come back next Friday, March 29, and help us look into the future.

Our history is "His Story"

History is often very obviously “His Story.” And Mandate is part of that greater story. Let’s take a minute together for a quick tour.

 Mandate was founded over two decades ago on the back side of the wave which was the unreached peoples movement. Church and missions had realized that thousands of groups of people around the world, defined by geography, language, ethnicity, or religious identity had never had a valid opportunity to hear the gospel. Oh, yes, they might have heard the Christian message, but not in a way they could understand or respond to.

 To make it worse, most of those people groups lived in areas where traditional Christian missions could not openly go.

 The question was, how do we think outside the mission box to find ethical and legal ways to get the gospel to those who had been so neglected?

 In response, the men and women who brought Mandate into being pictured an organization which would openly send development professionals to these areas. Those being sent would be qualified in professions such as agriculture, medicine, and education. They would have academic credentials as well as experience. They would be placed in contractual employment positions. They would also be committed followers of Jesus Christ. As such, these workers were expected to find overt opportunities to share their faith with those around them.

 They expressed their vision and goals like this: “To work in partnership [and] place people in key locations in order to reach the least-reached people of the world according to the Great Commission, and to provide highly qualified personnel to serve in the areas of health, education, enterprise development, appropriate technology and economic development.”

 More interested in doing good and sharing their faith than in reproducing their own organization, Mandate did not incorporate themselves inside their target areas, but established working partnerships with like-minded national NGOs already there.

 Within a very short time, workers sent by Mandate were in place in Nepal, India, and Vietnam. We had farmers in Nepal, homeless ministries in India, even English teachers actually working for the central government in Vietnam.

 Twenty-some years ago, these ideas were on the cutting edge of new missionary strategy.

 But were these ideas new? Although the workers on-the-ground in Nepal at the time did not realize it, this was exactly what God had been doing through them in that country for decades. As noted by a Nepali pastor, “The . . . missionaries who came from foreign [countries] were located within camp doing just social works and they were not allowed to go out. But they were able to send the native missionaries who were trained by them, to go to the village and establish the Churches. . . . Until 1960, there were only four Churches in four different places with 100 believers. In 1970, the numbers of Christian increased to 2,000, and in 1980 it was 20,000. In 1990 . . . the number of the Christian was estimated at 100,000. By the end of 2001, there were over 500,000 Christians and 500 Churches in the country.” A recent report declares there are now 2.5 million Christian believers in this country. Get that? From 100 to 2,500,000 in 50 years! What God has done in one country he can do again and again.

 After twenty years, we can still say, being part of God’s work, following God’s pattern for today, is what Mandate is all about.

 Oh, there is definitely more to Mandate’s story. To know more about Mandate, including our most recent expansion, please browse through our website at

The Shepherds' Example

‘Tis the season for nativity scenes.

Front and center in most is a group of shepherds. The story of the shepherds who came to see Jesus after His birth is as universal and almost as central to our Christmas story as Jesus Himself. I’m sure you remember, but let’s go to the source in Luke 2:8-18.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

If someone asked you to outline the main points of this story, how would you respond?

You would note the angels, both the individual spokesangel and the great company. You might mention “peace on earth,” as this is a common Christmas theme. And, of course, the shepherds went to Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.

All of that is good, but the best part of the story happens after they find the baby. Many would consider going home after that as very anti-climactic. Not so for those men.

After they left Jesus “they spread the word.” They didn’t have much factual information. They had been told He was the Savior and Christ. This they could understand. They had seen him with their own eyes. With this part of the angel’s testimony corroborated, they had confidence his other words were also true -- this was indeed “good news of great joy . . . for all the people.”

Today we call people like this witnesses. They see, hear, and/or experience something, then tell others.

If you are celebrating Christmas as more than a season or civil holiday, you are probably among those described by the adult Jesus with the words “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Jon 20:29), and by Peter “though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8).

If so, we are witnesses in a way the shepherds could not have imagined. We have not seen the baby in the manger, but we have received His grace, His salvation, and are living now by His power.

