#23 – Investing in Relationships as Global Partners ft. Vic Wiens & Nikki White

 In

Global Partnerships with ICOMB

Join Rob and his guests, as they talk about the global community (ICOMB), which we are privileged to be a part of.  Consider why investing  in the global community of Christ might just be the best thing that ever happened to our ministry and churches.  Our guests share how they have developed connections and how the exchange has enriched both communities.

Vic Wiens facilitates relationships between Multiply and ICOMB. This includes coaching Multiply personnel and emerging national leaders as they lead networks of churches toward becoming mature and reproducing families of churches that are full members of ICOMB.  He also serves the 21 conferences of ICOMB as the Equipping Coordinator, a resource for non-formal and formal training efforts.

Nikki White serves as a writer with the Multiply Media Team.  Nikki focuses on telling stories in such a way as to mobilize prayer for mission and for our global workers.

Yeah, most cultures in the world are actually warm cultures, meaning they place a high value on relationship and hospitality. And if you’re courageous enough to stay in their homes, you will be blessed because they will consider you an honoured guest and they will take care of you and they will protect you. – Vic Wiens

 

I think we don’t grow unless we’re challenged. I can’t think of anything more challenging than intentionally wading into a cross-cultural relationship that involves two different bodies, not just two individuals but one church body in another church body. – Nikki White

 

Topics Include

  • Developing global partnerships
  • Potential benefits of global partnerships
  • Main pitfalls/potential damage
  • Role of the mission agency
  • Opportunities for cross cultural partnerships close to home

 

Show notes

#23 – Investing in Relationships as Global Partners ft. Vic Wiens & Nikki White
BCMB Pastor to Pastor Podcast

 
 
00:00 / 50:48
 
1X
 

 

Transcription

BCMB 023 - Global Partnerships.mp3 transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

BCMB 023 - Global Partnerships.mp3 was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Vic Wiens:
Most cultures in the world are actually warm cultures, meaning they place a high value on relationship and hospitality. And if you're courageous enough to stay in their homes, you will be blessed because they will consider you an honored guest and they will take care of you.

Nikki White:
I was terrified the first time I stood on the stage and did a fundraiser. I thought, like, I wouldn't give me money. This is a sick, crazy idea. I wouldn't donate to this. And yet people did. Our church was so captivated by the vision and so generous. And then there was just this terror having been invested with these funds and thinking, I need to do this really, really well.

Welcome to the BCMB podcast, Pastor to Pastor. This is a podcast by the British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.

We want to help equip and encourage pastors, churches and anyone else who wants to listen in and be more effective in their ministry. This is Episode 23, Investing in Relationships as Global Partners with Nikki White and Vic Wiens.

Rob Thiessen:
Hey everyone. It's Rob Thiessen here with the BCMB Pastor to Pastor podcast. And once again, want to invite or welcome all of our listeners, not just for pastors, but we're talking about issues definitely related to pastoral work and to churches. And our context here is with, with our own Mennonite Brethren family in British Columbia. But again, many people are listening from all kinds of denominational backgrounds. And we welcome you all. We're very excited to have a conversation today about the global church. And welcome to Vic Wiens who works with our Multiply Mission Agency. Welcome Vic. Thank you. And a good friend of mine, Nikki White, who also is currently working with Multiply. But we know each other for many years from our church family at North Langley Community Church. And Nikki works in communications. So I want to introduce both of you or have you introduce yourself to our listeners and we'll do that just by asking the question. Tell us a little bit about the faith community that shaped your life. So, Vic, why don't you get us started? Tell us a little bit about your journey of faith in the community that shaped you.

Vic Wiens:
I'd be happy to. I grew up here in South Abbotsford, and that was my first church community. And it was a very nurturing community. And I, as I reflect, I just sense that I learned from South Abbotsford that church is family. It was very intergenerational. And just a caring, loving community. So that was, that was very formational in my life. Spent the next, I don't know, 35 or 40 years away from Abbotsford, first in California, studying at Fresno Pacific and then our seminary, and then met my wife there. We went to Brazil and spent 25 years in Brazil working in church planting, leadership development, and in the later years, really walking alongside our Brazilian MB Conference in, in developing their missional journey and their vision structures and so forth. And I didn't really expect to come back to Abbotsford, but God is so good and wise. And so we actually came back to Abbotsford and joined Northview. And so we've been at Northview now for about 10 years. Northview is a fantastic church. It's, it's just Christ centered all the way, gospel centred and such a vision for mission, local, national, global. And that's really what attracted us to Northview is it's just there missional DNA. So it's good to be here.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. And shout out to Northview where we're recording this this conversation as all of our podcasts are here down in what I refer to as the Northview Dungeon. But it's there at their recording room down here. And yeah, that's great. Thanks. Nikki, tell us a little bit about your experience in community.

