Jeff has been serving in ministry for more than 24 years. In those years, he has experienced first-hand the joys and burdens that come with working in ministry. Often, ministry leaders and missionaries experience isolation, disappointment, physical suffering, and stress which leads to burnout. His life, which has encountered these real challenges in a variety of ministry settings, is passionate about loving those who serve others. His experience includes:
- Growing up in a small, rural town in northern Maine where he was highly influenced by his family, church, and faith in Jesus to go wherever the Lord led.
- Pastoring for 13 years within the local church with children, youth and families in coastal communities in New England and the Pacific Northwest.
- Serving as a missionary for 11 years with global missions on behalf of thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children. Through Children of the Nations International, a non-profit NGO – Jeff served children and families in Uganda, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. While there, his work included:
- Overseeing coordination of mission teams traveling overseas to COTN ministry sites. This included training teams, developing training materials, acting as a liaison between teams and in-country staff for all the elements of trips, assisting in emergencies, and debriefing when teams returned home.
- Directing the development and implementation of the Spiritual Care Department, serving as the main advocate and developer for all things centered on growing in faith in Jesus Christ (evangelism, discipleship, biblical training, curriculum development, standardization, and more). The main objective was to help in-country leaders raise spiritually healthy children who demonstrated a vibrant and authentic faith in Jesus Christ.
- Advocating for financial support for both his personal salary/housing needs and the ongoing projects that were vital to the development of people serving in Africa and the Caribbean.
The Landers, Jeff and Connie, (married for 22 years), have served together in Massachusetts and Washington. Individually, they’ve served on various visits to Sierra Leone, Malawi, Uganda, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Tennessee, The Republic of Ireland, and Guatemala. Jeff is working full-time in association with Paraclete Mission Group and is joined by Connie, who volunteers in a variety of other ways in in their community, church, and neighborhood.
Jeff, has a Bachelors Degree in Youth Ministry, a minor in Biblical Theology and years of pastoral care experience working with families. Connie has a Masters in Education and currently serves in a local school district teaching children how to read. Together, Jeff and Connie, use those experiences in a variety of ways – in addition to raising their own family – to support pastors, missionaries, ministry leaders and families.
Avenues of Service
- Speaking at churches, retreats, small groups, workshops, etc. about a variety of topics related to supporting and encouraging missionaries, pastors, and their families.
- Building a network of churches, organizations, and individuals committed to meeting the needs of pastors and missionaries preparing to serve, currently serving, or returning from the mission field.
- Providing pastoral care (often using transformational prayer counseling), and support for missionaries and pastors; and collaborate with others who can do so.
- Acting as Triage for missionaries in need (assess, advocate, and facilitate meeting their needs)
- Building connections with individuals and groups who are willing to host pastors, ministry leaders and missionaries for retreats, sabbatical, or furlough in need of respite care (with housing, transportation, meals, and encouragement)
- Building a network of “active status” missionaries who are serving in the same geographic regions, so they can have fellowship and support.
- Building a web-based community to build awareness of missionary needs and provide access by churches, organizations, and individuals to help meet those needs.
- Raising funding for missionary and ministry care needs that come up unexpectantly (medical, emotional, instructional, travel, evacuations, etc.).
- Advocating for physical resources that provide enrichment and learning opportunities for ministry and missionary leaders.