There are many priorities that we can easily build into the life of a local church culture. As a pastor, I juggle many of these often. And, I’ve found it difficult over time to clarify which priorities are worthy of my time and which ones aren’t. Enter God’s Word. God’s Word is meant to help pastors like me navigate how things are to be ordered in the church (1 Timothy 3:15). I came to a deep conviction from Scripture recently because an entire book of the Bible encourages churches to care for cross-cultural partners. Here’s the passage:
You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.  For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.  Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth. (3 John 6-8)
So, we took some steps at our local church to help support these who have gone out for the sake of the Name. These are ones who, by and large, are working in another culture to advance the good news among those who don’t know it.
Some things we’ve done:
1) Change your domain name so that it’s not “churchy.” We transitioned from crestviewbiblechurch.org to crestviewhutch.org to serve those who are in “forward” areas. Recently, I spoke at an agency that supports international partners and they told me that one thing churches could easily do would be to not list names on the website. I get it, right? We want our church people to know who these partners are. We’re assuming that our people are combing over our internet content consistently. And, for the most part, they’re not. We can find better ways to connect our people to our partners than through a webpage.
2) Develop relationships. I’ve tried, as a lead pastor, to visit each of our partners where they serve. There’s something unique that is stirred up by seeing them serve in their context. It’s been helpful to me in helping our people in praying, knowing their needs, and caring for them. But, I try to take every opportunity to deepen relationships. When we travel near then, I try to connect with them. When I learn that they’ll be in our area, we set up lunch or dinner and rope in our people to these connections. We try to get them to stay with our people for long stretches. We connect their hobbies to the hobbies of our people. You don’t have to overthink this, but you should probably think about this. Deepen these relationships.
3) Figure out your church’s part of Great Commission work. The best thing we’ve done as a church is to figure out what God has called us to do (mission) and how we go about doing it (values). We used my good friend Matthew Ellison and 16:15 to help facilitate this process, building out of Crestview’s history and how God has wired us for this cross-cultural work. Our people were energized and had a reason to develop relationships.
You’ve been given a role as a church (3 John 6-8 again!) to serve these partners well. So, consider how you might up your game in this regard. And, step in to this practice for the sake of His name and His glory among the nations.