Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Many Hats: the Ministry of a Field Director

By Kevin Zirkle, Missionary, Japan
July-September 2015
Many Hats: the Ministry of a Field Director

When someone wears many hats, they have different roles or tasks to perform. This expression often gets played out, usually with a comedic twist, on TV or in the movies. One person wears many hats and performs several different functions.

Actual hats aside, that phrase certainly describes the responsibilities that I have. I am the regional director of the Asia, Europe, and Pacific Rim region. But in addition, I am also the field director for JapanPapua New GuineaHungary, and Ukraine. Wondering how all this came about?

I have been the field director in Japan since 1979. After becoming a regional director for most of WGM’s smaller fields, it became clear that having another voice/perspective at field meetings can be helpful. Each field is different, and I in no way understand the cultures as well as the missionaries serving there. But I serve as a sounding board for ideas and can give input.

Another way I help a small field is by handling some of the communication with WGM headquarters and writing reports. On a smaller field, everyone has a full-time ministry, so a field director’s responsibilities are added onto an otherwise full schedule. (On larger fields, the field director is a full-time job.) Becky and I visit each field in our region once a year, which gives me the chance to see the ministry and understand the challenges and opportunities the missionaries have.

Because of the Internet, it is possible for someone based in Tokyo (where Becky and I live) to lead field business meetings in Ukraine or Hungary. Skype allows free voice communication that a few years ago would have been cost prohibitive. One of the responsibilities of a regional director is to approve the annual budget of each field. Since I am the field director of several fields, it makes it easier to understand what needs to be in the budget.

It seems as if there is always something to respond to, but email makes it easy and quick to respond. I certainly do not direct fields the same way an in-country person may be able to, but I can give advice and direction as long as I have an Internet connection. I may have many different hats, but the goal is the same—to see God’s kingdom advance.

PrayPRAY: Field leaders are called upon to make decisions and support the missionary staff daily. Please pray that God will grant them wisdom and direction as they serve in this capacity.
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