- Partnering with Nationals
Funding is only one piece of the partnership between indigenous missions and Western churches. There is no limit for what is possible.
Partners International found that one sure way to ignite a church missions conference is to invite an indigenous mission leader. Though most indigenous missionaries do not speak English, often their organizational leaders do. They can preach, speak in small groups and Sunday school classes, and stay in the homes of the people in the church. The first-hand stories of the frontline advance of the gospel, often at great sacrifice, and the relationships made with the people of the church, do a lot to increase mission vision.
Some churches choose to send some of their people to the field to see first-hand the work of the indigenous missionaries with whom they partner. This of course does much to deepen the relationship and to gain increased understanding of the local culture, including the hostilities against the gospel message that exist in the local context. Partners International is one of the agencies that helps arrange these types of trips.
Short term teams from the church can also be developed. When working with indigenous missionaries, there are often no other Westerners around. The teams generally are immersed into the local culture, which of course can be a great learning experience, but also takes a significant amount of adjustment!
Creative teams planning may be needed in places where the presence of Westerners could be dangerous to the local believers. And teams work best when a relationship has already been established, so that the team is going to serve people that their church is already involved with, and that the team members themselves already know something about.
It also helps the indigenous ministry to have a previous relationship with the church that is sending the team. If your church was asked to set up a one to two week ministry program, including all meals, housing, transportation, and some sight-seeing for a group coming from another country, you can imagine the work that would be involved! It is only fair for an indigenous ministry to expect that those sending a short-term team be committed to partnering with their local ministry beyond that one team visit. The goal would be to build on an existing relationship, not experiment with something that may or may not have lasting impact once the team goes home.
Next: The kind of partners non-westerner believers want.
Partners<> International is a recognized leader in partnering with indigenous Christian ministries in the non-Western world, linking resources from Christians in the West with Two-Thirds World agencies that minister to both physically and spiritually needy people.
Cooperation: Networking | Partnerships | Church Planting
AGP: Introduction | Adoption | Cooperation | IndividualInvolvement | Resources