For the Brotherhood 

I will never forget the MOVE trip of February 2024. This building project in Thailand ended up being the biggest challenge MOVE has ever undertaken. Not only did the trip include our typical church build, but it also included an additional renovation project plus a third project of building a back wall. The only way we could take on all three projects was because of our unusually large crew. A giant team of 63 people from 13 distinct locations added some logistical challenges but helped immensely in accomplishing our project goals. Our biggest project was matched by the biggest team we have ever taken overseas. 

The outside perception of MOVE is interesting. Most people think we are a short-term mission construction team, and they would be partly right. While we do focus on construction projects, we place a large emphasis on brotherhood. Brotherhood has nothing to do with construction skills or checking all the right boxes in physical ability. Our understanding of brotherhood is illustrated by Jesus in Matthew 12:48-50:  “‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother’” (NIV).

The essence of our MOVE brotherhood is that it includes anyone doing the will of the Father within the realm of a MOVE trip. This starts with a willingness to be used by God, and we’ve seen God use every willing man in various capacities.

Because of the brotherhood, there is a great spiritual emphasis placed on each trip. Twice daily we have devotions, once in the morning on the job site before the work starts and again in the evening after dinner. As our leadership was planning the Thailand trip, our greatest concern was whether the size of the group would cause us to lose the dynamic of brotherhood that had been so strong on our previous trips. Within this large group of men, we knew we would have some who were spiritually mature, several who were new to faith in Jesus Christ, and even a couple who were new to the idea of church. How would we unite such a large and spiritually diverse group of men?

 Two days before the trip started, one of our MOVE brothers, Erik Crim, tragically lost his 7-year-old daughter. We have many MOVE brothers who have been touched by tragedy, and on day one, all our hearts were with the Crim family. We prayed and reflected on the tough questions we ask God in times like this. This deep conversation of our first day set the tone for the remainder of our devotions and conversations.

Within the first week, we encountered inevitable issues within the project itself as well as personal difficulties arising back home. It became normal to see men stop the work they were doing to pray for each other. That behavior would carry over into our evening devotions where we would have worship, a longer devotion, and altar time. It was a transformational time for many of the men and increased in momentum as the trip continued.

As each project does, the trip concluded with praise at the dedication of the completed building. Men could look around as they worshipped with the local church and see the results of their hard work. This moment is always satisfying, allowing the team to feel accomplishment and gratitude for what the Lord has done through us.

Men’s ministry within the Church is largely failing. Although the fullness of MOVE can be hard to articulate, it can be felt. These trips create a unique brotherhood by men toiling in life together. When we go to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people, being forced to live and work together creates a vulnerability. When we are vulnerable, emotions usually rise to the surface, and it is a wonderful opportunity for God to work. I see this dynamic take place on every MOVE trip.

Aaron, Erik & Chad

We are “Building Men. Building Churches.” We often see the truth of this statement continue long after the project ends. As soon as I got home from Thailand, I knew my project wasn’t yet complete. I had to connect with my brother who was grieving. With Pastor Chad Greaves (visiting from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), I got in my vehicle in Des Moines, Iowa, and drove straight to Casper, Wyoming, to visit Erik. Being in the MOVE brotherhood is a bond for life, and we will always be brothers.

Aaron Keller

Aaron Keller is the National Director of MOVE Ministries and the Lead Pastor at Sunshine Open Bible Church in Des Moines, Iowa. 

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