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How to set TI
HOW TO SET UP AS A TI REPRESENTATIVE
During the years the following ways have developed –
You join TI as an affiliate by paying the annual membership fee and registering your interest with the TI office in Seattle.
You may have attended a TI Conference and there expressed your willingness to be a National representative.
A member of the TI Leadership may have approached you and asked you to consider appointment.
You are a staff member of an existing Mission that has decided to include membership of TI in its outreach.
You then either approach TI, or TI approaches you, with the request that you represent TI in your Country. TI then makes a formal appointment. (Many of the existing TI representatives, or their organisations, have been “life members” from the beginning and their ministry as TI National Representatives thus accepted)
A Representative may be an interested individual but many are already involved in tentmaking ministries as staff of Christian Missions. Some are leaders of Missions or Great Commission Companies that they have helped set up. All share the same goal as TI – that of promoting tentmaking as a strategy of mission – and act as the link person between TI/HQ in Seattle, the TIE Regional Director, and the Country in which he/she operates.
It is important to recognise that the beginning is by becoming the TI contact person. Methods of operating vary between National representatives, but should contain some or all of the following: -
Initiatives in promotion and recruiting.
Advice and counsel to Christians feeling God’s call to include tentmaking in their secular careers as they travel, work and live in other cultures. (Knowing where to get advice and information means studying the materials available on the growing number of tentmaker websites)
Knowledge of the training resources available, including – working in another culture, language studies, the needs of family life, political information and local laws relating to evangelism.
Communication with the worldwide family of TI representatives and Tentmaker Information Exchanges.
Advice on job opportunities.
Together we are seeking to develop a tentmaker ministry in your Country, with you as our contact person. We would then move slowly to establish something appropriate and possible for you.
OPERATING AN INFORMATION EXCHANGE
You need a separate office, possibly part of the administration of the supporting organisation or business, or a room in a private home. Equipment should include a computer, filing cabinet and normal office stationery. However remember that most of your information can be stored on your computer. Most communication is by e-mail and via websites.
TI has no central funds to operate, other than membership fees. Its National Representatives are honorary, or staff members of a mission that funds the appointment as a part of that member’s brief. In some cases individuals have created Trust Funds to maintain their ministry and operated the costs via gift income. The appointment is very suitable for a retired executive with the skills required to give advice, counsel and encouragement. It is important to ensure that the Christian Public understands that TI is a mission support agency, not a Humanitarian Relief Agency.
Please take note of the following –
There must be a build up of information and contacts that are clearly necessary to give effective help to potential tentmakers. These contacts will include missionary societies and churches and many VIP Missionary Individuals.
Promotion is very important. The TI Rep should alert churches to tentmaking mission, encourage the commissioning of church members going overseas to work, produce posters and leaflets for church notice boards, set up prayer groups, and even appoint local representatives throughout the Country. If possible write articles for National Church Newspapers, and local Church magazines.
Promotion leads to recruiting and there will be a growing responsibility to give guidance and advice, suggest training and counsel potential tentmakers on the best use of their secular skills. Through the tentmaker network job opportunities may also become evident.
There is much literature on tentmaking available today so we advise the development of a library of reference books.
Never lose sight of the fact that God calls all of His children to witness to their faith and take a part in fulfilling the Great Commission to go into ALL THE WORLD and make DISCIPLES of ALL NATIONS …..
HOW TI HAS BEEN SET UP IN NORWAY
In Norway TI is represented by an organisation named TENT, which means “flame” or “on fire”. The present Director, Steinar Opheim, underlines the need to know this is a call of God, and to be connected with existing tentmaker ministries. TI Norway grew out of the Lutheran Church missions department. In planning the development of TENT Steinar says they had (1) a vision statement (2) a plan and (3) a Constitution, or laws. In November 2000 TENT became a limited company with share holders. It is staffed by one man and a number of voluntary helpers. In 2003 they were given an old house to develop as their HQ and as a small conference centre. Norway sends out more missionaries per head of its population than any other Country in the world.
Steinar suggests the following starting points: -
Study tentmaking on the various and numerous web pages.
Especially read on web the book – “Working your way to the Nations” and the book “Your Work matters to God”.
Many Norwegian tentmakers are now working in the Middle East and in Africa – currently Norway is assisting in the development of TI in Mali, Northern Africa.
HOW TI WAS SET UP IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Roger Wells is Director of TASK, the United Kingdom’s expression of TI. TASK developed out of the research done by the Pickenham Trust at the request of the Revd Stanley Davies of the EMA (now known as Global Connections). The PT had been involved in the history of the tentmaker movement from its outset and was amongst the first to set up a National TI Information Exchange. Roger’s own background was on the staff of the British Foreign Office, with experience in Afghanistan and Turkey. In 1992 he became director of the Pickenham TI, which he later moved to his home nearby and renamed TASK. The letters T.A.S.K. explain how he operates the UK tentmaker base –
Training – which means sessions on:
working overseas: special requirements for a tentmaker
cross-cultural communications: adjustment and culture
stress: political and practical issues: how to survive!
Advice - and counsel is offered on opportunity areas for service.
Service – skills are important and so is experience. Christians can
serve Christ best through professionalism, high quality
workmanship and example. Also by training others.
Kingdom – (God’s Kingdom) needs those who will GO.
