We’ve probably all heard the old adage: that to ‘assume’ things makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.
As our church has grown in experience, we’ve realised that, when we start new mission partnerships, we need to clarify our assumptions with our missionaries and their mission agencies. So we’ve developed a 3 way written agreement.
- The first page sets out what we are hoping to do as a sending church – praying, providing financial support, helping with pastoral care etc.
- The second page sets out what we are hoping our missionaries will do – working diligently, keeping in touch, alerting us about any serious issues etc.
- And the third page sets out what are hoping the mission agency will do – support and supervision, administering financial gifts, crisis management etc.
We have a draft partnership agreement, but it’s just a ‘starter for ten’ and is often adapted and personalised. When everyone’s happy with it, we all sign it and everyone keeps a copy. Then when we meet to review the partnership, or if problems arise, it’s a firm foundation to which we can refer.
Of course we’re not the only ones. For example, SIM have a similar agreement, but with 4 parts – for the church, the missionary, the UK agency office and the field office!
We’ve made it available on our website (www.allsouls.org/wmr) so that others can use of it – and we’re hoping to add more resources. It’s also a work in progress. Every year we amend and improve it, to reflect what we’ve learnt, and we welcome feedback (email us at firstname.lastname@example.org). As missions community it’s great when we can share resources, swap ideas and help one another grow.