I didn't start as a Free Church and ReachGlobal pastor. I have a Cru background, and I wondered why so much of our budget was going towards ReachGlobal missionaries. But, soon enough, I would discover the incredible kingdom fruit of ReachGlobal.
Like many people in missions, our missions team (called Beyond the Walls at Hershey Free Church in Hershey, Pennsylvania) was developing an evaluative matrix for the missionaries our church supports. Here are some values that made the list: focus on the unreached, equipping and sending national workers to unreached people and depth of connection with our church.
As we began evaluations, a trend emerged: ReachGlobal workers performed well. They were working with people that had little access to the gospel; in locations where they were working with people who had already been exposed to the gospel, they emphasized sending them back into the field; and they did a great job of connecting with us as a church. Of course, this was just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the deep ways I’ve seen God work through ReachGlobal.
A heart of cooperation
Over the years, I have consistently been impressed with our ReachGlobal partners and their ability to form partnerships with other organizations, building strategic relationships for the sake of the gospel. Through our “missions audit,” we learned that some of the missionaries we support from other organizations (Wycliffe and Pioneers) already work closely with some of our ReachGlobal missionaries.
From our partnership with TV Seminary in Kursk, Russia to reaching indigenous peoples in Peru, from Crisis Response work in the U.S. and around the world to partnering with ethnomusicologists, church planting catalysts and GlobalFingerprints, I have been encouraged by the flexibility of ReachGlobal workers and the deep impact they are having on people around the world.
Stories of our missionary partners
Our church partners with 10 ReachGlobal missionary families. These families serve in diverse locales, all with special stories of how they ended up in the field and ministries as unique as the people they serve. Here are a few:
Blair and Joan McGwire work with indigenous peoples in Peru and mobilizing them to reach out to other indigenous people. They’ve hosted many teams from Hershey Free for short-term trips and help our people here in Pennsylvania understand God’s heart for the nations.
Mark and Denise Lewis give leadership to ReachGlobal Crisis Response. We have worked closely with them all over the world for years and consistently see disciples made and churches planted in the wake of disaster. Mark pours into world-class leaders all over the planet, sharing the love of Christ in the wake of crisis. When we send teams to work with Crisis Response, the people come back challenged to make an impact on their neighbors for Christ.
Gene and Linda Wilson train national church planters around the world; Vitaly and Marina in Kursk oversee a seminary with over 5,000 students taking classes from many different countries; and too many others to name in this brief article who are serving the Lord fatihfully by bringing the hope of the gospel to a world that desperately needs it.
Working strategically to share the gospel
Because of our partnership with ReachGlobal, I have found myself at the Bible Pathways graduation of indigenous pastors in the rain forest of South America; in Ephesus, discussing how to translate video courses from some of the church’s great theologians into Mandarin and Arabic;on Zoom calls encouraging Haitian missionaries heading to West Africa to get training in cross-cultural ministry in the Dominican Republic; and mobilizing short-term teams for domestic and global trips, knowing they will come back from their ReachGlobal experience more committed to the Great Commission and the local church’s role in it.
Just the other week, I met with the president of a seminary in Haiti and most of his leadership team. ReachGlobal helped bring these leaders to the U.S. for a time of refocusing on mission.
One of our ReachGlobal partners was leading us in a time of reflection on God’s word and its reality in their current context. As we talked together about the Lord Jesus calming the storm (Matt 8:23-27), we looked at the storms raging in Haiti. But we also looked past the difficulty of their context—gang violence, extreme economic insecurity and COVID, among other things—to refocus on the accomplishment of their God-given mission. Because of their partnership with ReachGlobal through our church, they were training pastors to share the hope of the gospel with broken, hurting people.
Working with ReachGlobal has been a place of great synergy. We run into the same people at conferences in San Antonio, at the Haitian Queen, in Ankara, on the El Evangelista in Pucallpa, at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois and beyond. There are, of course, other fantastic organizations, agencies and even models for sending laborers into the harvest, but our work with ReachGlobal has proven to be a great place of partnership in the gospel.
Though I didn’t start off as a ReachGlobal guy, I am now.
If you or your church are not connected with ReachGlobal, we hope you’ll consider getting involved with the ministry of ReachGlobal today. You can learn more at reachglobal.ministries.efca.org or reach out to email@example.com.
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