A small group of mission team volunteers walk into a business with a dozen donuts and an invite to a new church plant. With smiles on their faces they give that gift to Mary, and invite her to come this Sunday to a service. Unbeknownst to them, God had been working on Mary’s heart for some time. She comes to church that next Sunday. A few weeks later she gives her heart to Christ and was baptized. As the Gospel transforms her life, she begins a path of discipleship, and service that literally changes her whole persona.
All because of a mission team, a smile, a box of donuts, and an invitation to come and hear about Jesus.
This summer, volunteers from all over the United States will make their way to Colorado. Arriving by planes, church buses and automobiles they will gather in cities across our state to help do what could not be done without their help. These volunteers will help do prayer walking, Vacation Bible School, sports camps, canvassing neighborhoods, community service projects, needed work to church buildings, and many other tasks. These jobs are done with the most important task being to love people in these cities and share the Gospel.
This all happens because of partnership. Sometimes that begins with friends and peers in ministry, other times it is because of strategic partnerships between Colorado Baptists and other state conventions or associations. Regardless of the reason, the incredible power of what can happen in a few strategic days of ministry, outreach, and evangelism is undeniable.
Church plants, revitalizations, and existing churches can all benefit from this influx of manpower, prayer, financial support, and strategic outreach. One of the incredible blessings of being a part of the Southern Baptist Convention is that we are 47,000 churches cooperating together. We do that financially through the Cooperative Program and missions’ offerings, but it is more than just money.
This summer, Connection Church Longmont will host mission teams that for one week will be a part of reaching our city with the love of Jesus and the message of the Gospel. They will wear shirts with our name, serve our city, and show God’s love to people. They will canvas neighborhoods that are filled with people far from God. Many of these people in our city are hurting, struggling, searching, floundering, and looking for answers. Without the help of strategic partners, it would literally take us years to even come close to engaging with the numbers of people we hope to connect with this summer.
As you think about the power of partnership, you may be asking what can you do or how can you get started?
We often skip over this part, but it is crucial and needed to know how to proceed. Pray for God to show you the most important needs you and your church have. Pray for God to make the right connections to the right partners. The worst thing you can do is connect your church to the wrong project and the wrong team. Ask God for discernment to know where He is leading.
What would you do if you had extra manpower, extra resources, and a strategic plan to do things in your community? I think identifying the needs of your community and developing a strategy and plan for how to meet them, is a vital step in planning outreach events. This will keep you from engaging with a mission team that wants to do something that will not connect with or meet the needs of your people and your city. Having a plan in place before you seek to connect with potential partners is key.
3. Ask for Help
One of the biggest mistakes we often make is trying to do this alone. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends, peers, and your ministry network for help. You might be surprised at how many are looking for opportunities to serve. Be clear about your plan and your strategy. Be honest about your needs, and see how the Lord provides.
God has blessed Colorado Baptists with a beautiful state and amazing people. Even so, there is also an incredible darkness. On our own, we could never bring enough light to Colorado. Gratefully, we are not alone in this battle, God is with us and as Ephesians 3:20 says, He can do more than we could ever ask or imagine. And, He has also blessed us with partners for the journey.
We are truly better together!