Our mission at Global Strategy is to walk alongside the local church globally, partnering with churches so they can give life to their communities.
But what does that mean? What does it look like to walk alongside the local church in eighty-eight countries? One of the challenges (and exciting parts) of our job is that walking alongside the church is different in every country we work, because every country has its own unique set of needs and context.
As we partner globally, here are a couple things we work to do in each situation: to listen and to build bridges.
First, our job is to listen. Listening creates healthy space so that people can share honestly about their successes and challenges. We listen to leaders share about ministry, their families, their joys and struggles. But our goal is to listen with the intent to understand. We hope to learn about the context and culture represented by these leaders. We ask questions. And we seek God’s guidance and direction as we listen.
Many times, as North Americans, we come in with our idea of what the challenges are in a community. We assume the issues others deal with are the same, or at least similar, to ones we encounter. And though we are all human, there are significant differences, making one-to-one comparisons impossible. So rather than expecting churches to function how we think they should, we follow the church’s lead to be culturally sensitive. In some countries, that means meeting in homes or coffee shops rather than a church building, and that may also mean meeting at different times of the week rather than on Sunday morning. This is all borne out of listening to the local leadership who know their context.
Second, we work to build bridges between different cultures and encourage relationships. We work to position ourselves as connectors to bring people to the same table, to allow them the opportunity to express their thoughts and dreams as a part of a united family. We’ve seen this in things like the regional fellowships connecting around the world. Many of us in North America may not be aware, but there are four regional fellowships meeting regularly to encourage one another: Asia-Pacific Conference, Inter-American Confraternity (Latin America), Caribbean-Atlantic Assembly, and the All-Africa Leaders Assembly. These are led by leaders from their respective regions who are working to unite across country borders, developing partnerships and encouraging one another.
The Church of God is growing and expanding around the world and, at Global Strategy, we have the joy of joining God in kingdom work around the world.