Church / Agency Partnership
Following are the basic components
of a formal partnership between a local church and a sending agency.
All names of church, agency and unreached people have been removed for
In 1990 some members from a local church in the United States joined
a short-term trip to an unreached people. As a result, the church began
to develop a vision and commitment to the people. In 1992 the church
formally adopted the people group and formed a partnership with the agency.
In the ensuing years a small team of church members have been approved
and trained by the agency for field missionary service to the church's
adopted people. The church and agency together facilitate the process for
individuals from the church who wish to become missionaries to this people
Following are some key components of the Church/Agency Partnership development
To plan and work together to reach this people group with the gospel
of Jesus Christ to the end that a contextualized, indigenous, self-supporting,
self-sustaining and self-propagating community of followers of Jesus might
emerge among these people.
- Dynamic and developing - "not something we are doing, something God is doing".
- Spirit-led (through prayer)
Decision Making Process between the Church and Agency
- The Field Team and Field Team Leader, make decisions related to the field. The team leader informs both the church Director of Missions and the agency Field Leader of these decisions.
- The church Missions Director is primarily responsible for pastoring the field missionary team.
- The agency Field Leadership is primarily responsible for field strategy, but receives input from the church.
- Lines of communication are clearly defined between Field Team leaders, the US agency base, church, and agency Field Leaders.
Strategy Specifics on the Field
- The Field Team leader and Field Team take primary responsibility for development of strategy under the guidance of the area director from the
- Field Team members pastor themselves with input from the agency. The Director of Missions of the church is pastoring the Field Team Leaders.
- The goal is to establish clear lines of communication between the Field Team, Team Leader, Field Leadership, agency headquarters and the church.
Strategy Specifics Here at Home
- The church is a base for prayer, prayer, prayer
- The church has made a commitment for substantial financial ownership of the field church planting work.
- The church is actively engaged in the mobilization of church members for going and sending.
- The church provides partial salary for a professional people group advocate.
- The church offers sponsorship of the Annual Network Consultation.
Ingredients for Success
- Humility on both sides. Philippians 2:1-11.
- Confidence in each other is the foundation of trust to get through good and bad times.
- Inclusiveness. There is a need to include other churches and individuals. No one can predict how Jesus, the Lord of the Harvest is going to raise up people. Jesus is the focus and gets the glory. Its important to join hands to accomplish the task.
- Security. It may be crucial to develop code names for the agency, unreached people, and Field Missionaries. Code names are used even within the church. Only a smaller number of individuals will have a need to know the details.
- Discipleship. The church asks, "What does God want to do with the people in the congregation and how can he use them to impact the unreached people?"
- Cooperation with an agency allows the church to be involved in church planting without 'reinventing the wheel'.
Lessons for the Agency
- Church partnerships create a new set of challenges causing agencies to be more accountable and stronger.
- Church partnerships move slowly.
- Partnering with a church pays off in the long run because there's a transformation of the person in the pew.
- Commit to deal with each other with integrity and directness. Be honest and open.
- This agency prays for the unreached peoples and when God raises someone with a commitment, then they respond to it.
Lessons for the Church
- Start on a small scale. Don't try to do too much at once or start too big.
- In this partnership, the church connected and committed to the field before developing a relationship with the agency.
- Perseverance is necessary because: Personnel attrition will happen. Not all workers in whom you invest will remain on the field. Conversions among the unreached people may take years.