Partnership through community connections
We have different kinds of partnerships with churches. One of our closer partners is a Presbyterian church from our nearby city.
How did that come about?
We send our son to a kindergarten (pre-school) where another parent from The Gideons offered to share about their ministry in churches.
We messaged him, “OK, please come.”
He arranged for another Gideon member, brother Wang, to come and share. Brother Wang is also a deacon from the city Presbyterian church, but he lives in our township. He came to share and expected us to give donations to the Gideons, which we did. But he saw we had only two families (us and a local family) so he gave to us too. That’s how a personal relationship started.
Later, we started praying and shared our vision: to see a house church in every village, and disciples in every family. He too had the same vision. We visited each other a few more times and once asked, “Brother Wang, have you ever thought of opening your house as the weekly gathering for your village?”
He thought about it with his family, and said “Yes.”
He invited me to his church small group a couple times. Yes, it’s similar to a house church, but the if he were to start one in his house it would have to have a lot more Bible content. He named the group Dongmen grace group. We invited non believers from the village to the group, as well as elders and members from the Presbyterian church. We also got to know the church pastor and his family. The pastor now wants to endorse our partnership, including financial giving to the ministry. And so we have a partnership with the church.
Partnership put on hold
The second example is an Evangelical Formosan Church. How did that come about?
The pastor of the EFC church had a relationship with OMF before I was in Puxin and he knew about our work. One day he called me, saying, “I’m the pastor from the Formosan church. I want to take over your ministry in Puxin.”
So I asked, “Ok. What does that entail?”
He gave me some options, and we arranged a time to meet. The process was stressful, and I spent quite a bit of time praying and consulting OMF seniors before and after our meeting with the Formosan pastor. Together we decided to have a time of prayer on some Saturday mornings, and to do school ministry together. We wanted to see the level of commitment the pastor and his church had for our township. After a year, the pastor and church could not commit to the township, so this partnership has been put on hold.
What does partnership entail?
In short, partnership entails a lot of communication: phone calls, messages, face to face meetings, coordinating time, places and tasks. It also involves talking to third parties at school or other ministry staff on behalf of the pastor, etc. This sort of communication may be mostly work related, but by working on small things together, the locals can decide how much trust we have with each other.
– Jason Tam, Puxin Township, Changhua County