Doing kingdom ministry together with cross-cultural friends made sense to me in theory when we first began with the Indonesia Partnership a decade ago. The paradigm of doing missions by cooperating with what God is already at work doing in a place with locals seemed to settle well in my spirit. However, when we began a decade ago, it was simply a theory to me. I hadn’t yet experienced the ups and downs of relational collaboration. But now that I have, I can’t imagine doing missions any other way!
We have the chance to experience cross-cultural kingdom ventures in a very relational and practical way inside Vineyard Missions partnerships (local US churches partnering to touch a nation together over an extended period of time). We get to do things together that we could not do alone. There are currently 12 US Vineyards partnering to work in Indonesia with superb, godly Indonesian leaders! Together we are seeing the formation of a self-supporting church-planting movement in this nation. And we are thrilled that our local church gets to play a role in what God is doing among our Indonesian friends.
When we pray, whether as individuals, a congregation or in a partnership meeting, we aren’t just praying for indigenous workers and leaders “over there” somewhere, but we are praying for our friends - friends we’ve laughed with, cried with, eaten new foods with, and collaborated with to advance of the Kingdom of God in their home country. It’s that relational foundation of a partnership that really moves our passion for missions to a deeper level.
When I fly with my team to Indonesia, I’m not only excited because we have the honor of seeing unreached people groups hear about Jesus, but I’m also excited because I get to visit with lifelong friends that I’ve made. They are friends who just happen to live in a different country.
It’s the Kingdom-friendship foundation that has also created an incredible momentum in our local church here in Southern California. Every person in our community that’s traveled to Indonesia in this last decade has come home with new friends. So, when they tell the stories of their trip, they are talking about friends, people they’ve totally fallen in love with. And, because of the technology we have at our fingertips, we get to stay in touch with our friends throughout the year until we visit in person again. When I share the stories of my trips, and I’m talking about my friends, there’s an emotion present that is contagious. People catch that passion, and they immediately start planning for when they, too, will get to go to Indonesia and build lasting friendships.
We experience the joys in these friendships, but because of the relational foundation, we also wear the weight relationally when things don’t go well. Just like a family relationship, when something is tense, or when communication has broken down, it affects the whole family. Everyone wears the burden. Partnerships carry that magnitude. When something goes awry with our friends in their home country, when feelings get hurt, when relationships are tarnished, we feel the emotional burden oceans away. That’s also, however, what makes relationships so rich. They are tested. They are deep. They are Kingdom!
I can’t encourage Vineyards enough to get involved with a partnership. It’s a Kingdom venture that will permeate the very fabric of your church! The Vineyard partnership paradigm of doing Kingdom ministry encourages forging deep friendships at a local level and regional/national level (among US Vineyards with similar passions) and on an international level. It doesn’t get better than this!
Luc Jackson is the former Ministry Pastor of Inland Vineyard Church in Corona, California. He is now a project engineer & Indonesia Partnership member.
Luc recently felt the Lord stirring him into the business world to be better equipped over time to be involved in missions through business channels. He wants to help support indigenous church planters to start local businesses and help support missions around the world. He is still at Inland but now vocationally works for a mechanical contracting firm as a Project Engineer. He says, "I guess when we ask the Lord to use us to fulfill the Great Commission however He wants, He takes us up on it, and we might end up in roles we never dreamed!"