A good church-field partnership takes work and lots of communication.
Everyone agrees that we must work together to accomplish the task of Matthew 28:19-20 so that we may move closer to the end goal found in Matthew 24:14. Furthermore, we all know God did not give this task solely to missionaries or pastors.
In this post-modern world, many in the Church are ready and willing to go “to the ends of the earth”—at least for short periods of time. However, as I’ve mingled with both cross-cultural workers and church leadership, one recurring emotion surfaces: frustration. Some cross-cultural workers dread the next team’s arrival and some church leaders long for a vibrant, influential role in reaching the nations, but feel stymied by overseas personnel.
It does not have to be this way. A healthy partnership finds the cross-cultural worker actively anticipating and preparing for the short-term team. He or she prays that God will multiply his or her expectations, and trusts God to work—both among the people group and in the volunteers.
In the same partnership, the church body knows they play a strategic role in fulfilling God’s will for that community and area. They care little about costs and time because they are invested in the local people and God’s work among them. They trust the cross-cultural worker to create opportunities for sharing, and they are prepared to follow the Holy Spirit as far as he leads them.
A good church-field partnership is like a marriage. It takes work. It demands seemingly excessive amounts of communication, which leads to trust. And while it may not always be comfortable, there is a sense of ‘rightness’ on both sides. Below I examine a healthy church and cross-cultural worker partnership and offer a step-by-step guide …