The Upstream Collective is a group of folks I believe in BIG TIME. They spend their energy trying to help the American Church engage in long-term global city relationships that includes the sending of people to cultivate the Gospel there in those cultures while disorienting and reorienting the very ways they do mission back home. Well, I also believe BIG TIME in my friend Billy Mitchell, who wrote a great article for the Upstream Collective recently entitled “Sister Cities andGlobal Partnership.” I wanted to share it with you today as a “Cultivating Daily unto the Nations” post. Hope it encourages you as we together are cultivating the love of the near Jesus unto the nations.
Sister Cities and Global Partnerships
Right now a popular phrase is, “the 99 percent.” The Occupy Movement uses this to label the masses in the United States that don’t have most of the wealth or aren’t making the top financial decisions. This article isn’t about the Occupy Movement, but a similar type of “1 percent” among churches in America.
Go around the country and you see very few churches making long-term, fruitful, global impact. Some churches give financially into a large pool, but have no hands-on contact with global engagement. Many churches say they are too small. Some say they don’t have the resources. Others say they desperately want to be as globally connected as many large churches, but don’t know how. How can we get the 99 percent effectively engaged globally?
No doubt, we need a varied approach, but one strategy is to use a natural rhythm right in front of us. Many of our U.S. cities have Sister Cities through local governments. These Sister Cities are set up to do exactly what we long for–develop long-term relationships through the multiple domains of two cities. These domains can include education, art, humanitarian work, law, business and history. What an opportunity! Artists in Nashville passionate about reproducing disciples for Jesus can connect with, walk with and speak the language of art with artists in Madrid. The same goes for our disciple-making elementary school teachers, business leaders, etc.
Put practical feet on this great concept by finding those in your city who are passionate about a laser-focused, long-term global partnership with a city for the Kingdom’s sake. This might start with people in your church family, but does not need to be restricted to them; this is about the church of your city advancing the Kingdom in a global city.
Next, focus on living out Phil. 2:3-4 as you learn, pray and love.
- How can your cooperation of local churches in the United States LEARN from the other global city about transforming a city/region for Jesus?
- How can you PRAY for the other city and never expect anything in return?
- How can you LOVE on the global city, on their terms?
Your cooperative would be living out what it means to simply put the needs and interests of others ahead of yourselves.
The natural question people will continue to bring up in your church and city is, “What is in this for us?” The beauty of Christ’s Kingdom and this approach is how it’s so unnatural. Partner with your Sister City and expect nothing in return. Lavish love on them to see “on earth as it is in heaven” in their city. What greater reward can there be?
Written by Billy Mitchell. Billy is a church-planting strategist in St. Petersburg, Fla. Click here to see it on the Upstream Collective blog.