A Reverse Mission Trip: When National Partnership Reaches Maturity
Most Christian missionaries partner with nationals. But like most words, “partner” can mean so many things!
When Live Global talks about partnering with nationals, we actually mean that the national Christian is the leader of their own ministry in their own cultural context. When we North Americans get involved it’s only because our national partner invited us, and we always serve under their leadership.
How Do You Develop National Partnerships?
How do you build a relationship with a national pastor or ministry leader? How do you know who to trust? We usually boil this down to one word: relationships. It takes being intentional over long periods of time and using technology to build your long distance friendship. We visit our national friends multiple times and bring multiple people along for good council. We ask God to give us wisdom about the relationship, culture, people, and next steps. It does take time to learn cultural differences and similarities to build a deep meaningful relationship.
One indicator that a national partnership has reach maturity is when the North Americans invite the national they work with to serve them, rather than the other way around. The partnership with Pastor João (John) and his wife after their reverse mission trip is one such example!
An Example of National Partnership
In the country of Guyana, South America, Christians are in the minority. But yet, there is a remnant there and God is working to build His church.
In His kindness, God provided the people of Guyana a mature Christian witness from neighboring Brazil. Pastor João (John) and his wife and family live in Guyana and serve the people there as a pastor, Christian leaders, and as trainers for new believers in Guyana. Their ministry includes leading a Bible institute, which helps fill an urgent need to raise up more well-trained pastors and leaders to lead and plant more Guyanese churches.
When the Partnership Reaches Maturity
Pastor John was able to travel to Michigan for what the church called “a reverse mission trip.” Rather than their church sending a team to serve Pastor John’s people, they invited Pastor John to come serve them. Pastor John was able to cast his vision for Guyana and a neighboring country.
“[People] were mesmerized by how well he spoke English and the photos and information he told us. Several people after the service asked about going on the next mission trip.”A Church Member
The message Pastor John’s wife sent afterwards was more than what was expected from this trip.
“I really thank God for this time that He provided for John to rest and have some fun. He was really in need of it. We are so blessed to have you guys in our lives, who care for our needs and show so much love. We are so encouraged by your faithfulness to God. God bless you.”
The whole church in Michigan is now passionate about their partnership with Pastor John in Guyana. Many are ready to travel to South America to assist and equip Pastor John in his vision for the lost people in his community and across the river to the neighboring country.