We had a remarkable experience at the Missio Nexus conference in Orlando, a gathering of 900 leaders in world mission. We experienced several divine encounters. For example, Cathy sat next to a person who said, “I came to this event to find people to partner with in Flint, MI, but where am I ever going to find someone like that?” Cathy said, “I’m the one—here is the name of someone I know who is in Flint and looking for potential partners.” Then, at another meeting, a mission committee person from Denver said she was looking for help with prison ministry, and Cathy gave her names from WI, PF, and the Cell Church. We had similar encounters with a First Nations ministry in Canada needing leadership training, and a ministry who trains churches to reach Muslims in the US.
I met David Garrison, President of Global Gates, a leading voice in church plant movements. Their ministry is like Completion Global in that they are targeting groups who have moved from other countries to US cities (diaspora). We are meeting with one of their leaders this week to see how to work together.
One of the exciting outcomes of this gathering was hearing the trends in world mission. The era of big organizations sending western missionaries is coming to an end. Several agencies are folding or combining because of the cost to support these mammoth enterprises. The growth in world evangelization is being led by smaller movements of people outside of North America.
The conversation around reaching diaspora is turning missions upside down. We came in to the week wondering if It was just a wild idea we had, but left the conference confirmed that diaspora approaches are at the center of world mission strategy.
The final area of emerging interest is partnership: Big agencies trying to secure support in their own “bubble” won’t work anymore. They must partner to survive, especially with local churches. The old adage for churches “pay, pray, and stay away” won’t fly any more. So the Completion Global idea of being a “match-maker” to bring ministries and workers together is on the cutting edge as well.
Next week, I go to a prison ministry association meeting where I am a board member and then we will come back to follow up on the many new contacts we made.
We are in the right track with our vision!