- Partnering with Nationals
Some churches are finding that forming a partnership with a sister-church in a restricted country is a way to stir up mission interest in the baby-boomer generation and give them opportunity for involvement on a personal level.
Issachar, a missions support agency, believes the problems of access to restricted people, as well as language and cultural barriers, can be counteracted by a link between western churches and Two-Thirds World churches in those areas. The churches in turn need help with training, materials and finances. By bringing leaders and lay people of the two churches together through visits back and forth, it is envisioned that each would learn from and pray for the other. Eventually the two churches would cooperate in an outreach program. The mission experience and vision of a western church is one of the prime contributions it could make to its sister church. In the meantime, the western church benefits tremendously from the interaction with Christians who have suffered and lived in a society hostile to Christianity.
Another sister-church organization, ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times), encourages correspondence between members of the two churches and sets out careful guidelines to avoid misunderstandings or politically sensitive issues. But ASSIST believes strongly that the western partner not only pray for the partner church, but supply part of its needs. Churches in Cuba, for example, have almost no access to Christian literature; pastors have few study books. Many churches meet in homes which have no pews for seating. Pastors have no means of transportation. ASSIST encourages donors to send money to the mission rather than directly to the sister church. This method ensures more equitable distribution and helps to avoid the problem of dependence and paternalism.
Both sister-church programs are convinced that the western churches benefit from the prayers of their sister church and experience spiritual growth, especially as visitors have the opportunity to see faith and love grow under suffering and persecution. The "hands on" involvement results in greater mission awareness and commitment at home.
Until models have developed and been tested by time, questions as to the effectiveness of this method will continue to be raised and methods refined.
Click here for original documents from Partnership:<> the New Direction in World Evangelism by Lorry Lutz and Luis Bush, 1990, InterVarsity Press.
Cooperation: Networking | Partnerships | Church<> Planting
AGP: Introduction | Adoption | Cooperation | Individual<> Involvement | Resources