The International Mission Board has signed a covenant with One Sending Body, the sending entity of five Baptist conventions in the Philippines.
The agreement forges an official partnership between the two missionary-sending organizations and facilitates teaming between Filipino and IMB missionaries to advance the Gospel.
The covenant was signed by IMB Executive Vice President Todd Lafferty and Vice President of Global Engagement John Brady during the Fourth National Congress for Global Missions, which took place from Aug. 13-15 on the island of Bohol in the southern part of the Philippines.
“Our vision is that we would strive together for the sake of the Gospel to the ends of the earth,” Lafferty said of the agreement. “I hope to see dozens of Filipinos called to missions and partner with our teams to share the Gospel, make disciples, plant churches and train leaders.”
One sending body
Two hundred pastors and church leaders from five Filipino Baptist conventions gathered at the congress. The Filipino conventions established One Sending Body (OSB) in 2008, and IMB missionary Steve Hagen said OSB currently has 21 missionaries serving in other countries.
“Some of these have done remarkably well. However, many have struggled, often because they were not connected to a receiving team,” Hagen said. “Sometimes they became frustrated by joining teams who didn’t share their beliefs. Sometimes they couldn’t find any partners and floundered.”
At OSB’s request, Hagen began consulting with their board of directors.
“As the relationship developed, I saw more and more potential for how God can use Filipinos around the world,” he noted.
Hagen also heard from IMB colleagues who had pressing needs for more teammates to join them in the missions task. Hagen knew there must be a way to connect the OSB missionaries with the IMB teams who needed them. As it turns out, IMB leaders were pursuing partnerships just like this one.
Teaming and training together
Representatives from both organizations have acknowledged how their combined strengths can advance the Gospel, and they are eager to work together in the new partnership.
Among the action points detailed in the covenant, Filipino missionaries will be commissioned to serve alongside IMB workers as seconded team members. IMB missionary teams are prepared to receive Filipino missionaries. The first missionary training program is scheduled for April 2020.
IMB will partner with OMB in training the Filipino missionaries, but their funds will come from various other sources, including the five Filipino Baptist conventions. Some of the Filipino missionaries will raise or earn their own support. Southern Baptists in the United States will soon be able to help support our Filipino partners through special-gift funds.
The IMB is actively exploring how churches in the United States can be a part of the missions-sending process with OSB.
Future U.S. church partnerships could include offering advice, coaching churches and pastors, or providing financial support in a manner that does not result in financial dependency.
Brentwood Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn., has already committed to partnering with OSB, and Brentwood’s missions pastor, Scott Harris, helped lead a session during the congress on how best to mobilize the local church.
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Source: Baptist Press