Nikki White:
Sure. A very different story from Vics I think. I grew up in a, in an unchurched family. There was alcoholism. There was some abuse that was going on. And so I'd never actually heard the name of Jesus other than, as a swear word, never had any exposure to the Bible or any biblical ethics, knew nothing, just totally blank slate. So when I came to faith, I'd like to say went from heathen to hymns because I went straight as a as an older teenager into a fairly conservative traditional church where hymns were being sung, was super blessed to come under the teaching and later mentorship of the man that would one day be my father in law, though I didn't know it at the time. Dr John White, he was a psychiatrist at that point and and an author as well. That was very formative. And then from there, shortly after high school ended up in Mexico. So I went with a group from the University of Manitoba on a cultural immersion. And that was my first exposure to a different culture. And I said, well, two things. I love the Latin American culture, just the warmth, the warmth of the people. But I also love the fact that for the first time in my life, my social awkwardness felt normal because, because they expected me to be socially awkward. So I just found that so embracing, so inclusive and ended up staying there for almost six years. So went originally just on short trips, and I ended up getting involved in some mission work at an orphanage and eventually studying down there. So doing undergraduate work in fine arts. So, so church formation down there was, there were only two options back in the day.

Nikki White:
So it was either the Catholic Church or Prosperity Doctrine, Pentecostal, which even back then, without having any theological knowledge, I just didn't feel comfortable with. So I actually went. So I went, heathen to hymns, to Catholic with, with, with restrictions, you know. But there were genuine believers that I fellowshiped with deeply and, and was very enriched by that. Came back to my hometown of Winnipeg, shout out to Winnipeg and married my husband to P.K, M.K. So he was born in Bolivia and, and we at that point were exposed to a movement called the Vineyard, which was happening California. That was, again, through my, through my father in law. He was exploring what was going on down there. And so I went Catholic to charismatics. We ended up traveling down to Southern California and doing a year down in, in, in Anaheim and attending the Vineyard and getting some training there and getting a what, what felt like and what I still think is a fairly solid biblical basis and seen helpful approach to the gifts of the spirit and to the charismatic. And from there, we ended up moving to B.C. and being involved in the early years of a vineyard church called the Surrey Vineyard. So I would say that went really well for about 10 years. And when newelism came through about early 90s. If you know anything about that, you can Google some of that from the Toronto, Toronto Vineyard, Trauner Airport Vineyard.

Nikki White:
And it didn't go well in our church. So we got quite muddled in a lot of, in a lot of respects. And so when that church did die, we needed something solid. We needed. Our kids were confused and we were confused. So, we went muddled to MB. We needed some place that we felt like there was, was really good teaching of the word, where there was generational rootedness in Christian. Here where Omas and Opas dodged bullets in the old country for Jesus. And it was a fantastic experience, but quite shocking, quite a culture shock. More to my children I think. They were, they were, just they didn't realize that there was a historical Christianity. So that's, that's. No, let me lay that at our feet as parents for not having given them a broader understanding of global Christianity. And we've been at North Langley Community Church. Rob, that was under your pastorship initially. We'd been there, I think, for almost 19 years now. And I think the main thing, aside from the beautiful value of the word of God and taking the Holy Spirit seriously, just the community has been the biggest gift. We did feel quite isolated. Going through, going through a charismatic church and going through the, the muddle of the renewal became more and more isolated. And so we have just really benefitted from the the value that we place on community and on outreach.

Rob Thiessen:
That's great. Thanks, Nikki and Vic, and it's great to have you as guests. So are our conversation today is going to focus on the global community and especially on partnership with local churches. Our our, our listening community here is involved, you know, boots on the ground ministry in British Columbia, Canada, wherever the context is. But we want to just talk about the benefits and blessings of being partnered in a global community. Both of you obviously have a vested interest. God's taking you on a journey that has exposed you to the global community. And so I think your, your perfect guests to have share with us about these topics. So, Nikki, course, you know, I invited you because, well, because you're an awesome person, but also because you, you have this global and especially with, with a Latin American church, a connection there. And tell us a little bit about how the partnership that North Langley Community Church has developed with a church in Mexico, how that evolved and just how that's been a blessing.

Nikki White:
Yeah, it's a great story. My six years in Mexico were in the state of Colima in a small town called Villa de Alvarez. A very fine arts community, a heritage town actually. And, and so decades later, when my children were the same age that I was really when I was in Mexico, I wanted to go back and visit and kind of show them off and also see some of my professors and, and just see how things had changed.