Let’s then follow the example of the shepherds and spread the word about what we have experienced so that many may do more than just marvel, but trust, believe, and follow.

Pray for Nepal

This week's prayer comes to us from Ms Shanti Lama, a citizen and resident of the Asia country of Nepal. Nepal, best known as the home of Mt. Everest, has a long-standing Hindu identity. Over the past several decades, the church has grown to be a significant minority within this small nation. In the following prayer, you can feel Ms Lama's love for both God and her country, and the church within her country.

If you would like to know more about this beautiful country, we recommend you follow this link to Operation World's overview of Nepal.

Most who read this will not be Nepali. Nevertheless, please take time to join Shanti in prayer through this coming week by reading the prayer aloud as your own. 

Dear God,

I thank you that I get to be a citizen of Nepal. You have blessed this country with so many good things.  Thank you for all the natural beauties: all the mountains, rivers, animals, and of course! the beautiful people. You are wonderful and creative. Thank you for creating us in your own image and you love all your sons and daughters. As John 3:16 says, You sent your one and only son Jesus Christ so everyone who believes in Him have eternal life. I know that you want all your children to have eternal life in you. Thank you Lord that you love the people of Nepal and you want us all to receive the gift of life.

God, I pray against the power of darkness that prevails in this place because of the presence of false gods and idol worshiping. Lord, you have the power to break every chain and set your people free. I pray against the chain of poverty, pride, greed, corruption in this nation. Lord, I pray that you would soften up people’s hearts and open their eyes so they see and come to an understanding of your Love. I pray for the political leaders of this nation. I know that they are appointed by you and only you can change their hearts and minds. I pray that you would put love and care in their hearts for the citizens so they work for the interest of the citizens rather than their own selfish desires.

I want to lift up your church, your bride of this country. Lord, I pray that we would rise up and take stand for truth. I pray that our hearts would be full of passion for you and your work. Please give us hunger and thirst for you. Help us to be good citizens and work for the best interest of our nation and expand your Kingdom in the process. Thank you for being so kind and gracious. As your word says in Mark 16:17, signs and wonders would follow us as we believe in you so that the people around us can see your power and your greatness through our works.

May you be lifted up in this place; May your will be done in this place as it is in heaven, and May you be glorified through everything. I believe and expect great things for this nation through your power. I pray in Jesus name


Pure, unabashed advertising . . .

We don’t do this often, so I have to make the best of it today. This post is pure, unabashed advertising. Advertising, as in we need Christian workers to fill a variety of positions in South and Southeast Asia.

You’ll remember that Mandate helps send Christian professionals to places where traditional missionaries cannot go. Our workers enter these areas in full-time, legitimate employment which benefits their overseas community. While there, we expect our workers to be as overt as possible in their Christian witness, given their specific situation, seeking to introduce others to Christ and to establish/strengthen His church.

So saying, you (or someone you know) may be the person to fill one of the following needs and so become God’s light in a dark place. Please consider the following personnel needs:

·       TESOL teachers needed in Vietnam

·       Medical workers needed in India and Nepal

·       Primary and secondary school teachers needed in India and Nepal

·       Farm managers needed in Laos

·       Agricultural specialists/teachers needed in Laos

·       Spanish teachers needed in India

·       Counselors needed for human trafficking victims in India

·       Occupational instructors needed for human trafficking victims in India

·       Social workers needed for women’s issues in India

·       Family counselors needed to fight human trafficking in India

·       TESOL teachers needed in Nepal

·       Agricultural specialists/teachers needed in India

·       Small business entrepreneurs needed in India

If you are interested, please contact Mandate. If you know of others who might be interested in this type of service, let them know about this, too.

If you are part of a church, church fellowship group, college fellowship, or similar group, you might consider asking a Mandate representative to visit your location and personally share stories of what God is doing and what still needs to be done for Him in Asia. Again, you can contact Mandate to extend an invitation.