“This day will go down as one of the most significant days in this history of this church. This is the first time I can recall that we have ever had all the elders, ministers, and missions members together in the same room talking about the mission of God.” So said one of the elders from one of a larger churches of Christ in Tennessee a few years ago after going through a Renewing Your Mission’s Vision workshop. As they learned, the church is a single piece of cloth and clarifying our mission has implication not only for what we fund globally, but how we think about who we are and what we are called to do locally.
Another elder in another city said “I had no idea what all was involved in sending a missionary family to another country” at the end of a church equipping process. Their congregation was preparing to send one family on a team to serve as underground disciple-makers in a communist country. They knew this team would need more than money. They would need support of many kinds to work in the conditions they would face. As they learned what it meant to be more than funders and true partners in mission, they also learned many useful skills for working in their own city and how to support their local ministers. When the process began, the prospective missionaries were suspicious about trusting their supporting elders. When it was over, the missionaries said, “We can trust these people with anything.”
A missionary family had to be evacuated from a war zone and the couple’s marriage was about to come apart after the strain they had endured. The stress surfaced a series of issues they had previously swept under the rug. The husband and wife could not even travel together because of the strain. They were landing in DFW on different days and were going to be met by a couple of representatives from their supporting church. But those good men felt overwhelmed to deal with the issues that were landing in their lap. So, they called us and we sent a pair of professionals with years of experience to do the initial debrief and provide counsel to both the couple and the supporting church. Today that couple’s marriage has been salvaged and they are on a good path as their family continues to deal with the inevitable stress of re-entry.
A ministry with a drilling rig was set up to provide a water well per week in an area of Africa where water changes everything. Wherever they put a well, they also ended up with a church and a healthier community. But, how could they find the funding they needed? We knew of another ministry that had found a successful way to raise money for holistic water drilling ministry, but they couldn’t drill wells fast enough to keep up with their donations. Their donors were getting restless because of the backlog. We introduce the two and a beautiful marriage took place and pent up ministry resources blossomed into active mission.
We get all kinds of calls. The questions are diverse
“I think God may be calling me to be a missionary but how do I know? What do I do if he is?”
“We have some missionaries coming home after a couple of decades and we don’t know what they need or what is next for us. Can you help us end this ministry well and discern the right vision for what is next?”
“We aren’t sure the mission we are supporting is really doing what it should be. How do we evaluate it fairly?”
Those are just the questions that come from American churches. As global churches continues to grow much stronger and faster than the American church, we get regular requests for help from our international brothers and sisters to know how to partner well with Americans who tend to underestimate them and at times insult unknowingly. Americans often come across as cold and controlling despite having good, generous hearts.
Missions Resource Network was created to help autonomous congregations work well together and serve a mission that is bigger than any one church can do well alone. We don’t tell any church what to do. We are not the experts with all the answers. But, we do come along side churches and other missions ministries to provide the perspective they often need. We recommend resources, ask good questions, connect people of common interest, and facilitate wiser methods and better partnerships.
Forming in 1998 to help churches do missions better, MRN was established to do four things that were not being addressed adequately within our fellowship:
- Equip churches to be excellent sending and supporting congregations for global transformation.
- Train front-line workers who will advance the mission, help them form as teams, and get on the field.
- Provide missionary care resources for churches and missionaries before they are sent, as they serve, and when they return so that those who go are healthy, stay healthy, and come back healthy.
- Build networks and partnerships between congregations and ministries for greater strategic impact and less duplication.
We have trained missionary teams for every populated continent and work collaboratively with indigenously led churches around the world as well. In order to help churches, we have a staff of experienced missionaries and global church leaders. We have trained therapists with extensive global experience. We have directors of missions in Europe, Africa, and Asia who have lived on those continents for years and have trained and coached missionaries through the full life-cycle of their work. We have experienced church leaders who have worked international and domestically who can help churches understand the times, global trends, and the proper role for the American church today in a rapidly shifting global context.
The reality is that God’s mission is too big for us to do alone and too important not to do well. What God is doing in the Congo, Croatia, or Cambodia have great significance for what he wants to do on our continent as well. We can no longer assume that we know how to do church in America and just export our product to the rest of the world. Rather, we need to humble ourselves and learn from the global church and find our place with the universal church. American churches are filled with good people and many gifts and resources that the global church needs. But, the global church also has resources and gifts to share with us. Yet, without someone who is deeply connected to a global network, most churches will not be able to hear those voices or learn those lessons.
MRN is designed to stand in that gap. We are like a point guard in basketball. We don’t count our success by points scored but by assists given. We make it possible for others to work as a team by distributing the ball to the right players. We don’t call plays. That is the job of our coach Jesus. But, we do try to get the resources people need in their hands at the right time so they can succeed.
We are here to help churches. How can we help you?
If you would like to contact MRN for assistance with your congregation, mission work, or any other mission-related concerns you can contact them at this link – Contact MRN.