A good church-field partnership takes work and lots of communication.
Read Effective Partnering: The Church and Cross-Cultural Worker On-Task Together, Part One (Case Study; The Cross-Cultural Worker’s Checklist).
The Church’s Checklist
1. Enlarge the church’s vision to include all nations. Initial steps might include a sermon series, a missional book or study, local outreach to internationals, or hosting a cross-cultural worker. The question is not if God wants you involved; the question is when and where.
2. Communicate. Talk to sending organizations. Reach out to church members’ cousins, acquaintances, etc. who are serving overseas. Attend a large church’s world missions conference or similar event and be intentional about spending one-on-one time with cross-cultural workers there.
3. Entertain the possibilities. Dream big; God can do it! What story connects with the heart of the church leaders and will motivate the church to respond in obedience? Is it Mexico or Mongolia? Israel or Indonesia? Deaf people? Muslim college students? European agnostics? Perhaps geography will be the key factor, but instead you may be drawn to a certain religion, culture, social condition, or special need. Do not question it or try to over-explain it. If God presses that group or place into your heart, there is a reason.
4. Communicate. Go on a vision trip or two and ask lots of questions. What role does the worker envision for partnership teams? What expectations does he or she have regarding the team’s level of engagement? Be honest about finances and feasibility, but know God may do far more than you currently expect through your church! If a connection is made, continue, but remember that not every church is suited for every field. We cannot force a partnership where God is …
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