HOW TI WAS SET UP IN CANADA
Canadian Tentmaker Network (CTN) had its beginning as Canadian Tentmaker Seminars, shortly after the Lausanne Congress in 1989. Dave Ibsen of the Christian Missionary Alliance gathered around himself a few other mission leaders who had attended the tentmaker “track” at Lausanne, and began holding annual seminars on tentmaking in the Toronto area. These were intended to inform people of the Biblical basis and practical application of tentmaker principles in mission.
The need to expand nationwide was soon evident, and having but limited financial resources they hit upon the only way to achieve this. They set up a national organisation that met only through the internet, e-mails and telephone. However people still need to meet face to face to learn and grow spiritually, so they established CTN committees in each urban centre across Canada which plan and run annual tentmaker conferences. From 1993 CTN has been the TI Information Exchange for Canada.
In order to begin operating they needed access to a computer. Later they added a website. Public meetings were in borrowed facilities, and likewise they were able to make use of overhead projectors, video equipment and other equipment. CTN promotes tentmaking through its website www.tentmaking.org and through the distribution of a booklet called “Tentmaking FAQ’s”.CTN operated out of the “back pocket” of the mission agency Interserve.
THE CONTRIBUTION OF TI INDIA
TENTMAKERS IN FRENCH SPEAKING COUNTRIES
ISRAEL EXPLAINS THE “CHAIN OF COMMAND”
Whilst TI is not based upon the concept of “line management” it will be helpful to understand how a TI region, such as Europe, can operate through National Representatives who are inter-dependent and in active fellowship with one another.
The key sentence for the NR is “I may not know the answer but I know someone who does” This is why it is so necessary for the NR to study the TI websites, know what is available and become acquainted with other NRs. There is a great variety in the way individual NRs, and the Information Exchanges, operate. The main areas of communication required are with regard to –
TI Regional Director (TRD) – Europe: Derek Green
Training – TIE Communications – Business – Recruiting/Mobilizing each TI/NR needs to operate using the categories listed above
Norway - Norway majors on training
Denmark Denmark reaches out to students
UK - wwwTENTMAKERNET.com the operational plan is that each Country has a page on this website set up by the NR via Ari Rocklin each NR can consult via the website pages and see what advice and information is available
Germany, France, Spain, Estonia, Poland, Hungary
Bulgaria Bulgaria is an example of how TI
Croatia is becoming a department of EA
Serbia Serbia begins its tentmaker
Macedonia programme with a training college
and there are non European TIE NRs linked to Europe for oversight pending appointments of further Regional Directors
Israel Israel has offered to help set up a Middle East Region
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan is an example of business initiative
Nigeria These Central African States may well form
Ghana the basis of a TIE African Region
Mali and Togo Yes in 2006 there are 29 African States involved
Together we are assembling the largest missionary force in history
AN EXAMPLE FROM AFRICA
An unexpected “spin-off” from the TIE European Consultation was a request from the Revd Tiowa Diarra of PARTNERS IN MISSION in Mali to read a copy of the Report. Having read it he felt God calling him to offer to be TI Representative in Mali. He wrote –
“We have more than 10 million of population in Mali. Christians are less than 2% in this Country. The harvest is great. Traditional mission strategy cannot further the gospel among the numerous un-reached people here. But, the Lord gave opportunity to train native African doctors, nurses, teachers, and soldiers in tentmaking. They are sent to their normal duties as government workers in remote areas to tiny communities”.
The TI leadership decided to appoint Tiowa, and asked TIE Europe to monitor developments. Tiowa then added – We can train them in hundreds in French Africa, from Mauritania to Benin, and from Senegal to Gabon”. Besides his native language Tiowa speaks both French and English, so can obviously liase as necessary with the Mission Language School in France, which has already trained over 3000. (See Point 5 in the plan set out below)
With remarkable enthusiasm Tiowa has submitted a three year plan for developing a Tentmaker Information Exchange for Mali. The reason for including this in GUIDELINES is as an example of one way a new TI/NR could begin operating –
Build up a base of tentmakers and tentmaking operations in and out of Mali (2004)
Mobilize Church Leaders and members to support the Mali National Tentmaker Movement (2005)
Achieve a national survey of potential tentmakers on the nine regions of Mali. Designing a survey form and recruit people to assist with the survey. (2005)
Select the most un-reached people and most strategic places in Mali. (2005)
Network the appointment of foreign tentmakers in western and northern Africa (2006)
Plan an International forum on tentmaking in Africa. (2007)
with Christ every stumbling-block becomes a stepping-stone and every difficulty an opportunity.
USING THE TENTMAKER WEBSITES
Ari Rocklin sets up TENTMAKERNET
www.tentmakernet.com is an extension to the years of hard work by Canon Derek Green of the Pickenham Trust UK. It was first announced at the founding of TENT in Norway in 2000 AD. In association with TI Europe TENTMAKERNET has the following objectives –
*To help TIE find national representatives in Europe and worldwide
*To assist them in developing a tentmaker missions strategy appropriate for their nation.
*To help get the national churches onboard for tentmaker missions
*To assist TI in organising annual conferences and training seminars hosted in turn by various member nations.
*Together to train and send “labourers into the harvest” especially to locations where traditional missionaries are not permitted to go.
OPERATING TENTMAKERNET – what you need to do –
PRAYING FOR ONE ANOTHER
“This is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”1John 5:14.
Clearly it is His will that we GO to ALL NATIONS, and this can best be achieved if TI Representatives join together in prayer for one another, and communicate details of their ministry by e-mail.