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Finally! An Answer For Those Finishing the World Race

When we first started the World Race, we knew we had a problem. The Race was 11 months long, but looking at Jesus’ model, we could see that would not be enough time. Jesus took three years with his disciples. What could we do to help racers keep growing after a year of adventures? Like Odysseu…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

When we first started the World Race, we knew we had a problem. The Race was 11 months long, but looking at Jesus’ model, we could see that would not be enough time. Jesus took three years with his disciples. What could we do to help racers keep growing after a year of adventures?

Like Odysseus returning to his home, racers may feel heroic. But they may find that home is not the safe place it once was. They will still face adversity and often may feel unprepared to combat it. 

In 2007, we looked at the Patterson Life Planning model and thought, “If racers could go through this Life Planning process, they would have a road map to reintegrate into society.” We spent $4000, hired a life planning consultant, trained our trainers, and then flew them to Thailand to train racers.

But racers were too focused on the Race to be able to look ahead like that, so in 2008, we phased out that initial effort. Next World Race leadership met to ask the question, what else can we do? I wrote a blog as a website prototype that contained a lot of resources and ideas.

In 2010, we rolled out a post-race conference called Project Searchlight that has kept going ever since (and garnered great reviews). After that, we began focusing on helping racers to follow their dreams through a whole new ministry called Kingdom Dreams.

In 2011, racer alumnus Scott Taylor built an incredible database for alumni. Sadly, we couldn’t get them to use it. Simultaneously, we looked at building a “GoPlex” campus that would partner multiple businesses and ministries to connect Millennials to their calling and to mentors. We also started a ministry to alumni and launched an annual conference called the Awakening.

For years, our board of directors has looked at the issue of how best to help alumni. Last year we started the Global Kingdom Network to provide aftercare to returning World Racers to continue growing in God’s Kingdom.

We have hired and trained a team of alumni counselors called Navigators. Navigators know what it’s like to return from the race. They develop trust with individual racers and a long-distance relationship with them on their race.

Then, when racers they are following return, they are available to help those racers process all that they are going through. They can answer questions and help connect racers to resources.

Racer reviews are uniformly positive. And Navigators themselves are loving the experience. I couldn’t be more excited about this valuable resource. 

Comments (35)

  • Our son is just finishing up month 3 and I am in awe of how God is moving both in the racers and through them. Everything I have seen from the WR so far reflects concern for the racers. The extra care being taken to make reentry for them as seamless as possible doesn’t surprise me. If only my husband and I were still young enough. Lol. Thank you from one grateful mom.

  • This is great. My racer is entering month 7 in a few days and I already worry about her homecoming. I worry that she will come back on fire to do more but may not know how that looks. I hope she’ll fall into a life of ministry and not fall
    Into her old life. Thank for sharing this Seth. What you’re doing with this generation is not only amazing it’s highly neceaaary!

  • You mean Taylor? She’s great! Loved her last blog post! She’ll do awesome. In fact, for a team that tight, I recommend they go somewhere together for 6 months (like our hostel in Cambodia) to work and do life together and help each make re-entry plans.

    If they were interested, I could help them explore options.

  • Yes Taylor! I saw your comment on her blog..thats awesome! Funny you mention Cambodia…it was her favorite month and she has said she wants to go back there and I know several of her team would love to as well
    I will definitely pass this along to her! I would love to see her go back and do something like that! Thank you so much

    • Awesome. It sounds like God is in this interaction – well done following his lead! I’ll connect our base director with you.

  • Seth this is encouraging and personally of interest for reasons we have discussed. Looking forward to extending those conversations.

  • Thanks for always looking after our racers before, during and after! We are parent of an alumni and current racer! We are so blessed to have you and the ministry caring for our children!

  • Thanks so much! We are so impressed with AIM and WR.
    My husband and I have volunteered at a launch and plan on doing much more with AIM!

  • Thankful so many are willing to help them adjust when they get back! I can’t imagine what it will be like when Amanda gets home but it’s awesome to see this is in place! Thankful for all that you do and continue to do for our racers and families!

  • I am glad to read this also. My gap year racer, Maggie, is coming home in just a few weeks then going on to college. I really worry about the transition home and then a few weeks later to college life. After the little I experienced on PVT, I can not imagine how difficult this transition(s) will be. Any and all resources to help them is appreciated.

  • Nikki Romani, WR alumni A squad 2014, M2B Captain

    Thank you Seth for writing about your journey to find a way to help racers post race. I am so excited and honored to not only be a World Race alum but to also be a part of M2B ministries! I have a heart and a passion to help missionaries with re-entry!
    It was a privilege to meet you a couple weeks ago!

  • Brittany Panus, WR Navigator

    Seth, this has been a blast to be a part of. The relationships I’ve developed with my Racers has been great and is easily my favorite thing I do right now. I’m excited that I still get to be a part of AIM in this unique way. I am fully supportive of this ministry and what it does for the re-entry of Racers!

