Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Jane and Jerrell work half the year with indigenous church leaders in the Ecuadorian rain forest and half the year as mission workers and educators in the United States. It's an unusual model and we asked what feedback they have heard. Here's what Jerrell had to say:
One bit of feedback that has been important for us in learning to work in partnership came from a pastor we work with, Clever Machiant. Visitors asked what North American missionaries can do to support him. He said, "You can sit down, while we stand up." Then he explained what he meant. He recalled Ecuador's past when foreign missionaries stood to preach, teach and lead, and local people would sit, listen and follow. But when these missionaries left, some of the churches collapsed due to a lack of leadership and a poor fit between North American worship and teaching styles and indigenous customs and ways of doing things.
Instead, by taking a seat and listening, the missionaries support indigenous leadership and learn a lot in the process. From Pastor Clever's perspective, the worst thing would be for North Americans to abandon them. Rather, he advocates working in partnership, North and South.
Following Jesus' model
by James R. Krabill
Jesus mentored disciples to mentor still other disciples. And this became the pattern for the early church. At Mennonite Mission Network, we are committed to practicing Jesus' model of mentoring disciples. In the words of Pastor Clever Machiant, we take "sitting down so others can stand up" seriously. Over the century-long history of our mission initiatives, this commitment has taken different forms in different places. Below are four examples of how Mission Network has done this. Sometimes, sitting means remaining and accompanying; other times, it has meant releasing and returning.
Launching village health ministries in Taiwan that today have matured and developed into the largest locally-run medical complex in the Anabaptist world.
Offering short-term mission and service programs for youth and young adults who today are serving the church in North America and around the world.
Planting churches in Colombia that are in turn assisting in the planting of new congregations in other
regions of Colombia, in Ecuador, and in Venezuela.
Partnering with local churches in Benin to start a Bible school for training church leaders, and then helping to fund additional education for a corps of local administrators and professors to run the school for the past 20 years.
Sitting down while others stand up
<img alt="Faith in Action" src="https://assets.mennonites.org/PublishingImages/2018/Beyond_FIA_C17-293_WEB_cover.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />