a collective of churches that think and act like missionaries

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What We Do

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Training—PDX Loft

PDX Loft is Upstream's training mechanism based out of Portland, Oregon. We provide training for churches, church leaders, church planting teams, and missionary teams focusing on the essential skills and tools needed for ministry in todays urban centers ranging from city mapping and cultural exegesis to a theology of the city and more.

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Sending Church

Training, consultation, a roundtable…it doesn’t really matter what you call it — the Sending Church is about helping your church through the process of finding, adopting, and becoming an integral part of another culture. It’s about the church owning the Great Commission. It’s about sending your own to impact the world.

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Jet Set

Traveling mission think-tanks, usually lasting 7-10 days, to major global cities designed to give church leaders a taste of what God is doing around the world. We try to have at least 2 trips a year. Our Jet Set mini-site will give you more details as well as a chance to sign up for our upcoming trips.

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SENDING CHURCH – A DEFINITION

A Sending Church is a local community of Christ-followers who have made a covenant together to be prayerful, deliberate, and proactive in developing, commissioning, and sending their own members both locally and globally, often in partnership with other churches or agencies, and continuing to encourage, support, and advocate for them while making disciples cross-culturally.

Latest Blog Posts

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    Leading Overseas Teams, Part One

    This is one of three posts from Upstream co-founder Larry McCrary on leading teams in an overseas context. We will soon release this series as a free downloadable document on our Resources page.  I (Larry McCrary) have been a part of overseas teams with my family since 2001. Though there are many leadership resources from […]

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  • Ask-a-Missiologist

    Ask-a-Missiologist: Does Sending Church Exclude the Universal Church and Parachurch?

    Ask-a-Missiologist is a newly featured series in which we do just that—ask a missiologist a current pressing missiological question. This week we’re asking our very own Caleb Crider about something that’s been voiced recently: “Does the sending church conversation unhelpfully exclude or deemphasize the universal church or the parachurch?” Please respond in the comments below or on social […]

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    Now in Print: The Sending Church Defined

    Earlier this year, we were excited to release The Sending Church Defined in a digital format. A lot of prayer, study, and hard work went into its production, and it has been an incredible encouragement to hear from churches who found it challenging and useful. Many of those churches said they want to make further use of it […]

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Testimonials

Our local church, Sojourn Community Church, had been pouring the majority of our efforts into reaching our neighbors with the gospel as well as planting new churches in needy cities around the country. As we began to realize that we needed to be more intentional in reaching the nations with the gospel, the Upstream Collective was there to help. Our elders were able to take a Jet Set trip around Europe to meet key missionaries and ask the question, “where could we as a church be engaged?” From this trip, Upstream continued to help us explore this question through coaching, exploring new mission opportunities, providing training for our people and through a deep and growing friendship. Sometimes it can be hard to define just what the team at Upstream does. This is because they go above and beyond the norm and find creative ways to help local churches become churches that are intentionally on mission both in their neighborhoods and among the nations.

Our work with the Upstream Collective has helped us put hands and feet behind our desire to be a missional church. Our church now has a strategy that we are using to move our people to be missionaries where they live, work, and play, as well as sending teams into our nation and world.

The Upstream Collective has been a vital part of the planting of Ekklesia Nashville, as well as my personal growth as a leader. My friends at Upstream have taken a personal interest in my life and in our church — mentoring us, advising us in our vision, mission, and strategy, and walking with us through both the painful and joyous seasons. I am eternally grateful for their ministry and influence and recommend that every young church plant join in on the conversation of what it looks like to “think and act like a missionary” in their current context.