(Editor's note: This article is a supplement to our January 2011 issue on “The Power of Partnerships.”)
Matchmaking, Partnering, and Teamwork
When we hear what has happened through the Mission Africa initiatives which took place before Cape Town 2010, we know the Lord is indeed on the move.
Michael Cassidy, founder of African Enterprise (AE), called Mission Africa a “matchmaking initiative.” This matchmaking is reflected by teamwork and goes beyond simply networking. Networking can be seen as more of a joint business venture whereby each stakeholder pursues his or her own interests (occasionally with hidden agendas).
Matchmaking, however, as expressed through Mission Africa, is a reflection of the Body of Christ whereby partners physically come together on a mission to design, set up, proclaim the gospel, and follow up. In Mission Africa, we experienced that together, everyone doing their part, we can achieve more.
Ordinary men and women of God can achieve extraordinary results if we bring our individual assets and giftings to the table, share resources, and plan, pray, and engage in working together toward the fulfillment of a common purpose. God on the move rewards our efforts in advancing his kingdom.
Through teamwork, relationships, and appreciating each person’s skills, we can build up one another. This idea of teamwork is biblical. Amos 3:3 stipulates that two people cannot walk together unless they are agreed. Proverbs 27:17 says, “…as iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:19 rightly encourages, saying, “…as in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.”
Teamed up to work together in achieving mission helps us build up divine and sustainable relationships, while also committing to advancing the kingdom and responding to real physical needs.
The Apostle Paul uses the illustration of the physical body as representative of the Body of Christ. No single part can value itself while also being isolated. Nor will one part undermine other parts and still perform in a satisfactory way. The conjunction of every part of the body brings extraordinary life-giving outcomes.
Partnership Defines African Enterprise
When AE defines its mission as “evangelizing cities of Africa in Word and Deed in Partnership with the Church,” it is referring to establishing alliances such as the matchmaking experiences of Mission Africa. Through Mission Africa, African host organizations and partnering international evangelists and organizations came together to share the gospel in word and deed.
Matchmaking also applies in the context whereby local churches, denominations, and other faith-based organizations team up to conduct citywide missions aimed at reaching unreached people. Together these groups have worked, combining common goals, assets, and spiritual and material resources to advance the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and his kingdom.
Matchmaking in DRC
It is with the matchmaking framework in mind that AE co-hosted Mission Africa events in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo, in June 2010, and in Kinshasa/Maluku in August/September 2010.
In Kikwit, Emmanuel Maennlein, from the French organization France Evangelisation, teamed with me and leaders of ten denominations under the Bandundu provincial synod of the Church of Christ in Congo to proclaim the gospel in four main venues. These venues included an open-air gathering at the Baptist church (CUEBC/Pungu), the nursing college (ISTM/Kikwit), the education college (ISPK/Kikwit), and the urban prison of Kikwit.
Both word and deed evangelism took place as people gave their lives to Christ for the first time or rededicated their lives to him. Others received deliverance from spiritual bondage.
The Kikwit mayor attended the opening meeting and declared that it was the first time the church was able to bring together so many people and that none of the political parties had ever gathered such a crowd. Although the outreach took place the week the World Cup was launched in South Africa, the people were not distracted. Instead, the power of the gospel being preached with the anointing of the Holy Spirit was manifested with signs and miracles.
A total of thirty-one thousand people trusted in Christ during the five-day outreach.
In the prison, we brought food and soap to the prisoners and shared the gospel with the prison manager. If we are to see other “Josephs” (Genesis 48) coming out of prison transformed and ready to live lives in Christ, we must minister to them while they are in prison. Reaching out to these prisoners made us aware of their many sad stories, some who are suffering because of the unfair and corrupt justice system. This includes one woman who was sentenced to five years in prison without a proper trial. Seventy prisoners committed their lives to Christ.
At the education college, the university chaplain told us that the meetings were divine appointments. This was because the entire board of directors attended services at the Protestant University Chaplaincy and asked the chaplain to organize a special rally to open and dedicate the 2010-2011 academic year to the Lord. We were humbled by this request and gratefully participated in November 2010, during which three hundred students and twenty-five lecturers gave their lives to Christ.
One of the pastors who attended the leadership training facilitated by Maennlein said he felt he was renewed in his training. Books donated from the pack leadership project of the France Evangelisation helped us equip pastors in areas where they don’t usually have access to such basic literature and Bibles.
In Kinshasa/Maluku, the capital of DRC, we teamed up with Bishop Todd McGregory, the Anglican Bishop from Madagascar. Our meetings included leadership training, meetings with local dignitaries, evening preaching meetings at Carmel Church in Kinshasa, and open-air meetings gathering hundreds of people in Maluku, a less-served, semi-rural municipality in Kinshasa.
The closing rally in Kinshasa drew more than five thousand people to receive the message of the gospel. This was the culmination and a beautiful expression of the matchmaking initiatives we benefitted from in partnering with Cape Town 2010.
We are grateful to our international partners, including Maennlein, with whom we conducted a follow-up mission to Kikwit in November 2010. During this visit, we encouraged the church leadership who partnered with us in June 2010 and told them we are committed to undertaking other similar initiatives in DRC. We are also planning to join the training organized by France Evangelisation in Ouagadougou in May 2011.
The matchmaking experience for me as a hosting organization in the DRC was very fruitful. I commend this teamwork format, which gave a broader dimension to the partnership defined in our AE mission statement. I believe we are going to make a difference and maximize church growth and impact the cities of Africa through this model. Rebuilding the nation on ancient ruins (Isaiah 58:12-14) has been the theme we have used to address issues related to anti-corruption, governance, and care for venerable social strata.
It is about teamwork, not mere networking. It is the Lord’s mission and we are his servants as different parts of the body all perfectly joined together by his blood shared on the cross.
May God bless you as you seek to advance the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ beyond your own limits and constraints.