Posted by Tim on 25th March 2013
One of the ongoing challenges for mission workers is the need to ensure spiritual input. One of the major reasons for burnout is that we continually give out at a faster rate than we take in. So we need to make sure we have ample access to good quality teaching.
There is an extent to which, due to isolation or security needs, some mission workers can’t meet together easily for Bible study, and the local churches in which we minister are not always geared to meeting our needs. But the internet makes good resources much more accessible than the days when our churches used to post us cassettes of the sermons. One such benefit is the podcast, which can vary in length from five minutes to over an hour, and is an easily accessible resource that can be used in a variety of contexts: while setting aside time for study, or travelling, jogging – even on a flight.
Many churches now put their sermons out as podcasts, and even if the quality is not always consistent, it does have the benefit of keeping you in touch with what’s going on in your sending church. But you can get them from other churches as well. You might like to try, for example, Holy Trinity Brompton, Mars Hill, Gold Hill Baptist Church, Saddleback Church, St Helen’s Bishopsgate, or Willow Creek.
Some famous speakers podcast regularly, sometimes even daily, though the quality of these can be variable. Try out Mark Driscoll, Joyce Meyer, N T Wright, Max Lucado, David Pawson or (from beyond the grave!) Derek Prince. Even classics such as My Utmost for his Highest and The Practice of the Presence of God are available as a podcast.
Other organisations such as the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable programme and Christianity magazine also have regular and thought-provoking podcasts, and Member Care Media, which we have highlighted before, issues daily podcasts aimed specifically at the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of overseas mission workers.
Individual podcasts can be downloaded from the website appropriate to your preferred church or speaker (as linked above), but it’s a lot easier to subscribe to them through iTunes, or go to One Place, a Christian resource for bringing lots of Christian teaching resources together online. You can download podcasts to your computer or phone, and though for some people download speeds at home are often a challenge, you can get round this by going to an internet café or office where they may have a better service. If you’re in a country where you need to think about security, make sure you regularly alternate between different cafés.
There are of course many more online resources such as Bibles, commentaries and guides, sermon resources, audio books and devotionals, and Oscar has a full list of these.