Building Partnerships in Missions

Today we're featuring a guest post from our friend Callie Priest. Callie is the Coordinator of Global Partnership at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL. Today she's sharing with us how you as a leader, whether on a staff or a volunteer, can mobilize your students for global mission through building partnerships. Enjoy!

Phillippians 1:3-5  “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”

I used to have a pillowcase that had this Scripture reference monogrammed on it.  A friend of mine had given it to me as a graduation gift from high school.  While the sentiment of thanking God every time you think of a friend is good, I’m not quite sure it embodies the fullness of Paul’s point.

Paul is talking to his friends in Phillipi, this gathered group of believers who love Paul.  They are his people. As he went on his missionary journey they sent him resources, prayed for him, wrote letters, sent short-term teams to serve with him, and were with him in the gospel from the first day. He LOVES them. They LOVE him.  

And they are UNITED for one thing – the spread of the gospel.

This is a picture of partnership.  This is THE picture of how we need partners in the gospel to advance the kingdom. We need the church, we need missionaries, and we need field partners and organizations all throughout the world to help in this great task of making disciples among all nations.

This is so we can labor together, yes, but also so we can bless one another through our shared resources (you have different gifts than I do), as well as modeling the gospel in community and putting the good news of Christ on display throughout the global church.  

So….developing good kingdom partnerships is key to the success of mobilizing students to participate in missions. Here are a few things to think through when deciding on where and who to partner with:

Know what God has called your group to do:  

Let’s be honest, there are a lot of mission opportunities out there.  The reality of over 4 Billion people in our world without the gospel, or the millions of people without clean drinking water, or the thousands of persecuted brothers and sisters in the world can make it hard to lean in to one thing.  But do it.  Focus.

The first step is to pray and ask the Father to show you where your students need to serve to advance the gospel.  What needs exist around you?  

The second step is to evaluate what gifts and resources your students have.  Put all of these together and ask the Lord to affirm where he is calling your group by giving you a partner who can help you accomplish these things.

“He who aims at nothing hits it every time”  Get a Strategy.

Now that you have a focus, it’s time to strategize.  We have a tendency to jump on board with new and trendy movements.  And believe me there are tons of them. I would encourage you to think through a strategy for your students.  Look at a map of the world or a map of your city then ask a few questions:  

Where is lostness?  Where is poverty?  Where can the church be strengthened?  

The answers to these questions should drive your strategy. The formed strategy should then drive where you pick a partner.

Resources to help in this process:

Global Status of Evangelical Christianity Map

Operation World 

Partner with those whose main Focus is the Gospel

If we are meeting needs without sharing the gospel and pointing people to Christ, then we are missing the target.  Look for a partner who has the Gospel as the purpose for everything they do.  My pastor used to say, “God forbid we give a cup of water to a person on their way to hell”.  

Look for partners who are meeting both urgent physical needs and urgent spiritual needs, and make sure the hope they talk about is not what they can do for people, but Christ.  Do research, ask questions, and physically go see the work of the partner.  After that you make sure your missions and strategy align.

Partner with those who make much of the Local Church

We believe the Church is the agent in which God will accomplish his mission (Matthew 28:19).  So we must look for strong partners who are in the church, strengthening the church, and establishing the church where it does not exist.  Let’s say a lady walks into the local food bank ministry, she hears the gospel, and believes.  Awesome! What happens next?  Is that ministry going to disciple her?  

The picture in the book of Acts is that the Lord added to the numbers of those who were believing…and they gathered together...the church.  In a perfect scenario this ministry would either be an extension of the church or have a strong partnership with a local church who would receive this new sister.  These are patterns you will want to look for in a strong partner – both locally and globally.

This may seem like a lot.  But the cool part is that the Holy Spirit has empowered us (Acts 1:6-8), normal folks (Acts 4:12-13) to participate in his mission.  And the other cool thing is that we know he will accomplish this mission (Rev. 5:9-10).  Today, you have the opportunity to mobilize students to participate in this mission and help them connect the blessing of their salvation with the purpose of their salvation – to make his name known to all nations.  This is what Paul was doing when he partnered with the church in Philipi. - Callie 

Birmingham native. Auburn alum. Loves Auburn football. Travels the world. Loves the lake. Works on the global team at Brook Hills.