Sixteen:Fifteen is honored to swing swords with the Upstream Collective, and blessed to have them  as a strategic ministry partner.  You’ll definitely want to “lean in” to hear what they have to say…we trust that it will encourage your heart and equip your mind.

1.       Tell us about The Upstream Collective, its mission, and what it is that gets you up in the morning?

The Upstream Collective exists to train churches to think and act like missionaries. We love to see communities of faith move their focus from their own structures and programs to their obedience on God’s global mission. Seeing a church forsake their consumerism and embrace their identity as sent-ones is what keeps us going.

2.       Why did you write the book, Tradecraft, For the Church on Mission?

We were telling churches to start thinking and acting like missionaries. We tried to convince them of the importance of mission. It turns out that there are lots of churches who don’t need to be convinced; they need to be equipped. Many Christians today have no idea how to be missionaries. Tradecraft is part of our effort to remind the Church how to be missionary in its thinking and activity.

3.       How might your book help a church on their missions’ journey?

Actually, we don’t want to help a church on their “missions journey.” We want to help churches in their “Christ-following journey.”  The difference is more than semantic.  If mission is something that a church does, they are missing completely the point of our calling and salvation. Mission isn’t something we do, it’s something we are. We are missionaries. Tradecraft was written to help make us good missionaries.

In the book, we introduce nine basic missionary skills that we believe should be practiced by all Christians everywhere. These skills are the “tricks of the trade” employed by international missionaries all over the world, but are seldom used at home.

When a church begins to think and act like missionaries, they are able to make good decisions about where to get involved globally, and how. They become better partners, because they can truly be peers on mission rather than just volunteers and providers of financial support. A missionary church understands that in Christ, we are all necessarily outsiders. This fact alone could change our entire understanding of what the Church is, why it exists, and how we should behave in the world.

4.      What is your perspective?  Does the local church still need missions agencies?

The local church will always need the insight and experience of others. Pastors and leaders simply can’t be experts in everything.  But for too long, missions agencies have robbed the church of vital missionary skills by doing mission for them. When a church hires an outsider to make decisions about their organization, funding, locations, partnerships, assessment, and sending on mission, they miss out in the opportunity to learn those skills. The result is a Church who has forgotten how to be missionary.

5.       How can someone who is interested in your ministry contact you?

For more information about the book, Tradecraft, visit
We can always be found at our website
To get in touch with us, email

About Upstream
Serving as full-time Christian workers in Spain, Germany, Wales, Russia, and the U.S. has taught us a lot. One thing we at The Upstream Collective have seen first-hand is that God’s work around the world isn’t limited to one vocation. Rather, God is calling people from all professions and all kinds of churches to get involved in what He’s up to among the nations, whether that means being globally active from a physical distance or daring to break out of the American bubble. Meet the leadership team for Upstream HERE.