Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Partnering in Missions

I’ve picked up a number of people writing about partnering on their mission blogs. The latest that I saw is: To Partner or Not To Partner that is the Question! When reading this post, I realised that there may be different ways to partner. What you find there is an informal type of partnership where an individual comes along and after some discussions the two of you decide to become partners in some kind of mission project. I have personally experienced wonderful blessing from this type of informal partnership. This is definitely something that I will write more about in the future.
What I am more interested in at this stage, is a formal type of partnership, where one congregation becomes a partner of another congregation (also known as “twinning”), mostly somewhere in the mission field, in order to assist the second congregation to work effectively. But I have often seen such partnerships failing. My guess is that these partnerships usually consist of one congregation giving and the other one receiving and after a while the exhilaration of doing something for the Lord dies down and eventually the partnership stops functioning.
In no way was this better illustrated to me than when I was once asked to facilitate a meeting on mission in a certain mainline church. The specific congregation, as the “mother” church, had been experiencing increasing tension with the “daughter” church in their area. This was a typical South African situation where white people were doing missionary work amongst black people. After spending some time in discussing various aspects of their missionary task, I asked the (predominantly white) group: “Do you really need the black Christians?” After some moments of embarrassed silence, one person had the courage to say openly: “To be quite honest, we do not need them and we do not need anything from them. We are doing quite fine on our own.”
Is there a better way, a more effective way of partnering or twinning which will be able to work for a long time. I would really welcome comments. Share your experiences. This is such a huge topic, that we can really spend time thinking through the various issues. Are you in such a partnership? Is it working? Why or why not?

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Thursday, May 24, 2007 - Posted by | Partnership, Theology

10 Comments »

  1. Now I remember how I found your blog, you linked to an old blog that my buddy Dougald and I tried to keep up!!!

    Partnering or “twinning”, good way to put it!

    Comment by wlh | Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Reply

  2. How can we do this without creating dependency? That’s the ultimate struggle, right?

    Comment by wlh | Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Reply

  3. “Twinning” is the concept you get when two cities from different parts of the world make some kind of agreement where they will become “sister-cities”. Personally I still like to speak of partnerships, but it has gained a negative connotation which may be misunderstood. I am still struggling about the issue of “creating dependency”. I am just on the point of finishing Schwartz’s book “When Charity destroys Dignity” and will be blogging about it within the next day or two.
    I am of the opinion that it is possible to “partner” in such a way that both parties gain something. Perhaps I need to blog about this topic again and share my thoughts there. I think one of the mistakes made is that partnerships are mostly about money. But there is so much more that we can share and that can be shared by both parties. And I believe that this is the secret which we have to search for.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Reply

  4. having been brought up in the urban informal settlement in Nairobi kenya, where i still live, i wish to state that the greatest challange in partinership as pointed out is whether it adds value to the person or degrades the person.
    most peoople who are said to benefit from partinership at times end up been disempowered- creation of depedency- the big challange is if this can be overcomed.
    Anto

    Comment by Njoroge | Monday, May 18, 2009 | Reply

  5. Njoroge, i absolutely agree with you and I am so aware of this danger. I would deeply appreciate it if you could share some advice in a comment on how we could prevent partnership from disempowering those we want to partner with. We need to hear this from someone like yourself.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Monday, May 18, 2009 | Reply

  6. […] Partnering in Missions […]

    Pingback by Ending a Mission Partnership « Mission Issues | Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Reply

  7. I see no real reason why this should not work fine if we remember the goal. If the goal is for one church to assist the other until it becomes self sufficient; or if one church is funding the work of the other church. This latter is the type of partnership I am seeking for the ministry I am advocating for in Salem, India.

    These folks are working so hard, 24/7, to bring in children from impoverished circumstances, to feed, clothe and send to school, to teach about Jesus; to take the Gospel into outlying villages, and establish churches, paying small salaries to the missionaries or pastors and oftentimes their families; furnishing bicycles or motor bikes for the missionary/pastors; carrying the “Jesus Film” to these vilalges; working with the new believers; ministering to lepers on a regular basis; holding Bible studies for new preachers; supplying Bibles to the children, adults and missionar/pastors in their languages. In other words, one church is doing the “hands on” or “dirty work” while the other church is sending the funds for all the “workers in the fields…”, for supplies and expenses.

    Their goal is to become self sufficient as far as running the orphanage; raising crops and farm animals. But, as life will have it, there will always be need for financial help, and it will only become more and more necessary.

    I am praying that we who have been given much will be faithful to share it with our poor brothers and sisters; as our world is turning, we may not be able to share someday…we may be the ones in need of help. God will have His justice.

    Comment by Glenda | Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Reply

  8. Concerning the article on Affluent Missionaries…I had not idea these kind of people still existed !

    Thank God, at this point in my life, I don’t know any of these people ! Evidently, Christ has not worked His work in them…they only have some kind of “social justice” mentality rather than the servent mentality that is born into those who are, as Jesus said, “born again”; “old things (human nature) has passed away, behold, all things have become new…”. Although we may still fail, and still have to struggle with our flesh, our hearts are always humble and we cannot but help relate to the disadvantaged, sincerely. This is not because of any innate human heritage, that is what must pass away…any dependence or skill we can claim is something WE possesed and just found a way to exercise it. It is the life of Christ in us…and if He is not in us, we will be be affluent missionaries…and poor servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Comment by Glenda | Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Reply

  9. please contact me with regards to EE3 training

    Comment by Lionel Botha | Friday, April 30, 2010 | Reply

  10. I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!

    Comment by forex charts | Tuesday, May 26, 2015 | Reply


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