Over the years as I’ve helped churches make connections with mission teams and partners, I’ve worked with many churches that had difficulty finding partners. They’re not impossible to partner with, as nothing is impossible for God (Luke 18:27), but they do have extra challenges. I would encourage pastors and churches seeking to go on mission, to work through these challenges with sensitivity and the power of Christ. Sometimes these churches are the ones who are most in need of partners!
The last 10-mile drive into Ivanhoe, NC, on Dec. 11, was not what we expected for our mission. It was flat, largely rural farmland, but evidence of poverty abounded. Broken-down buildings and trailer homes frequently interrupted the landscape. More subtly, there were signs of flooding. The ground was saturated and puddles flourished after the slightest of rain. Some boarded-up homes and buildings were clearly abandoned, while others had RVs parked outside with building materials stacked in the yard.
Many of our churches in New England understand that engagement in making disciples at home and abroad is essential for the health of the church. They express it through serving in and reaching their local communities for Christ, as well as connecting and partnering with other churches or plants throughout New England, the nation and the world.
The Lord has been reminding me lately about the connection between our worship and our works. So often I have seen the church in general being inclined far more to worship and spiritual formation than good works. In the book of James, he chided the church for not having balance in stating, “…faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17). We understand throughout all Scripture God’s directive for all to love Him is displayed in how we love others.