It’s been over a year since three OC mobilization centers (Singapore, Philippines, and United States) sat down with the Myanmar Baptist Convention (MBC) to listen to their vision. OC and the MBC have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding, officially documenting the partnership.
Rich Henderson, James Cantoria (with OC’s Philippine Challenge), David Lim (OC Singapore), David Walker and Eric Smith (OC US-MC) recently traveled to Myanmar to meet with 38 leaders of the MBC, two representatives from each state, to sign the memorandum and to plan for its implantation.
Rich and James explained OC’s church coaching network, a program that helps church planters come together to receive mentorship from both experienced church planters and peers. “It’s the concept of people meeting together and talking, being challenged, being re-energized, being sustained. That is the core of the network. We can link these meetings with church planters together, so that coaches can talk people through that process,” says Eric Smith.
“Train the trainer” in Church Planting
Eric spent time learning about how local churches send missionaries and the processes they use. He then talked to the group on biblical principles and practical suggestions of church planting from scripture.
The “train the trainer” process will go like this…
– While in Myanmar, the OC people met with the leaders of the church.
– The next step will be for those leaders to create coaching networks within their communities.
– Then the leaders need to pin point those that will become church planter coaches.
– Once that is completed, then an OC person will begin training those coaches.
– In addition, questions about how church planters may enter a new community need to be addressed and resolved.
Outlining a 5-year Plan
The beginning of the partnership will rely heavily on training, most of that training coming from the OC mobilization center in the Philippines, Philippine Challenge (PC). “We worked out a five-year plan where an OC person, from one of our mobilization centers, is going to visit them every two months for the next five years. It will be a graduated involvement,” says Eric. “So at the beginning, it will be heavy on the training side of things, and toward the end, it will be just simply be mentoring, coaching, and being available for answering questions when they face their challenges.”
Who Needs a New Church?
The MBC is focusing on the Bamar people, the largest people group in Myanmar and one of the largest unreached people groups in Southeast Asia. Their primary religion is Buddhism. OC is excited about this partnership and what the Lord has planned for the country of Myanmar.
Call to Prayer
“OC’s people at Philippine Challenge need to have eyes to see what the situation really is and what it is going to take to get people embedded into a new community,” says Eric. “I would ask people to pray that we would identify the right people, the best people to be church planter coaches. The whole goal is that it will be totally indigenous. It will operate on its own and won’t need any outside influence. We need the right people from the beginning so we can get the best results at the end.”
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