WYLIE/ROCKWALL, TX (June 25, 2014) Lance Shumake wants to see students involved in missions, and more specifically, to see this generation of students living “on mission.”
As President of iGo Global for 14 years, Shumake has overseen high school and college student teams travel to 21 countries to help fulfill Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). His organization uses the phrase “make Him famous” as a mantra to emphasize the desire to share in mission work among unreached and least-reached people groups.
Shumake says he “didn’t get missions” when he was a growing up in south Texas. “Missionaries had lots of pockets on their shirts and slide projectors—a different class of Christians.” But his understanding of missions changed as he went through Dallas Baptist University, then Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and into ministry. Now he says: “All are called to missions in some way.”
Eventually Shumake decided to use his ministry platform to train and equip others. He brought iGo Global to Rockwall in 2001 after Lake Pointe Church provided office space to help him launch the ministry. That same year, the first iGo mission team travelled toJapan. Since then, nearly 4,000 students have gone on a mission trip through the organization.
The iGo staff has grown to 16 people who either raise their own support or else work for a base of support. At the current headquarters in Wylie, the staff assembles and trains student teams to work alongside church-planters around the globe who serve with International Mission Board (IMB), an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Beyond the IMB connection, iGo Global has no official church or denominational ties. Yet they don’t claim to “send” students in the deeper sense of that word. Anyone who serves with iGo must be recommended and “sent” by their local church.
Cucumbers for breakfast
Shumake says iGo Global is really a training organization—“It’s the main thing we do.” Student teams complete 2-3 days of mission training at Base Camp, which includes a fun and memorable cross-cultural experience in the fictional country of iGosia. They “travel” via iGosian Airlines, which loses 75% of passengers’ luggage. They go through Customs and get iGosian currency too. Students stay with iGosian host families who might serve something like cucumbers and tomatoes for breakfast.
Shumake says the point of this is culture-shock: “Let them make mistakes here instead of overseas.”
Trained and ready
Besides the practical training for their trip, students learn core biblical values and a theology of missions that help them to engage in missions wherever they may live or go. Not all students go overseas, some serve as summer interns for the ministry.
Area families also serve iGo Global by providing summer housing for interns or by hosting iGosia visitors. Many others—including lots of Rockwall people—support the ministry through financial gifts.
One Rockwall family, Richard and Kathy Krikorian and their three children, have been much involved. Richard and all three kids participated in mission trips. Daughter Katy, now 22, went to Germany twice, the second time as a leader, which involved team support and arrangements for food and transportation, like making sure everyone made it to the train on time.
Richard Krikorian says their efforts included prayer walking and street evangelism—usually engaging college kids in conversation. “People want to speak English; they welcome the opportunity. In Cologne [Germany] there are lots of students and some Turkish refugees.”
Local IMB missionaries instruct the iGo teams, who refer to them as “M’s, especially in places like a Muslim neighborhood in Paris. Shannon Krikorian helped lead her team in that city, where people come from all over the world. Her father believes the iGo training helped prepareShannonfor the R.A. position she holds now at her college dorm.
“Missionaries say our students come trained and ready,” Shumake says.
In addition to the Base Camp training, iGo Global will host or speak at conferences, camps or other events. Shumake speaks to churches and youth “all over,” sharing his passion to see students involved in missions. He says iGo has expanded their work by helping churches that want to take their own youth group on mission. “We can help them do this more effectively.”
Shumake recommends two good books that inspire living on mission: Radical by David Platt, and, for the older student or adult, Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper. To check out mission opportunities for the summer of 2015, visit http://igoglobal.org.
By contributing writer Patti Richter of Heath. Patti is a journalist who writes news and feature stories, book reviews and more for Christian publications.
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