Connecting Neighbors

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The Louisiana Office of Missional Engagement and Outreach oversees the work of missions, which includes everything from disaster response to domestic and international mission trips.  

Our call is to reach out to those in need and engage the church to be the hands and feet of Christ in a time of need. This important work is most effective when volunteers are equipped and empowered and this training does just that. 

Rev. Laraine Waughtal leads
a training in Lake Charles

A mission field can be anything from a clean water project overseas to sitting and praying with a tornado survivor.  

Mission trips are more impactful when they are undergirded with solid training and an understanding of how to effectively serve in the mission field, both domestically and internationally. 

Connecting Neighbors Training includes the standard Connecting Neighbors training, as well as Louisiana Volunteers in Mission training. (Attendees must select one of the two tracks.)

The Details

The next training: 

The registration deadline for this training is January 22, 2018.

Traditionally, the training begins with check-in at 8:30am, training is from 9am - 4pm with lunch included. 

The cost is $40 and includes lunch, training materials and a flash drive containing materials and forms for your use. (The cost does not include travel or hotel arrangements) 


Connecting Neighbors


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Connecting Neighbors is a new program from UMCOR that gives congregations the tools and information they need to guide the development of their disaster-response ministries. Congregations that invest their time in “Connecting Neighbors” training are better prepared for what emergencies may come, able to draw on local resources more quickly in the wake of a disaster and more confident that United Methodists will be a resource for community recovery. 

Programs include the following: 

  • Ready Congregants focuses on preparing individuals and families to be disaster-ready. Participants will be inspired to take action in order to prepare themselves, their households and others before and immediately following a disaster.
  • Ready Churches emphasizes the importance of protecting church property and the people within the property, before and immediately following a disaster, and of appropriate use of church property in disaster response.
  • Ready Response encourages churches to explore their capacity for various disaster response ministries and to consider ways to engage community partners and how they can respond after the disaster to their community.

Volunteers in Mission


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Volunteers in Mission is a channel whereby Christians, both lay and clergy, may offer their skills and talents for Christian service at home and around the world on short term assignments. Their work includes construction and renewing of mission facilities, teaching, witnessing, conducting medical clinics, conducting Bible study or Bible School for children, and clean water programs. 

This training is for those who desire to lead a mission trip, better understand how mission trips are organized, the purpose behind them or for those who want to reach out in a disaster.  This can include pastors or laity.

In addition to a broad understanding of how missional outreach and engagement is both effective and a call from God, this event will also cover a wide range of topics, including: 

  • How to equip you and your church for a mission
  • How to prepare your team - everything from budgets to travel arrangements
  • How to effectively raise funds
  • Various forms that are needed and why they’re necessary
  • Domestic and International travel tips

This training will qualify those who attend to be a VIM leader for the next three years

Lagniappe training (2 hours) will include the following presentations: 

  • When Helping Hurts: Poverty is much more than simply a lack of material resources, and it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve it. When Helping Hurts shows how some alleviation efforts, failing to consider the complexities of poverty, have actually (and unintentionally) done more harm than good. This training looks ahead and is based on a book by Steven Corbett and Brian Fikkert. The course will encourage us to see the dignity in everyone, to empower the materially poor, and to know that we are all uniquely needy—and that God in the gospel is reconciling all things to himself.
  • 50/50: This training is a lens for discerning which relational opportunities in your missional context can have a long term impact. You will be equipped to ask the question, ‘will this be a sustainable ministry after you leave?’