An African leader drew an interesting picture to illustrate the relationship of Encompass with ministries in his region. It consisted of a very large tree, labeled “ENCOMPASS” and a series of saplings under its protective branches. The smaller plants carried the names of ministries with which we partner.
At a recent meeting with key African leaders, we proposed a different picture. Imagine with me, a master gardener who plants a fruitful tree. He assigns a group of workers the task of sharing its fruit and its seeds far and wide. Over time, new trees sprout and begin to produce their own fruit and seeds. Soon workers from those trees are carrying their rich produce to distant lands.
In our little parable, the master gardener is Christ, the fruitful trees are clusters of churches in different parts of the world, and the workers represent the staff of organizations like Encompass World Partners. In the measure in which those churches are fruitful and willing to share their resources with others, their workers are empowered to bring blessing to many.
One of the greatest cross-cultural workers described his role in these terms:
One should think about us this way—as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Now what is sought in stewards is that one be found faithful. 1 Cor. 4:12 (NET).
At Encompass, this picture is important to us for several reasons. First, we understand that our ability to bless others is directly related to the health and vision of the network of North American churches we serve. That’s why we are continuously seeking ways to serve you more effectively. Second, we understand that your resources are entrusted to us for the purpose of blessing others. We take seriously our responsibility as stewards of these resources.
As we launch a new year of global ministry, we want to pause and express how honored we are to serve as your cross-cultural workers. And we want to thank you for entrusting us with your resources – your prayers, your loved ones, and your finances.
Originally published in January 2014
by Dave Guiles