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. We are exploring how he’s faced these struggles and overcome them.
This is part 4 of a 7-part series. Click on these links for previous releases:
- Part 1: You’re never too small & it’s never too early
- Part 2: Where do I start?
- Part 3: The issue of money
Won't it be a distraction?
Another common concern I hear is, “Won't this emphasis on missions be a distraction to what we are trying to do here in our city? We are just starting out, or we are struggling.” Of course, the answer is no. It will be a great advantage to your ministry here.
Through our work in east Africa in the nation of Mozambique, I have become good friends with one of our key leaders who goes by the nickname Savimbe. Savimbe has told me this story: Several years ago he went to a particular region in Mozambique to help plant a church. He stayed in this area for about three months sharing the Gospel ministering to people and working on building a grass hut-style church building. During this time, the only thing he had to eat was a certain kind of root that grew in this area. But you have to boil the root once, then throw out that water, and boil the root a second time in fresh water so that it is edible – otherwise the root is poisonous! Savimbe would go into the bush with only a machete' to cut branches and sticks to use building the church. He would sleep at night right next to the church in a small tent. One morning he awoke to the sound of a commotion and looked outside his tent to see that a bull elephant had trampled and destroyed the church he had worked three months building. In all my struggles I have never had it that bad or faced that kind of difficulty. This story always keeps me encouraged to keep going. I would have never heard that story if I had not heard it firsthand in the land where it occurred.
Quite honestly, our work in missions is what helps me get out of bed some mornings and to stayed focused. I know that we are a part of something that is so much bigger than our church in our city. I talk a lot about being on mission across the street and around the world. I think what we do around the world helps us stay focused on across the street and vice versa. I meet people on the street here in our town who would have no interest in church or a relationship with God, but if I start to talk to them about what we do in Africa they suddenly start to listen. They would want to see the church as nothing but a bunch of self-serving hypocrites, but when I tell them about our work in Africa it gives them pause. "A rich, white suburbanite going to the bush of Africa or the desert sands of Africa? What's with this guy?"
I firmly believe that if you get involved with international missions, your local church and mission will be more focused. The whole process just helps you think more clearly and strategically. It helps you get a bigger picture of the Kingdom of God and His mission across the street and around the world.
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.