Is your Vineyard church involved in a missions partnership yet? If not, why not? Perhaps you’ve run into roadblocks or you don’t know where to start. Maybe you think your church is too small or you don’t have the money? You’re not alone. But let’s not just leave it there. Let’s push into those hesitations.
Tim Mengler, the Pastor of Crystal Lake Vineyard in Illinois and the Partnership Leader for the Mozambique Partnership, has asked to share his story and experience with missions partnerships. Over the next several weeks, we will explore how he’s faced these struggles and overcome them.
You're never too small & it's never too early for missions
One of the most common comments I hear when talking about missions with other pastors is, "We are still too small," or "We just planted. It's too early." I continue to be amazed and even a little troubled by the number of Vineyard churches that are not involved in a missions partnership, and not just small churches. (When I say missions, I mean international missions). For some reason there seems to be this notion that your church needs to be 200 people before you can get involved in missions. I would like to suggest that you're never too small and it's never too early.
My church first got involved with missions in west Africa very early in our church plant and while we were still just 20 people. Then we joined our second missions partnership in east Africa when we were about 65 people. It's not about your size. I think it's easier to get involved in missions early. Then it just becomes a part of your DNA. Waiting until you are some specific size can actually make it harder because then it represents change, and change is always hard for people. Even if you are just starting out as a church plant, craft international missions into your vision and DNA. Make it who you are. After all, it is who God is and what He commanded us to do (Matt 28:19). By starting out with missions as part of your vision and DNA, then mission grows as you grow. If I had one thing to do over with our church plant, I would have started in missions even sooner than we did.
Let me also share some of the blessings we as a church have received from being involved in missions. We have actually had people join our church because of our involvement in missions. A few years ago, I had just returned from a missions trip to west Africa and I was doing a presentation to the congregation. We had first time visitors that Sunday who joined the church on the spot because they had grown up in Africa as missionary kids. They commented they had never seen a church with such a heart and passion for Africa. As I mentioned earlier, our first foray into missions was in west Africa. Slowly, over time God began to bring west Africans to our church. We now have three west African families as a part of our church family. What a rich blessing for us as a church family.
Being a part of a mission partnership and now a second partnership has only been a blessing to us. Honestly, I can't think of a single negative! In future posts I will also deal with other common concerns and objections. I will also share how our finances have been blessed beyond measure and how we have received so many other extraordinary blessings. Are you on mission with God?
Tim & Amy Mengler planted the Vineyard of Crystal Lake Illinois just outside Chicago in 2005. As a church their first foray into mission was with the Senegal partnership. Then toward the end of 2013 they were invited to join the work that God was doing in Mozambique. Tim and Amy took their first trip to Mozambique in June of 2014 and of course fell in love with the people and the nation of Mozambique. Tim now leads the U.S. side of this partnership.