The impact of one church – part two

The leaders at Quest Fellowship have seen over 90 percent of their people get involved in missions every month. In part one of this story, I wrote how they found Food for the Hungry and chose Mentawai, Indonesia. But the story didn’t end there – that was only the beginning.

Sermon series

Lead pastor Paul Roberts and missional pastor Brian Rietvelt began their partnership with a sermon series. The four-week series, “Beyond Me,” focused on teaching from the book of Isaiah. The fourth week’s sermon culminated with the action step of child sponsorship. On that day, 134 children were sponsored—nearly one child for each person in the sanctuary.

Keeping the partnership front and center

Paul and Brian were excited about the response from their first sponsorship Sunday, but they weren’t satisfied to stop there. They had set a goal of finding sponsors for 300 children.

Quest Fellowship invested in a wall graphic for the church lobby, so that the congregation would be constantly reminded that the Indonesia partnership was a priority.

“To get from 134 children to where we are now was not just a one-time strategy for the church,” said Paul.

They invested in a wall graphic for the church lobby, so that the congregation would be constantly reminded that the Indonesia partnership was a priority for their church. They also made T-shirts and gave them away to new sponsors.

Every ministry involved

Key to Quest Fellowship’s strategy is the involvement of every ministry in their church. Mentawai, Indonesia is not just the focus of one department.

“We talk about it every week in our staff meeting,” said Brian. “Mentawai is a central part of our orientation class for new members. It’s who we are… It’s all over our Facebook page.”

The children’s and youth ministries have gotten involved. Last year, the church’s vacation Bible school theme was “A Week in Mentawai.” Children learned about life in their partner community.  Middle school students also sponsored children together.

“Child sponsorship has done a great work in unifying our church,” said Paul. “We’ve seen people get involved who would never go on a mission trip. They’re hearing from us what a difference they’re making, and how they can change the world.”

A passionate leader with a compelling vision

Quest Fellowship has developed a thriving partnership, because their leadership is passionate about the cause.  “It’s got to be led from the top down,” Brian noted.

Paul, the lead pastor, shares the view that the leadership must be committed to the partnership. “The challenge is this,” he said. “Can you get passionate about something yourself? Can you communicate that passion to the rest of your staff, and move together as one force?”

“I absolutely love that FH sends a pastor from the church to the field with every 50 children sponsored,” said Brian. “It gets boots on the ground and into the field. The week I got back and shared with our congregation, we had 12 more children sponsored.”

Pastor Brian Rietvelt visiting Indonesia in March 2013.

Paul said, “The key is that our people see what we promised is happening. Our sponsorship money is being well appropriated. If you cast the vision that together we can actually transform an entire community… you can actually see poverty breaking down.”

Quest Fellowship chose a distant community and set a big goal for sponsorship – and they have seen God work faithfully. “It’s crazy not to choose big things and assume big tasks,” said Paul, “because when you do big things, God is getting the glory. We want to point to Him as many times as we can.”

Ready to begin your church’s partnership with a vulnerable community? Read more about church partnership opportunities with Food for the Hungry, or fill out our interest form now!

About Wendy McMahan

Wendy McMahan is grateful for her front row seat in watching God “reconcile all things to Himself.” (Colossians 1:20) She still can’t believe that she gets to participate in His story every day. Wendy and her husband are proud parents to two daughters and have been foster parents to children of all ages. Wendy serves as Director of Church Engagement at Food for the Hungry. She hosts the Poverty Unlocked podcast.

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