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Missions Partnering with the Body of Christ

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By Mark Stebbins, The Navigators

How should we prioritize partnering with other missions’ sending organizations who want to recruit collegiate laborers to their work?

Every month or two I hear from campus staff wondering how to approach partnering with churches or other mission agencies in missions. Questions vary about doing mission trips together, working together on a global initiative, plat-forming a missions’ speaker, or handling requests from other works to have access to recruit our students.

Likewise, every few months I have friends from other works ask me how to appropriately approach Nav campus ministries to get their foot in the door. Invariably, I tell them that it will take time, trust, relating well to the staff, and proving to be a servant/partner. Those whom you welcome to explore partnership with now will likely be some of your closest lifelong friends, greatly enriching your experience within His Body in this life and the next!

Dawson Trotman, in the Big Dipper illustration that God gave him on an overseas mission trip, had an intentional vision for highly valuing and partnering with “other works.” He generously helped start and staff such notable organizations as Wycliffe Bible Translators, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, and others. That same spirit among organizations is needed today, although more difficult to achieve with modern pressures to differentiate and thrive as entities.

My advice is to lean into the blessing of friendships and partnerships with other parts of the Body of Christ. We are all one. Fight the inertia, and accept opportunities to fellowship, get to know, and hear the hearts of other works. A Wycliffe executive recently showed me a video of Jax STP participants visiting their facilities in Orlando. He was ebullient in his testimony of the mutual blessings received.

There is not a one-size-fits-all template for partnership with other mission sending organizations. These are usually built over time, through friendships, and according to local needs and preferences. It does seem to be a biblical imperative, however, for us not to be isolationists. A wealth of blessing awaits those willing to risk ongoing partnership trial and error.

I hope you will be an intentional sender to other works, encouraging some of your best laborers to go and contribute fruitfully in their parts of His Harvest, as God may lead. I hope you will be known as a champion for partnering with other organizations, exploring ways to make joint ownership of each other’s ministries authentic. I hope that we all will delight the heart of our Father in Heaven as we labor to joyfully help each other succeed in what He has called us all to do.

“…but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers. You are to help your brothers until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them….Joshua 1:14, 15


The Navigators, a Mission Nexus member, provided this article. Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.

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