Take heart; God will lead you to the answers you are seeking. I’m reminded of an Os Guinness quote that hangs in my house, “We can’t always know ‘Why?”, but we can always trust the one who knows ‘Why?’.”
“Who should I partner with?” and “How do I choose a sending agency?” I want to dive into some of the biggest questions people ask when considering missions. There are some very common ways that people get connected with missions organizations. Maybe one is recommended to you by your church, a close friend who already served with an organization, or maybe you connected to a specific ministry that an agency supports overseas. Those are all good starting points for exploring who to partner with. Is it possible to go further in evaluating that agency? Well, if you are seeking the kind of alignment that will lead to a lasting partnership, one that enhances the work God has called you to do in missions, these 3 things are worth considering.
1 – Biblical Truth
Are your beliefs about the Bible in line with the agency you’re considering? Specifically, do you share the same doctrinal beliefs and convictions, ones you will pass on in your disciple-making? Sure, it’s easy to say Jesus and the gospel is all we need to form a partnership in ministry, but every agency has a statement of belief that its partners endorse. You’ll want to make sure you are not just familiar with it, but that you are in full agreement as you move towards collaborating in ministry.
Why does it matter? Two reasons. One, you do not want your sending organization to be Christian in name only. Secondly, harmony in this area means the enemy has one less tactic for destroying the good work that God wants to do in and through, you, as well as, in those you serve.
2 – Biblical Relationships
Are the “one anothers” we see in the Bible being practiced among the stateside staff and global workers? A great way to determine how an agency will relate with you comes from observing how the people in that agency relate with each other. Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples if you love one another.” Is the organization you’re considering reflecting that kind of love for one another?
Why does it matter? Jesus linked it to our witness to the world. It means everything. And what’s more, the emerging generation desires authentic relationships much more than previous generations. Duplicity won’t fly.
3 – Biblical Mission
Are you aware of how the agency seeks to makes disciples? Are their methods consistent with your own practice? At times, this area gets more weight than the others. That’s not bad, but it’s not the only factor to consider. Missional methods, passion, and style are all a part of the mix, and you’ll want to find a lot of synergy for it to be the right fit.
Why does it matter? Because some of the sharpest disagreements in ministry happen in this area, and because you can expect to be more effective when you’re on the same page.
Pursuing Biblical Truth, Biblical Relationships, and Biblical Mission is not a DIY project. The Great Commission is a DIT (Do-It-Together) project, and considering these factors will allow you to make your decision with confidence. It’s one more way that God can lead you towards the right fit in missions.
At Encompass, our mobilizers exist for this very reason — to guide you as you consider these questions and others. We are honored to be a part of the DIT project that God is doing to see people become fruitful in the harvest. Recently, we got an encouraging note from a friend who said, “I am in love with the way you guys approach global missions. Your passion for ‘Christ-centered’ mission just gets me pumped.” Praise God! Start a conversation with us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Ward is Director of Mobilization at Encompass World Partners. He is part of a team seeking to mobilize and equip people and churches who are following Jesus into the missional work he’s doing to make disciples of all nations. Email John and the team at email@example.com .
You might want to check out…
Our Commitment to Common Identity (http://charisalliance.org/english/documents.html)
Our Commitment to Common Mission (http://charisalliance.org/english/documents.html)