Today OM is working in over 110 countries around the world. Our work varies from country to country both in size and in application but always we are following Jesus mandate of bringing Good News to the poor and least reached. One of the most exciting aspects of our work is to partner with churches to help them fulfill THEIR vision to reach the poor and least reached of our world and to see the transformation this can bring, not only on the ‘field’ but also in the supporting churches here in the UK. How does a partnership start?
Like most partnerships it starts with talking! We like to talk with representatives of the church (this could be the Pastor, Mission Secretary or others) to listen to how God is leading them. It may be that they feel led to be involved in a particular country or a particular aspect of the work. Maybe they want to send a short-term mission team or support a full time worker with OM. We will then try to link them with a ministry or project which helps them fulfill their vision. Sometimes to help with this we will arrange a Vision Trip which allows representatives from the church to see the ministry and discern how God is leading them. A member of the Partner Development Team will work with the church through this process. What does partnership look like?
A partnership between OM and a local church can operate on a number of different levels but there are 3 main areas of partnership.
Pray – We want to see churches praying regularly for the work of OM around the world. Partner churches would include prayer for OM in their regular prayer meetings or hold special prayer times for OM.
How is the partnership maintained?
Give – A partner church could be supporting an OM project such as feeding refugees in a camp in Syria, a church planting team in France, or fuel for Logos Hope.
Partnership can also mean supporting individuals who are serving with OM around the world.
Go - OM provides many opportunities for short term mission trips for church teams which can have a significant impact on both the individuals who go and the church.
Sending someone out on OM for 6 months to 2 years or long term creates a great opportunity to build a partnership between a church and OM.
A Partner Development Manager will take responsibility for the relationship and help to agree how the partnership will be developed. They will provide the main point of contact between the church leadership and OM and be in regular contact.
After agreeing areas of partnership we will submit a proposal showing how the church can be involved with OM and how we can serve the church.
For example by providing regular updates on the project or ministry.
As the partnership develops we will continue to identify ways to build stronger links between OM and the church. If they are supporting a project or ministry we can arrange for a team to visit the field and experience for themselves what God is doing there. It is also often possible to have visits from leaders on the field and have them update the church personally on the work.
The benefits of partnership
Partnerships like this are hugely beneficial for both the field and the church. Each partnership is unique and gives both partners the opportunity to share their resources and use their gifts to help others.
The field is supported through the church’s prayer and intercession, finance and visits to the field.
The church will see a growing awareness of God’s kingdom and an increased focus on prayer and giving and a sense of deeper connection with the ministry or project that is being supported.
"Seeing God at work in another culture and context often serves to enlarge our vision of God and can inspire people for mission here at home."
Through partnership the UK Church is often able to mobilise the whole church in mission through prayer, giving and going. Seeing God at work in another culture and context often serves to enlarge our vision of God and can inspire people for mission here at home. The experience of mission can have significant impact in someone’s faith life, helping them mature and grow. In some cases short term trips can even lead to people hearing God’s call for long term service.
What is OM UK's Role?
Our role is to oversee the establishing, maintaining and developing of the partnership. This includes providing the UK church with an initial proposal; ensure that regular reports are fed back from the field; to facilitate vision and ministry trips; to channel and ensure correct allocation of funds and generally be the bridge between the UK church and the ‘field’. A good example of partnership is one which developed between OM UK and a church in Aberdeen. It started with a phone call from the pastor enquiring about the possibility of partnering with us to support our work in India. Some time later we visited the church with an OM leader from India who ignited the churches desire to support this country. Since then this partnership has grown and developed and mainly focuses on one area in India. The church have helped to build an assembly hall and classrooms for the school and community. They are now regular visitors to India to visit this ministry and offer assistance, support and encouragement. The pastor comments:
“The personal connection of so many of our people with the work in Lalganj has been tremendous! To date around 20 people from the church have visited Lalganj and over 60 people in the church sponsor the education of a child at the school. It has allowed us to demonstrate to our local community that our faith impacts our daily life. Some local schools have now joined with us to support the school in Lalganj.”
For more information about partnering with OM, Please Contact us:
OM UK Partner Development
Steve Packwood – Head of Partner Development
(t) 0141 552 7716