What Makes a Movement? Who is the Movement?
Last week I spent time in Haiti at the Sant Mouvman, the Center for Movement. The trip more visibly defined the difference between a missions trip and a partnered movement, although I admit sometimes these terms are used interchangeably.
I happened to be there during overlapping times in which our longest standing church partner (Grace Community Church from Mississauga, Canada) and our newest church partner (Mission Point Community Church from Warsaw, Indiana) where both there. It was a great experience these partnerships from both ends of the spectrum. On one hand, Grace Community Church was celebrating the two year anniversary of their partnering church in Labourdie and on the other hand, Mission Point Community Church was meeting their partnering pastor for the first time.
I love the idea of partnership as it sheds the idea of a “one and done” missions trip and promotes these things:
1. Investment and Ownership: CPR-3 is the vehicle that our partners drive. We encourage our partners to establish ownership over their week when they send teams in country and ownership of where their partnership is headed. They plan with their partnering churches and pastors about what would be most beneficial for their time. Last week Grace Community Church (Canada) invested in teaching seminars about marriage and sex outside of marriage, and purity last week because that’s something their partners asked for. Mission Point Community Church got to talk with their partnering pastor about what would be most beneficial moving forward and where they should start first in funding and projects.
2. Physical and Spiritual Resources: Jesus coupled physical miracles, healings, and resources with spiritual teachings and our partners get to do the same. Grace Fellowship Church provides medical care and checkups through medical personnel in their church on a regular basis to their partners in the Canaan village, Grace Community Church is learning about how they could best start a supply of water through the church in Labourdie so people don’t have to walk to the next town for drinking water. Through these long time investments, planning, regularity, and purposeful physical resources, the Gospel is shared and responded to.
3. Relationships: When I go to Haiti I get to see children that I first met four years ago as they continue to grow physically and spiritually. Travel with any of our partnering churches and you will see it is evident that they have ongoing and lasting relationships with children, adults, and leaders in their partnering churches as well as CPR-3 staff, tap-tap drivers and so on.
4. Sustainability: The person to reach your peers for the Gospel is you. As a 26 year old, I will most likely connect most effectively and share the Gospel with other twenty-somethings, my peers. Likewise, the best people to be sharing the Gospel with Haitians is other Haitians. Our partners get to share the Gospel when they send teams, but they also get plant a church and empower that church to be Christ’s presence in those villages/towns day in and day out. Going to Haiti for the sole purpose of handing out free items and hugging kids for a week is not sustainable, but investing in a church that is on the ground and seeing them gain members and start being self-sufficient is.
It’s always a joy to see our partners in action. They are the most vital part of the Movement and because of this they themselves are the Movement.