  • I hope Maggie has a good transition. It will help if she can find a racer alumnus in the area to meet with. I suggest calling and talking to Justin Marshall about who might be in the area.

  • Brittany – I’m thrilled that you’re helping. You and the others like you are pioneering and making a big difference!

  • Thank you for this blog. I remember hearing about M2B at launch (our daughter launched in January, 2017; she’s in the picture above) and I had forgotten about it. I have already been advised by folks, including our medical doctor, to prepare for Ariane’s return to the states. These are people who are familiar with missionaries returning from the field. Also, I was glad that y’all did a session with the dads about re-entry. It is good to know that WR is determined to continue alongside our racers after their 11 month journey ends, because truly, that is just the beginning of the rest of their “changed” lives.

  • Thank you Seth for everything that you do for our children. I just returned from PVT in Chile, what an amazing experience! I will be forever blessed by the friendships that developed there, and being able to experience what Madison has the past 7 1/2 months was awesome! I know that it has been a life changing experience for her, and for me as well.

  • Katie – you’ve been an important part of the alumni network! Thanks for making an impact on people like Keighty and Hannah.

  • It’s a privilege. What else are we going to do but invest in the next generation? So glad that you were impacted on your trip to Chile, Cindy.

  • God bless you, your calling and your tireless work. This is blog is great. You look at some colleges and their alumni, the tight networks that they form and you wonder why we can’t do more of that in the Christian community. My daughter is in the last phase of her race and in attempting to apply for jobs she is finding she really has no idea how to write a cover letter or resume or network. What I think neither her or I realized was that she has a great network of world racers. Knowing what I know now about the Race I would love to have people on my team that I’ve had this type of experience. Thank you again and I will be looking for ways that I can help any of these men and women enter back into their longer-term calling whether that is here in the United States or overseas.

  • Seth I have passed this information along to Taylor and she is very interested! She was very upbeat about it and wants to definitely wants to connect. Thank you so much!!

  • I wanted to say congrats on the new venture and thank you for hyperlinking Neal’s book. I just ordered it! I am thrilled to know this resource exists. 10 months ago I came off the mission field in South Africa and it’s been quite a journey without missionary care support from my sending organization. I’m eager to learn more about Neal’s reentry research so I too can help future missionaries coming home. Thank you for being a voice for missionary care! Blessings to you and your ministry.

  • Seth,

    Thanks so much for caring about the racers even after they come off of the field! Our daughter will be returning to the states in June after the 5n9 gap year, but there is no one on her squad that is even remotely close to us in New Hampshire. It seems like New England is not an area a lot of racers come from (not surprisingly – least churches area on the country, etc.). My husband and I are pastors and run a mission focused organization, so we would like to help change that. Is my perception about the lack of racers from the New England area correct or was this just my daughter’s squad?

    Thanks and blessings!

    • How close are you to Maine? I’ve got a few ideas for you. Just email me at the link in the upper left column of this blog.

  • I absulutly loved the race but re-entry was definently one of the hardest parts. I’m so glad to see you are continuing to find solutions for racers. WR june07

  • Is this meant solely for Racers who have just come off of the field/will be coming off of the field soon or is this also meant for alumni Racers who have been back for some time?

    • Thanks for asking, Susan – it’s a good question. Our desire is to offer this to all racers, including alumni racers.

      At present we are simultaneously trying to achieve the objective of proving the model by working with a test group that will yield verifiable data.

      So, the best thing to do may be to talk to Nikki or one of the M2B staff at present (see the m2b website for contact details). Or to talk to Justin Marshall who heads up our alumni dept.

  • I’m excited about M2B! I’ve unofficially navigated for a few Racers during their journey on the field and re-entry. It’s been such a helpful experience–for both of us. It gives me a chance to remember, to re-feel, to stay connected, and to continue to grow and process. It also gives me the accountability to “continue the lifestyle” because that lifestyle is right in my face all the time. For them, they feel like they have an advocate in someone who’s been there (and survived). I stood with Keighty Patton through the Race and now disciple her and she regularly talks about how that was a huge blessing and vital to her WR experience. God also blessed her with the easiest re-entry I’ve ever seen. Knowing how helpful it was to her and how helpful it would have been to me, I’m eager to do the same for more. Hannah Erickson’s on the field now (meeting her was a true Holy Spirit orchestration. She tells the story here: http://hannaherickson.theworldrace.org/post/when-warfare-strikes). Again I’m standing beside her as much (or as little) as she wants and am looking forward to welcoming her back home in a few short months. I’ve talked to Bruce about possibly doing more officially but unfortunately my life is at (some would argue “over”) capacity at the moment. Definitely a ministry I’ve got my eye on and am excited to see what God does with this! And thank you for it!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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