Strategic relationships between U.S. Alliance churches (“Christians”) and Alliance workers overseas (“Missionaries”) are the foundation of who we are: The Christian & Missionary Alliance! Not only do personal, spiritual, and financial partnerships assist our IWs in accomplishing Kingdom work, these relationships also benefit the local church by mobilizing and revitalizing a passion for missions in the North American Church that ignites personal involvement. Furthermore, direct partnerships with Alliance workers can help relieve strain on the Great Commission Fund.
The best partnerships are organic, that is, they develop naturally from a church’s relationship with an international worker or workers. The relationship is developed to a deeper level as the church gets involved in some or all of the five partnership activities:
- Strategic Prayer
- Doing Our Share (Financial Resourcing)
- Caring for IW Partners
- Going There (Short-term Trips)
- Staying Aware (ongoing connections)
Partnerships tend to begin in one of three ways: 1) interest in a person or people group, 2) interest in a place, or 3) interest in a project. The relationship with the person or people usually holds the partnership together and makes it strong. When all three elements are involved in a partnership—a person, a place and a project—there is passion!
There may be three steps to developing partnership:
Step 1: Look and See (Vision Trip)
This may lead to a deeper cross-cultural commitment or may not.
Step 2: Work Teams
The primary objective is a hands-on experience. It may lead to a long term, deeper cross-cultural commitment.
Step 3: Partnership
A long-term commitment. Long-term positive effects can be measured by an increase in GCF giving and prayer support, as well as a growing relationship with the partner.
Partnerships can initiated by district missions mobilizers, IWs, field leaders, clusters of local churches, pastors, and/or local missions team leaders. That’s you!
Questions to Ask
Some questions to ask in considering where to partner and with whom:
- Do we already have a relationship connection with an international worker who we’d like to develop deeper ties with?
- Is there an international worker who really connected with us while touring in our church?
- Is there a region of the world we’re particularly interested in?
- Does our church have a special kind of outreach that might be similar to something being done overseas?
- What are the demographics of our church (the kinds of people and their special interests) that can inform what kind of overseas ministry might really click with us?
Some Things to Remember
There are three players or actors in a healthy cross-cultural partnership:
- the sending church or group
- the Alliance IW or team
- the Alliance national church in the host country (where the church has been developed)
You can “partner” without having a defined “partnership”. Partnering does NOT mean that you MUST make short-term trips or make huge financial contributions. Any church, no matter how small, the age of the people in the congregation or their economic situation can partner. Do the partnership activities that you are able to do! Or be creative and work together as a cluster of churches with one or two other churches with connections to the IW or field you connect with, enabling you to possibly make a trip or contribute more than you could as one congregation alone.
Short-term trips, when planned in coordination with your international worker partner and in conjunction with their field or team strategy, can be very helpful and encouraging for both the IW and your church. Learn more.
International Workers from the Central District
View a list of International Workers sent from the Central District of The Alliance at CMAlliance.org/district/central.
Additional information about this topic is available in the printed (or PDF) version of the Handbook. It is excluded from the online version for security reasons. To request a printed (or PDF) copy of the Handbook, contact the district Missions Mobilizers.