« Previous   |   Main   |   Next »

Donut Dough and Kingdom Building

By Joe Showalter, RMM president

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” (Matthew 13:33, NLT)

We discussed these words of Jesus yesterday at our house church gathering while we waited for donut dough to rise. We had decided to make donuts as an intergenerational activity that would also produce some tasty holiday gifts for friends and neighbors. So after watching a couple of video clips about the science of yeast and sourdough, we discussed the implications of what Jesus had to say about yeast.

Someone noted that in order for yeast to do what we want it to do, it has to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. It doesn’t take much yeast to make a huge impact, but it does have to be mixed in. We figured that the yeast in our donut dough represented about 1/50th of the amount of flour we’d used.

Someone else noted that this parable seems to suggest that if there are places in the world where we can’t see the positive effects of the presence of those who follow Jesus, it means we haven’t permeated every part of the dough very effectively.

That’s why RMM continues to make it a priority to go to those places where the signs of the Kingdom are still few. The yeast has to be thoroughly mixed into the dough in order to do its work. Toward that end, we’ve recently expanded our sending models, praying that in our generation we’ll see the Kingdom thoroughly permeate every part of the dough.

By now, many of you have heard of RMM’s “Operation Birthright” initiative. Operation Birthright was conceived as a means to strengthen RMM’s ability to serve the churches of CMC. We came to understand that we had become somewhat disconnected from the body of churches that own us.

Through Operation Birthright, we created a forum for conversations with congregations. We’ve been talking about the disconnect that many of us have felt, and looking for ways that RMM can be more helpful to churches than we have in the past. Our dream is to help every CMC congregation become fully engaged in local and global kingdom building.

One of the changes that has come as a result of these conversations is the creation of two new sending categories for long-term (1+ years) workers. For a number of years, we’ve been operating with two basic categories. We have traditional workers who are typically sent to our ministry sites for three-year terms. And we have interns who are usually sent for a 1-2 year “apprentice” assignment.

The following factors led us to create the new sending categories:

  • Our desire to simplify missions
  • Our desire to make tent making common
  • Our desire to keep workers on the field long term
  • Our desire to offer more services and options to the CMC churches we serve
  • Our desire to keep taking the gospel to some of the most difficult regions
  • The desire of local churches to be more deeply involved in sending and supporting workers on the field
  • The reality that local churches will sometimes want us to help them in sending people on assignments that are not at the heart of our vision and focus
  • The desire of the rising generation to do missions from an “everyday life in the marketplace” platform more than from a “missionary” platform

Let me introduce you to the new categories of covenant worker and associated worker.

Covenant Worker

Covenant workers are people who, for a variety of reasons, are not employed by RMM but are involved directly in one of RMM’s locations and/or RMM’s priorities of ministry. In some cases there may be some financial support involved—such as providing for ministry or travel expenses, health insurance, or retirement benefits—but the worker’s primary financial support will come from outside the RMM budget.

Anna* has been recently appointed as a covenant worker. Anna is employed by International Community School in Bangkok, Thailand. Both Anna and our team in Bangkok believe it will be mutually beneficial to work together. She has sufficient income from her teaching job to support her, but she is entering into a covenant with the Thailand team that will make her a full member of the team. Like other workers, she will have a Missionary Support Team (MST) and we’ll work with her church (London Christian Fellowship) to make sure she has prayer and other kinds of support that she needs. We’ve created a Memo of Understanding (MOU) to guide the relationship and keep it strong.

Click here for a full introduction of Anna.

Associated Worker

The associated worker is from a CMC church but is working in a location or ministry that lies outside of RMM’s ministry focus. The worker’s local church agrees to take primary responsibility for the worker in terms of support and accountability, including the creation of an MST. These appointments also include a customized MOU between the worker, the CMC church, and RMM.

Liz* is a newly appointed associated worker. Liz is on an assignment with VidaNet in Costa Rica and needed a North American sending body. Her church, Agape Community Fellowship of Hilliard (OH), wanted to make it possible for her to serve. So we drafted an MOU to help us all know who is responsible for what, and Agape and RMM are working together to send Liz to minister in Latin America.

We believe that these new categories will help us be a better resource to more churches and individuals. We look forward to watching how God makes the dough rise around the world as we keep on inviting the nations to worship Jesus.

Read a recent update from Liz here.

More about Yeast (Moving to the City)

These days the Rosedale International Center is filled with the sounds of workmen renovating the last major area of the building. A year ago the RMM board, with the blessing of the CMC Executive Board, made the decision to proceed with moving our headquarters the 35 miles from Rosedale to the RIC in Columbus. We are now projecting that the move will take place near the first of March 2015.

Moving our headquarters to the city is one more way for RMM to “permeate the dough.” Many of the world’s nations are represented in Columbus’ population, including many of the nations where we can’t see much evidence of the yeast of the Kingdom. We have the opportunity to impact entire nations by making new friends in Columbus.

The youth of our nation (and the youth of CMC) are moving to our cities in greater and greater numbers. We want to be there to help shape their worldviews and enable them to experience the blessings of the Kingdom.

The city is home to the majority of both the poor and the rich in our society—and both groups desperately need the transformation that the Kingdom brings.

As we live and work in communities where these groups of people live and work, we will bring the Kingdom with us. We already have many stories of the Kingdom coming over the years through REACH and City Challenge. We look forward to living more of these stories in the years ahead.

A little yeast will leaven the whole lump of dough. Please pray for us as we make this transition.

For a lengthier explanation of the rationale for this move, see “RMM in the City.”

*Last names removed for security