Mission Networks: Connecting the Global Church
Do you have a vision to reach an unreached people group or a particular part of the world? If it is a God-sized vision, then it is a vision far too big for just one church or ministry to accomplish alone. It will take working together with others in the Body of Christ for real spiritual breakthroughs to occur.
In today’s increasingly interconnected world, mission networks are providing vital connecting points for like-minded leaders to find others who share a similar vision to collectively achieve the mission God has put on their hearts.
What is a mission network and how is it organized?
A network is born out of a vision to address a critical or strategic challenge that is beyond the scope of any single church or organization. Imagine aggregating the information and resources needed to reach a people group in North Africa with not one known believer, or an unreached Muslim country, or 4.3 billion oral learners – those are big vision challenges that will only be accomplished if God’s people work together!
Mission networks exist at local, regional, national and global levels. In recent years, many new networks have developed with a focus on specific people groups as well as critical issues like refugees, sports, digital media, oral learners and the major religious blocks such as Islam and Hinduism. If you have a passion for a particular place or issue, then it’s likely that a network of like-minded people exists – and if not, God may use you to catalyze a new network!
A mission network is usually an informal group made up of mission-minded individuals, organizations, churches, and donors who share a common vision. It may draw from across different cultures, theological perspectives and ministry methods, to bring people together with a wide range of expertise and access to information not available within a single organization. This group meets periodically to share updates, information, and ministry opportunities, and to mobilize prayer and resources and explore potential partnering.
How do I find a network focused on the place or issue I’m interested in?
While some networks are easy to find and have a public website, others are made up of people working in high-security areas of the world so they are nearly invisible and can only be found by intentionally asking others who may have relevant contacts. Even those that are less visible will usually welcome the participation of North American Churches or ministries with a desire to learn and contribute, and not just their own agendas.
One of the best places to start exploring what networks exist is the extensive list at www.LinkingGlobalVoices.com. If you cannot locate a network focused on the location or issues you’re interested in, you can contact the site developer Eldon Porter who is aware of many other networks besides those listed. visionSynergy is another great resource for partnership and network development and they also have contact with many mission networks: visionSynergy.net.
How do I get involved in a mission network?
One of the best ways to initially get connected to a network is to attend the annual or bi-annual consultation that many networks hold in different locations around the world. These events provide great opportunities to meet others who share a common vision, learn about the challenges and opportunities, explore what contributions you can make, and hear the remarkable stories of how God is at work in the particular area, people group, or issue on which the network is focused.
Participation in mission networks provide tremendous learning opportunities for North American leaders to build relationships and learn from our partners in the global South and East. The most important posture to take in a network is one of a servant oriented toward genuine listening to our brothers and sisters from the around the world from whom we have so much to learn.
Ultimately, a mission network is only as valuable as the contribution of its members. If you want to benefit from joining a network, then don’t plan to hang out on the edges, but step into the center and contribute! The more you engage in relationships and connections, the more opportunities for partnership you’ll have with like-minded people to achieve, by the Spirit’s empowering, that God-sized vision He has put on your hearts.
As men and women of Issachar, let’s commit to help strengthen collaboration within the body of Christ to help extend the reach of the Church!
Written b Kärin Primuth
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