Concordia's Impact on the Mission of Christ Network
Mission of Christ Network (MCN) has been impacted by Concordia University, Nebraska for many years. Graduates who want to pursue mission work after college commonly join MCN. The Executive Director of MCN, Rev. Dr. John Mehl, is also an adjunct professor at Concordia University, Nebraska. He teaches mission classes on campus for the university.
“The culture of Concordia promotes missional service,” said Mehl. “This impacts MCN, but also other mission agencies including Lutheran Bible Translators (LBT), Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) Mission Outreach and others. This is not a new phenomenon and many Concordia graduates are interested in making eternal differences in God’s kingdom work.”
MCN has had 34 Concordia Nebraska alumni serving as mission partners in different parts of the world with 15 presently active in Asia, Costa Rica, Taiwan, the Philippines and many other countries.
Concordia Nebraska alumnus Zach Barz ’18 said, “Concordia prepared me for a life of service by challenging me to consider my role in both church and world and by equipping me to answer the big questions of purpose, calling and vocation," said Barz. “In my time at Concordia I gained a greater appreciation for God’s gift of salvation, a deeper understanding of the complex world in which we live and a greater desire to share with others the Good News of the Gospel.”
Barz graduated from Concordia in 2018 with his degrees in world and intercultural studies and mathematics. He also studied computer science and Spanish while attending. He has been actively serving for four years in Parrita, Costa Rica, with an organization called LightHouse Transformation Ministries since graduating.
The Global Opportunities Center plays a huge role on Concordia's campus. It has provided Concordia students with many opportunities to develop and grow through the rich experiences of travel. Students can attend study tours, service-learning and mission trips, global internships and study abroad semesters. Director of the Global Opportunities Center, Julie Johnston Hermann, helps coordinate the trips for Concordia students. Barz was able to attend mission trips and partake in other service opportunities while studying at Concordia.
“My four years of coursework as well as short-term mission trips and other service opportunities helped me to better understand the calling I felt towards cross-cultural ministry and changed the way I viewed my role in God’s mission,” Barz said. “In my time in the foreign mission field, I’ve learned more about myself and about our God, I’ve gained new skills and new confidence, and I’ve grown in my understanding of the world and in my appreciation of different cultures.”
This past summer, Barz was able to catch up with fellow Concordia Nebraska alumni at the Concordia Mission Institute. This is an event that provides training by missionaries for missionaries.
“CMI is a joint training program, combining the efforts of MCN and LBT. The CMI Summer Training Event in July is always a great week where MCN and LBT missionaries gather to sharpen their mission skills and stretch their worldviews. Everyone learns from one another," said Mehl. "For me it is always a great joy to be together with so many in the MCN family and many of my former students who are now my colleagues. I am now learning from them as they describe new facets of missionary life and work. It is a very powerful time to be with so many former Concordia graduates.”
The Mission of Christ Network takes care of its missionaries and the people they aid, whether that be in the United States or in the 20 other countries they serve.
"There are great international partners, excellent training and great missionary support from professionals who've lived overseas," said Mehl. "But even more importantly is that MCN feels more like a family that cares for one another than a sending organization."
MCN provides anyone with information to support and follow along with their mission partners. You can check out the Mission of Christ Network on their website and discover more about what they do.