3 Key Principles that Guide us in Missions, by Ps. Paul
This blog post explains why we support who we support, and why we partner with who we partner with, in relation to our ReachOut program. This month of May 2017, we have embarked on a 4-week journey, hearing from some of the people and ministries that we partner with as a church both locally and abroad. For us to make a real difference, we need to be strategic with our partnerships and we have 3 key principles that guide us in this area.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE 1: We send out and support "missionaries".
We don't merely support projects. We support people. We don't necessarily support organizations, but we support the individuals who have heard God's call to "go" and have made the commitment to do whatever it takes to respond to that call.
We are committed to supporting and partnering with men and women who have a heart for unreached people and the communities they live in. In 2 Corinthians 5:18, Paul the apostle says that the ministry of reconciliation was given to "us" - not to an organization or a non-profit or a project, but to "us". When the Holy Spirit set about to expand the Kingdom of God and spread the Gospel from the church at Antioch, He spoke to the leaders and said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." The Holy Spirit didn't say, "Initiate a missions project." or, "Create an organization." He called on men (and women) and even singled them out by name.
E.M. Bounds said, "The church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men." And in the spirit of that quote, we committedly follow the principle that we will send out and support missionaries, not merely projects.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE 2: We champion the local church.
Studies and research show that the best way to engage a community towards long-term, Christ-centered transformation is still through the work of the local church. It always was, and always will be, the church's mandate to spread the Gospel in word and deed. I love how The Message Bible (in Ephesians 1:22-23) describes the centrality of the church in the way Christ continues to act and influence the world today, "At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ's body, in which He speaks and acts, by which He fills everything with His presence."
So our instinct and first inclination is to look to partnering with local churches beyond our cultural borders, or, at the very least, we will work with organizations who partner with local churches in the outworking of their development and welfare programs.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE 3: We partner with those we are in relationship with.
I think this principle can be expanded to say, We will continue to build strong relationships with those we are in partnership with. The idea behind this principle is we will support and partner with missionaries and local churches that we have a growing, mutually honouring, and kindred-spirited relationship with.
Practically speaking, this means that if we can't visit them at least once a year, then it's not much of a relationship. Conversely, we will make every effort to visit our partner missionaries and churches at least once a year.
So there they are! 3 guiding principles that I believe will help us make strategic decisions in local and global outreach. I believe with all my heart that our ReachOut program will have the blessing of God on it, and many lives and communities will be transformed in Jesus' name!