Ten years from now, what will be your church’s missional impact across the globe?
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Paul Roberts and Brian Rietvelt of Quest Fellowship in Garner, N.C. They are partnering with Food for the Hungry in Mentawai, Indonesia, to fulfill their church’s goal for impacting people worldwide.
“We had been trying for years to create a missional focus for our church and have a long-term relationship around the world,” said Paul, the lead pastor. “Food for the Hungry’s methodology of partnering a local church in the U.S. with a community around the world is what sparked my interest as a pastor. To be able to go into a community, start a partnership and know that 10 years down the road you’ve changed that community in every way—that was exciting for us.”
Discerning the call
Paul and Brian sensed that their church’s call was to go to one of the neediest areas in the world, no matter how remote.
“We wanted to reach a group of people that were difficult to reach,” said Brian, the church’s missional pastor. “Ben (our contact at Food for the Hungry) told us the story of a little island chain off the coast of Indonesia. We heard that one out of every 10 children will die before the age of 5. Those are horrendous numbers. It struck a chord.”
First steps in partnership
Quest Fellowship made the commitment to partner with Indonesia last year. They began their partnership by sharing the opportunity of child sponsorship on a Sunday morning. To date, more than 200 children have been sponsored in Mentawai.
But sponsorship is just the beginning. Last month, Brian and a church member journeyed to Mentawai to visit the community themselves. They met their sponsored children, families in the community, the local church, and Food for the Hungry staff who serve in Mentawai every day. In the future, the church will plan mission trips, special church events, and of course, more opportunities to sponsor children.
Brian is quick to point out that their partnership with Mentawai thrives because so many church members and attendees are personally involved.
“How excited would you be to get 90 percent of the people at your church participating in one thing together?” he asked. “With our partnership with FH, we have 90 to 95 percent of our people actively engaged in international missions through child sponsorship. Our people are not only sending, but praying and interacting with a foreign culture. We are connecting in a very real way and winning spiritual battles on our knees. It has been a life-changing movement within our own body.”
“So, where can a church start?” I asked him.
“Begin in prayer,” Brian said. “You’ve got to let God lead you. If you bathe the question in prayer, it might not be what you expect, but He’ll lead you. And then, can you honestly say that wherever He leads you, you’ll lead with passion?”
Paul and Brian had much more to say about their partnership with Indonesia, including the specific steps they took to get every person in their church involved. Next week, I’ll share Part Two of my conversation with Quest Fellowship.
In the meantime, please read more about church partnerships with Food for the Hungry! We would love to be a part of your church’s story.
Now available on the blog: Read Part Two of Quest Fellowship’s story!