What is it like to return to OM after twenty years? What differences do you experience, compared with OM Belgium in the 1990’s?

“It is reassuring to find that OM is still OM; the commitment to God and to spread the Gospel is still there,” reflects Meryem, “and I love the new statement about seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached. We arrived when this was introduced, and this is why we wanted to come back: to see people turn to Christ and form vibrant communities.”

“OM is certainly much glossier than before,” states Martin, “and I wonder if we are putting too many obstacles in the way, for instance the high support level. Maybe we should start the ‘OM Classic experience’ with low cost and lower support, otherwise people would go to the Ship or South Africa even when it is not the best place for them, purely due to lack of support (and possibly later build support to work in Europe).”

Martin explains how OM Belgium has designed a three month volunteer program for those coming for a shorter time. The program, called fACTOR, includes practical work, spiritual input and personal mentoring, and may encourage those to join who might otherwise find the increased support level too much of a challenge. Even after its recent launch, several fACTOR volunteers are now returning – to visit, help out at the GO-conference or needing a mentor talk.

The Turners agree that one major positive change is the many long termers in OM, something they were longing for twenty years ago, when most team members would come to Belgium for a year, and some stayed longer but only after specific prayers had gone out that God would call people to long term ministry in Belgium.

“Another thing that has changed is that people in leadership positions no longer keep those positions 'for life', but hand over after a number of years,” says Meryem, and reflects: “And there is more people care. God’s church worldwide has changed, too—in the 80’s when we first joined OM, we prayed for South America and India, and for countries where Christ was not known, and now we see these same nations sending out missionaries.”

“We meet people from countries ‘closed’ to missionaries now active in specialist ministries, for instance translating the Bible into their language or help refugees from their countries. This is something we never saw in the 80’s and we hope to see this grow even more. It will make OM and our churches more diverse and help us keep changing and growing,” concludes Meryem.

However, some vital parts are missed, such as the LAMP* language learning method that helped them learn Dutch and French while building relationships in the community. Meryem is now preparing to teach LAMP 2* to the team, especially the newcomers, hoping this will lead to deeper relationships with the people they are aiming to reach. While many Belgians speak English, reaching them in their heart language is important.

In the past, there was also a study program which was recognised by Bible Colleges. With a diverse team of long-termers as well as short termers, the Turners have introduced Continuous Professional Development (CPD), where team members plan their own development based on their spiritual and ministry needs, and can share new insights with the rest of the team.  

“We work less in teams than we used to, which is also less attractive to me,” explains Martin. “Men like to work in a team, and working alone gives less openings for people strong in one area and weak in another. As a team we make up for each other, together we are stronger than alone.”

*LAMP and LAMP2 (Language Acquisition Made Practical, version 2)

Source: AnneMarit Viljoen in conversation with Martin & Meryem Turner, OM Belgium

Share this Resource

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Evangelism Outreach Coordinator Belgium    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you passionate about evangelism and don't mind doing some work behind the scenes?  Our Campaigns Team is looking for organisers and leaders who feel called to break down barriers for the global church to come and share the good news of Jesus with people in Belgium.
Full Details
Team Leader: Music Belgium    Go & Live    As soon as possibleThe team leader for music leads a team of musicians as part of the creative outreach ministry. A musician yourself, you will recruit, organise and direct a team of contemporary and orchestral musicians to produce a variety of content for online, face to face, venue-based and street outreach. An experienced musician yourself, you will be ready, able and willing to lead by example in investing your talent for wide-sowing among the least reached.
Full Details
Head of Fund Raising Belgium    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM in Belgium is looking for a head of fundraising. We are fifty people, part of the OM family, working among the least reached in one of the world’s most technological, bureaucratic and advanced nations. Our vision is to move from a position of just breaking-even to be able to be generous partners and standard-setters.
Full Details
Member: Music Team Belgium    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM in Belgium is recruiting a music team to write new music, record new music and perform new music supporting outreach, church planting and mobilising believers. We are looking for skilled, committed people who want to grow as believers and also extend themselves as musicians.
Full Details
ZavCentre administrator Belgium    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM in Belgium is looking for an administrator for ZavCentre, its international online and face-to-face conference, training and outreach centre. The role will involve managing bookings, ensuring that budgets, timescales and commitments are met, and effective stewardship of the resource that God has given us.
Full Details
Web developer Belgium    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM in Belgium is looking for a skilled and creative web developer who is equally at home designing bespoke websites, coding and integrating smart-components, configuring CMS sites and developing bespoke themes.
Full Details
Sports Evangelist Belgium    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM in Belgium is looking for a sports evangelist. Sports and fitness are by far the most important cultural activities, with ⅓ saying they play sports regularly, and 70% saying they regularly do fitness. The gym industry was booming up to Covid-19, and people are looking for ways to get back looking good and feeling fit. This role is for someone who can be a credible sports or fitness coach, or build relationships by joining a local team or club, possibly playing in ranking competitions.
Full Details
Language Specialist Dutch Belgium    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM in Belgium works in a sophisticated trilingual environment. Our ambition to plant churches, reach the unreached and mobilise believers is often limited by our capacity in language. We are looking for a language specialist in Dutch, and a language specialist in French, who can unblock these ministries and multiply our work. For Dutch, this also includes taking part in the Flemish Bible translation project.
Full Details
Year Program Participant Belgium    Go & Live    January 2022The Year Program is a 12-month opportunity to support the growth of the Kingdom of God in Belgium and to grow personally and in faith while doing so. The Year Program has two purposes; The first one is that of a gap year, the second one is to prepare a person to continue serving the Lord through international missions. It offers tools and opportunities to understand a new culture as well as to introduce a person to what it is to be a missionary.
Full Details
Head of Creative Outreach Belgium    Go & Live    As soon as possibleThe Head of Creative Outreach recruits, develops and leads a team of content creators who will work online, face to face and through street and venue events to share the love of Jesus with people who have never encountered it.

The team will be made up of artists, musicians, dancers, sports people, writers, directors, producers and others from the creative industries willing to invest a year or more for God’s kingdom. Spiritual maturity and an openness to all ideas are key to this role.

Full Details
Online Evangelist Belgium    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM in Belgium is looking for an online evangelist who is ready, able and willing to invest a year in reaching the least reached right where they are: in front of their smartphones, tablets and computers. No qualifications required—except that you love Jesus, you love people, and you LOVE social media.
Full Details
Member: Creative Team Belgium    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM in Belgium is looking for members for the new Creative Team. While bringing your own special talents to the mix, you’ll enjoy working with other creative people and trying things out which you’ve never done before, and never imagined you would. You could be running a pop-up coffee shop in the market in the morning, recording a music video in the afternoon, and leading a Bible study in the evening.
Full Details