Team affiliations are often held with great enthusiasm and strong opinions. Yet for all the differences we find as we talk sports, the degree of like-mindedness we share with those we visit proves a stark contrast when it comes to far more consequential matters of ministry and missions.
I can understand the challenge missionaries face in trying to identify like-minded ministries. Our inclination is to avoid discussing theology and ministry philosophy too deeply with churches lest we uncover differences and thus take the focus off a potential missions partnership. Churches (and missionaries) are willing to allow a certain level of disagreement, often proportionate to the level of support. Whether this thinking is acknowledged or not, it is certainly easier to support a missionary for 1% and not ask many questions than it is to partner with them at 10% and overlook doctrinal differences. With our goal of developing a small core of partnering churches it is imperative that we do take time to ask the deeper questions and even willingly discuss differences. We have been encouraged by the number of like-minded ministries we’ve had meetings with already and so we continue to seek for substantial, though fewer partnerships. We pray that the long term benefits will make the extra effort worthwhile, both for us and for our supporting churches. And we believe there are more churches thinking this way as well. It is these that we desire to Identify, Connect, Develop and Pray toward life-long partnership.