|The Father of Mission Aviation- George Fisk|
How did he do it?!?
However, this is a response to an email query asking me what it takes to get a mission aviation program up and running. It's not comprehensive, but represents the core foundational items. Enjoy!
5 Essentials to Make it in Mission Aviation
1. Affirmation of your faith community.
Do not be a lone ranger. You must root yourself in a local church that has strong support of foreign missions and who has sent out other missionaries with success.
Soon after arriving at your foreign post, you WILL have very hard days. Knowing that your local church has your back that will get you through.
I can’t emphasize this enough. Having a strong relationship to a local church takes time. there is a lot of temptation just to go out and get going with your work. My advice? Take the slow road and have your gifts and calling affirmed by your local faith community.
When someone contacts me about int’l mission work and doesn’t have this component, I don’t waste my time with them. It’s my #1 litmus test. Can you do it without it? Sure. God will do what He wants with whom He wants. However, if you're going to work on my team and I have a say in the decision, I'll veto anyone without the STRONG backing of a local church.
Is your approach to international work super-unique? Great! Make sure that you have clearly defined the mission and strategy that truly blesses the people you serve.
Frankly, I feel that there are enough mission aviation organizations out there with varying models where everyone should be able to find a home, even for those, like me, with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Even for creative types, you can usually have the best of both worlds… the support that you need and the flexibility that you need to be creative.
Bottom line... define your focus well. Look for an organization that you can work with. Build on their resources instead of building up all the infrastructure that you need to do it by yourself. Only go it alone as a last result and only with the call of the Lord and affirmation of your church.
3. Experienced & Godly Board
On your Board of Directors, make sure that you have at least two former international missionaries and that at least one of them is a former mission aviation pilot.
I also suggest that your Board receive training in “values based governance”. There are some good books on this and some trainers that can come and lead a board retreat to get your team on their knees and unified with a clear focus.
Establish a 501c3 organization- not too hard. You can find many tutorials online and associated material at amazon.com or other resources.
You’ll need some admin support to receive and receipt donations, however. This may be a time when a supportive local church and engaged board of directors can step up.
You’ll need to either be independently wealthy or have outside funding to support your personal needs. As for the work- aviation is very expensive. Keeping up funding requires good communication and, typically, lots of travel, speaking engagements and visits and events. In every case, you must be able to succinctly articulate the reason that you are doing what you are doing, and how you know that you are being effective. Funding will come when the vision and goals are compelling and communicated effectively.