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Keeping Your Missions Partnership Healthy

You’re headed back home from an incredible mission trip and you want to maintain and keep up your partnership with your local host. But, how?  Here's our advice...

Ensure you have a game plan in place for communication with your host partner.

How will you stay in touch? If you are going through a missions organization, chances are, they have policies in place for continued communication. Ask them about it and respect the process they have in place. At Praying Pelican, we ask to remain the primary pipeline for communication, to protect our local pastors and our teams alike. 

Some tips if you do not have a missions organization to help you navigate communication: 

  • Don’t trust Google Translate. If you need translation done, find a native speaker who can help you translate messages. 
  • Utilize social media if you desire, or technology like video-calling to continue keeping up with the church! Skype into Sunday morning services, mission trip prep meetings and more!
  • Ensure your group knows that all requests for funds and future ministry plans are to be made between you and the local host (or your missions organization leadership). If a group member is speaking with another host church member about ministry plans, ask them to loop you and the host pastor in on the conversation so nothing is missed. 

Be honest and don’t make promises.

This is a big one - when your local pastor presents you with a vision or a need for their local community, resist the temptation to jump in with both feet and shout “yes”. First, take time to consult with your leadership or pastoral counsel, analyze the reality of raising the funds needed and then, present your commitment to your local partner. The very last thing you want to do is to make false promises or not be able to follow through once you’ve given your word. 

Ask in return!

Be sure that while you are serving and giving and supporting your local partner, that you are asking the same of them in return. Have a prayer request for your church? Ask their church body to pray for it. Preparing to purchase water filters for the community? Ask your host church to raise the funds for 10 filters, alongside your church. Lean on each other for support - that goes both ways and continually builds and solidifies partnership. 

Give your partner the space and freedom to say no.

So many times in missions, local pastors feel like they must make the mission team happy to keep them coming back each year. This is not healthy missions. Remember that this is a partnership, and the local partner is the leader for their community, church and vision. Everything you and your team do is under their leadership and guidance. Speak that truth out loud to them, as often as you feel necessary. We aren’t in the business of stifling the voice of local pastors - we are there to uplift and support. 

And if ever you feel lost or like you're losing ground, have an open and honest conversation with your local host about how to better the partnership. Chances are, they'll have awesome insight to give. 

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