Theodore Williams, former president of the World Evangelical Association, once said, “We are in an era where the whole Church is ministering to the whole world.” This is viewed as healthy and desirable. It is both because of the advantages having people involved from different worldviews and different cultural perspectives that brings strength to the whole.
Partnership is a key value to One Challenge’s ministry around the world. Through the partnership of the Global Alliance (GA), OC has seen the Lord reach nations in ways never before thought possible. A recent example of this is in the partnership of three GA mobilization centers (MC) and an outside missionary society to promote church growth in the nation of Myanmar.
“The recent agreement with the Myanmar Baptist Conference (MBC) is an example of a good global partnership, because it is bringing the cross-cultural missions training experience of the Global Missionary Society of South Korea, together with the practical church planter coaching system developed in the Philippines, with the business for mission experience of Singapore, and the project management experience of the United States …in order to mobilize new cross-cultural missionaries from the tribal areas of Myanmar to begin new churches among the unreached people of southern Myanmar in an environment that is hostile to traditional mission,” says Global Missions Strategist Eric S. “(The partnership) utilizes the strengths of a number of different cultures and worldviews to present the gospel in a culturally relevant way to a people group that has been resistant to Christianity for centuries.”
Beginning as early as 2010, the OC mobilization center in Singapore became aware of a ministry need in the country of Myanmar. “Through some marvelous providence back in 2010, quiet meetings began to take place in Singapore that kindled our interest in assisting the church in Myanmar,” says Asia Area Catalyst Dave W. “Then on a vision trip in January of 2012 through special friends and advocates, I and OC Singapore Associate, Elder David L., began discussions with various leaders within the Myanmar Council of Churches (MCC).”
These discussions led to further developments, such as church planting seminars led by David W. and James C. from the Philippines. Stemming from that progress, further discussions began with the 5000-church Myanmar Baptist Convention (MBC) to discuss how the OC Global Alliance (OCGA) could assist in church planting and cross-cultural missionary training. “We have an agreement in principle that allows OCGA personnel to assist the 18 individual conventions and two directly affiliated churches that make up the whole of the MBC,” says Dave. “The Partnership Agreement opens the door but in a very real sense the work is just beginning. The MBC is large and very diverse with multiple ethnic groups making up the individual conferences of the main body. We hope to begin dialogue with the individual conferences to understand their context and vision to reach the majority people group.”
Dave said early on in the project that he and his partners knew the task would be too large for a small MC like Singapore to handle. “Having other MCs like Philippines and US in on this from the beginning is really important,” says Dave. “It was so exciting to see the synergy of the January 2013 team (US, Philippine, Singapore personnel) as we sat down with MBC leadership and listened to their vision. Each MC brought skills (discernment, connections, processing and perspectives on equipping) to the table to offer needed insight into the overall picture.”
Eric agreed that the synergy of the GA team was evident from the beginning, especially with the leadership of Dave W. A highlight was “watching Dave develop his relationship with the leaders of the MBC and bring the negotiation to fruition. We really do have a lot of talent in OC!” says Eric. “Another highlight is thinking together about the possibilities. Out of this project might come a clear strategy for the rapid deployment of church planter coaches in areas where disciple-making movements are taking place.”
Dave says the team’s sense of wholeness was greater than the sum of its parts. “The synergy of the team’s cooperation, processing and ‘reads’ on relational dynamics was a special thing to have a part in.”
- Pray for Heaven-sent patience for the MBC leaders as they work with OC.
- Pray for Heaven-sent forgiveness for the many misunderstandings that are sure to take place.
- Pray for Heaven-sent patience for OCGA personnel who are entering new cultures (both ethnic culture and church culture).
- Pray for Heaven-sent revival in the churches they are working with…a deepening sense of holiness and awe of God and the treasure of the gospel.
- Pray for Heaven-sent awakening among the majority people…hearts prepared and humbled, and hungry for the bread of the gospel and thirsty for the living water of the gospel.
- Pray for Heaven-sent spirit of sincere brotherly love among MBC and OCGA.
- Pray that God would be pleased to use the MBC as a holy vessel to bring revival to the other churches in Myanmar.
- Pray that the new political freedoms being experienced would pale when compared to the transformation and soul liberation that is the fruit of the gospel believed.