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Post by Hunter Benson, Missions Pastor, Redeemer Church San Diego
Being a global missions pastor can be daunting. From finding overseas partners and raising funds, to engaging your congregation, to developing an overall strategy, it would be easy to default to “the way we’ve always done it.” But in 2014, when Redeemer Church San Diego joined the CTC Partnership, we realized that the way we’ve always done it was no longer good enough; we received the training and support we needed to do missions a better way.
CTC paired my church, Redeemer San Diego, with an international church plant that CTC helped to start: Grace Harbor Tokyo. That relationship transformed our global missions strategy and our church.
First, our missions strategy was transformed and our missions dollars stretched far beyond our previous reach. This was for two primary reasons: 1) we started to invest in a local church plant that could share the gospel in culturally appropriate ways for Tokyo so we knew that the missions investment was effective; 2) compared to past missions investments that needed ongoing funds, supporting a church plant enabled us to give for a fixed period of time; once a church is self-sustaining it doesn’t need additional funds, and even better it contributes to future church planting efforts through CTC.
Our church body was also transformed. Our relationship with Grace Harbor Church Tokyo extends far beyond giving financial gifts. We pray for Grace Harbor weekly. That prayer multiplied exponentially in the midst of a tragic accident involving the pastor’s son. Members of our church – many of whom were not previously engaged in missions at all – began to take interest in this family and Grace Harbor Church. Some even sent care packages and visited when they traveled on business to Tokyo. As the connection between the two churches deepened, we broadened our prayers to include Grace Harbor’s outreach to its community. What an encouragement to our faith when God enabled the pastor’s son to recover and brought three new believers into the household of faith in Tokyo – the first conversions at Grace Harbor!
Last June, Redeemer San Diego sent a team to visit Grace Harbor Tokyo and befriended 20 university students, some of whom began attending the church. When many of those same students visited San Diego this spring, members of our church who hosted them experienced the power of global missions right in their own homes. These relationships helped launch Grace Harbor’s campus ministry, providing a foundation for outreach to students at two universities.
We expected to learn from the extensive experience and insight of the CTC team – experts with decades of experience answered our questions and helped shape our strategy for global missions. What we didn’t expect were the added benefits to our ministry right here in San Diego. Our church is now more effectively communicating in culturally appropriate and intelligible ways to both our church members and those exploring faith. We are working to integrate our global and local missions strategies and provide training for local church planters with the same materials we gleaned from CTC.
What I knew before our partnership with CTC was that engaging your church in global missions is complex. What I know now is that there is a partner who can simplify the process, improving effectiveness, financial stewardship, and local engagement. That’s a partnership you can’t afford not to join!