What comes to mind when you hear these words? Most of the time it has to do with a gift given us which we didn’t need or a garment that didn’t fit. If it’s at Christmas time you are wishing you didn’t have to say them as it means standing in long return lines explaining to store clerks why you need to return something.
To a Missionary these words are “Most Dreadful” as it means an interruption in ministry plans due to an unexpected reason or situation resulting in an unplanned trip home. Sometimes it occurs because of family needs, but most often due to financial issues.
Last week a Missionary friend of mine called to tell me they were having to make one of these “Un Necessary Returns” due to the loss of support while on the field. They were distraught at the situation and all the hassle and expense being caused by the situation.
But more than this, they were concerned for the future of their ministry, now having to return to the States to raise income. This truly is an “Un Necessary Return”.
Here2There Ministries is focused on a new concept for doing Missions called “Church Partnerships”. The main aim in this way of conducting Missions is to close the gap which exists between the Missionary in the field and all the Resources in the pews. We call it “turning ‘Supporters’ into ‘Partners’”. The idea of Partnership certainly isn’t a new one. It has been a part of our life fabric for generations, whether it comes in the form of a sports team, business deal, or friendship. The concept applied to Missions may be new, but the application is the same – That is two (or more) coming together with common interests and goals for the accomplishment of a greater good.
Applied to Missions it is a Church and a Missionary joining hands “In Partnership” to reach others for God’s Kingdom. This idea isn’t new, but doing it as “Partners” is. You see “Partners” watch out for the others best interest; make sure each is working in harmony toward the common goal; provides needed assistance at all times; gives liberally to help the other; never does anything to hurt the other; is concerned about all the needs of the other (not just work related); stays in constant communication with the other; serves in any way to meet the common goal together; is concerned in every way about the well being of the other; sees the relationship as being deeper than a contract. We could go on and on with this analogy. You get the point – Partnership is more than just someone sending a check, reading a prayer letter, visiting every few years, sending a monthly newsletter. It is everyone becoming integrally a part of the ministries of all involved parties and truly engaged in relationships which have the others at heart.
Here2There conducts Training Seminars for both Missionaries and Churches to teach how this “Church Partnership” concept works. Our next Training opportunity is April 24th at Fort Caroline Christian Church in Jacksonville. For more information about this and Here2There visit our website at here2there.org.
Church Partnership Lead