Each local church has the same mission from God regardless of the location or culture of that congregation. In essence, all churches are called to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19-20). While we have the creativity and wisdom to nuance how each church carries out this God-given mandate, multiplying disciples is the mission of the church. No church can be everywhere, but every church is called to make disciples of all nations. How is this possible? One practical way for every church to make disciples of all nations is by partnering well with missionaries who serve among the nations.
One of our IMB missionary partners helped develop what we call the 5 Ps of partnership. In other words, how can your church partner practically with missionaries who live among the nations in order for your church to be part of discipling all nations? While Southern Baptists are part of impacting all nations through our Cooperative Program giving, we also want to make personal connections with missionaries in order to put a “face” to Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, and, in our state, Eliza Broadus.
Here are 5 ways to partner with missionaries for global disciple-making:
- Prayer– This is where it all begins. No partnership should pursue any of the other four “Ps” without starting here. This is God’s work. The book of Acts describes the early church as being empowered through prayer (Acts 1:14). Developing a prayer strategy is essential for global impact.
- Pastoral– Often overlooked, pastoral (soul) care provides missionary longevity. The book of Acts describes how the early church provided encouragement for mission partners. (Acts 14:21-22). Paul intentionally encouraged his partners, knowing that ministry is a road filled with adversity.
- Project– Mission trips are what most people think of in terms of partnership. Project partners (local churches) should listen to their mission partners (missionaries), assisting in their existing platforms and identities to help and not hinder long-term work. As needed, churches can help missionaries accomplish much in disciple-making through mission trips, particularly as they assist them along the missionary task.
- People group/Place– The focus here is on the people group/place itself; that is, there is an understanding workers may come and go, but a long-term commitment to supporting a planting effort among a particular people group/place can take different forms and involve different people over time. The local church commits to that people group/place regardless of whether missionaries come or go.
- Pioneer– Perhaps the least common among these five, Pioneer Partners take the work on for themselves, mobilizing their own teams to directly engage in the long-term planting effort. Realizing that the need is greater than there is manpower, Pioneer Partners commit to enter a location themselves with the help of nearby missionaries.
If the Missions Mobilization Team of the KBC can help your church intentionally develop mission partnerships by thinking through the 5 Ps, please let us know (doug.william[email protected]). We are here to help.