Two pastor and a missionary share the benefits of partnering with ministries around the world.
“I just wonder if it’s worth it all…?” Who hasn’t mused over that question as they thought about the commitment required for their church to have a meaningful partnership with a missionary or a sister church thousands of miles away? So much time, effort, and money can be poured into short-term trips with short-term commitments and short-term vision that church leaders are understandably skeptical. Is it worth it?
And yet, Jesus said to go and make disciples. Disciples! Yes, a partnership would be meaningful and “worth it” — at almost any cost — if it truly did make disciples of Jesus on both sides of the relationship.
We at TEAMHorizons are in a unique position to witness what happens when relationships across the miles become “meaningful” and disciples grow like weeds. When churches join hands through short-term investments into long-term vision with long-term commitment (therein lies the key!), the fruit can be remarkable.
Here in the neighborhood of our editorial office, west of Chicago, are two examples of fruitful partnership. The two churches could scarcely be more different from one another, and yet their testimonials about international, missional relationships are two verses of the same song.
Glen Ellyn Bible Church is a relatively large church of about 1,000 in an economically up-scale suburb of Chicago. They have a long history of “traditional” missions involvement. Over the past decade, however, they have entered into a “hands on” partnership with a Mexican church in La Paz, located at the end of the Baja peninsula. The change for the good of the Kingdom of God that this partnership has created, both in the Baja and in Glen Ellyn, is worthy of note.
Warehouse Church of Aurora, Illinois, on the other hand, is a smaller group of 125 people, nearly half of whom have annual earnings below the government’s recognized poverty level. They had no history of international mission partnerships before one of the elders visited a missionary in the Czech Republic ten years ago. The relationship that developed from that visit has expanded to enrich the lives of many in the church in Aurora, and in the course of a decade, they have witnessed a church come to life in a village outside of Prague.
So, was it worth it? We wrote to these two churches in the name of a North American church leader, Pastor Fred, and asked just that. Fred asked, “I’m not sure about the value of our church developing a partnership with a small, missional church somewhere in the world. What was your experience like?”
Just for good measure, we also sent the letter to Tom and Elaine Sampley, the missionary couple on the Czech end of the partnership with Warehouse Church.
Click below to find the answer to Pastor Fred’s question.
[Originally published in TEAMHorizons, March 2012]Download This Issue of TEAMHorizons