The key to partnerships in ministry
Larry Overholt, Missionary, Honduras
Partnerships allow us to accomplish more than would be possible if we were working independently of each other. The Teacher in Ecclesiastes gives wise advice on the value of collaborating with others: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor...” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 NIV) and “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12b NIV).
A good partnership improves over time when built on positive relationships. Any successful partnership in missions depends first on our right relationship with God. Most importantly, we must realize that “we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9). Our primary partnership is when we seek to do God’s will and not our own. All other partnerships depend on our love of God and our willingness to serve Him.
Looking back over our decades of missionary experience, many things have happened due to successful partnerships. Projects were developed, churches built, and relationships healed. All have depended on many people working together, forming lasting partnerships.
Work teams are an invaluable partnership to the ministry on the field. Team members contribute to building relationships in the communities where they come to help. The local nationals feel a deeper relationship with others and an increased partnership in the ministry when they have the opportunity to work alongside those who come on work teams. We have experienced that with church groups, university groups, and individuals who come to work with us.
The most obvious essential partnership is what takes place between missionaries and our support teams. Those partnerships require that both the missionary and donor be obedient to God’s calling for them to serve Him. Missionaries and their support team partnerships involve much more than economic support. Missionaries depend on prayer support. Both missionary and donor share in the joy of the harvest.
Partnerships with co-workers are an important part of working on the mission field. One of the most satisfying accomplishments as a missionary is to arrive at the point where both the missionary and national feel they are equal partners on the team.
Partnerships with universities and university students are necessary if we expect to carry the missionary momentum into the next generation. The university students often provide innovative suggestions and information that help us do our jobs better. They are also our best source for future missionaries.
A partnership that sometimes goes underappreciated is the vital partnership between missionaries on the field and those working in the home office, doing so many things that we are unable to list them all.
As missionaries, we are grateful for each partnership of which we have been a part.
Missions is not a solo job. Larry points out several partnerships you can take part in. Inspired from a few options in this article, pick one of the following ways to partner with Larry and Angie Overholt serving in Choluteca, Honduras:
1. GO—for a week or two and serve with the Overholts and the nationals in Honduras. Join a team at www.wgm.org/teams.
2. GIVE—a financial gift to help fund the ministry of Larry and Angie Overholt. Give online at www.wgm.org/overholt.
3. PRAY—for the WGM missionary staff and nationals as they work alongside each other. Pray that God will grant them wisdom, clear communication as they work together, and a love for each other that comes from a right relationship with God.