We often hear great feedback about our churches efforts, both domestically and internationally as it pertains to missions. People often say, “You guys are doing such an awesome job! What’s your secret?”
Honestly, I think the one thing we might be good at is partnership. One church, one organization, one person does not have the all the answers, but we know that God does. He is using each one of us with our unique gifts to bring hope to a world that often seems hopeless. Even now as I look over our 2014 Missions Calendar, I see that everything we do is in partnership with someone else. A public school, a hospital, a church, an NGO, folks that have a vision to reach people in our community and in our world, people that we can come alongside to help bring Hope!
I think most churches struggle with this. Especially, Vineyard Churches, because Vineyard Churches are shakers and movers.
We get things done!
Honestly, this is one of the things I love about the Vineyard Movement!
But, we do need to be careful to not shake and move so much so that we are standing alone. It is interesting when you watch a running back in football shake and move his way around defenders in order to reach the goal line. And, when he crosses that threshold there is the victory dance! But, the victory is not his alone. What about the 10 other guys on the field that were blocking and running interference for him? It’s because of their gifts and abilities that he was able to cross the goal line.
Recently I was leading a team to Honduras. This team was made up of folks in our church who help sponsor 100 children through Compassion International. On the last day of our trip we had our ‘Fun Day’; this is the day that people on our team got to meet their sponsored child. On that day I saw what partnership means and the impact it can have. Here we had an organization, Compassion International who has a vision for child sponsorship, churches in Honduras that have a passion for kids, parents that desire to have a better life for their children, and individuals in New Orleans that have a heart to reach out and bring hope to children. All of these folks working together to bring hope to one child!
Each of the four groups above is critical to the development of children and is dependent on the other to succeed.
As we go into this New Year, we should take the time to step back and see who is blocking and running interference for us. Who are we blocking and running interference for?
Recently, I was talking to one of our partners and he said, “The harvest field is not this pretty field of flowers or grain that we all picture. The harvest field is messy! Kids being sold is messy, homelessness is messy, marriages falling apart is messy, but together we can help calm the chaos.
Together we can help calm the chaos!
Shawn Rich serves as Associate Pastor at Vineyard New Orleans. His responsibilities include domestic and international missions as well as overseeing the day-to-day operations of the church, which includes finances, HR, and benevolence.