Nikki White:
And in, through a wonderful series of coincidences, ended up connecting with a young pastoral couple that had just planted a church in the, connected to the MB scheme where the MB Conference of Mexico at the time. And out of that has emerged a church to church, a friendship, first of all, but also a partnership with their church. And I think it's in their eighth, eighth or ninth year, I think now of of doing exchanges.

Rob Thiessen:
So you took, you, you were taking a family holiday basically to go back to your roots. And at that time, just sounds like it was a Holy Spirit led connection that you found believers there and kind of like, what do we call this, like a mission vacation or a vacation, as a Christian that has your eyes open prayerfully considering and, Yeah, that's, that's unique. Is, or is it unique? Is this a typical way that, that God opens up doors for connection? Vic, what from your perspective, you see other partnerships? Is this, this a typical way of a partnership evolving or how, how much of this is Holy Spirit led just surprises or are there other pathways, other ways The Spirit uses?

Vic Wiens:
Definitely other ways. You know, there's no formula. But I do think typically the Holy Spirit uses existing relationships. I mean, there are cases where we just find an open door, that sort of cold turkey. But typically God works through our relational networks. And I think we need to be really attuned to, to what he's saying to us through those networks.

Rob Thiessen:
Now, that's very important. So for for a pastor listening or church leaders listening who are thinking about exploring a partnership like a First Avenue, what you're suggesting would be to look around to see what, what like what is in your hand, what relationships are there, what has, what has God put in your own church family? Okay, so what if they, what would be a next step for it? And let's go back to you, Nikki. What was the next step after you made this connection that led to, you know, this partnership growing?

Nikki White:
Yeah. And even just to backtrack a bit and I refer to what Vic just said, relationships within the community were huge. So I had, I had no intention of doing anything other than taking a holiday with my kids. And actually, it was, it was you, Rob, that said, well, we should get you up on the stage on Sunday and you can let the church know what you're doing. And I went, what? That we're taking a vacation. Like, we're not fundraising. But you felt it was important for some reason. And and I'm not sure. Yeah. Back, back in the day.

Nikki White:
But I also, because of that, found out from you guys about Trevor and Joan Goddard, who are Multiply workers in Guadalajara. And at that point, Colima didn't have an airport. So we were flying into Guadalajara and would have been busting out. And your suggestion was that we connect with Trevor and Joan, while we were there, which I was totally, totally keen to do. And it was through Trevor that we found out about this. He was like, where are you going? Going to Colima. Where in Colima? A little town you've never heard of. And I told him, well, there's a church plant. It's three months old. Would you be willing to meet with the pastors? So it was very much connected through, through the, the network of community. Yeah. And so next steps are our conversation with Carlos and Carla Ortega.

Nikki White:
We knew them for a day, not even a day, like four hours. We had a four hour conversation, but we just sensed such an affinity and such a connection in our spirits. Me, particularly with that, with Carla, just felt like we were kindred spirits in so many ways and just had such a heart for what they were trying to do. And I found myself saying, you know, we're going to come back. And he was very polite. Oh, sure you are. I said, no, no, we're gonna come back and we'll bring a team and they'll be musicians and they'll be artists and performing artists because this is an art space community. And he didn't take it seriously. But I came back and kind of talked about it. I'd never been involved in short term missions, certainly hadn't led one. So I had no idea what I was doing and asked a lot of questions and made a lot of mistakes. But in the end, we actually did form a team. And, and, and plan, and plan a trip down there and just an exploratory trip. And I was terrified the first time I stood on the stage and, and did a fundraiser, I thought, like, I wouldn't give me money.

Nikki White:
This is, this is a crazy idea. I wouldn't donate to this.

Nikki White:
And yet people did. Our church was so, I think captivated by the vision and so generous. And then there was just this terror of having been invested with, with these funds and thinking, I need to do this really, really well. But that's where it started. It started just out of a friendship. And the next step was just exploring how can we deepen our friendship and include other people where, where my friends from North Langley Community Church can come down and meet your friends in your church plant in Pan de Vida. So it just was an expansion of friendship. That was the next step. We did, we did something a little, a little unusual, it was a bit sketchy. It's kind of a hard sell with the missions committee, but we didn't have an agenda in terms of what we were going to do other than build relationship. We kept getting asked, are you going to distribute groceries? They're going to build houses. And I'm like, no, I'm not really sure what we're gonna do.

Nikki White:
And we actually, and another point of potential tension, and actually it worked out really well, was we planned on staying in people's homes. So our team were billeted in just the homes of local people in the community of every socioeconomic levels. It was all over the map. Some were believers and some actually weren't believers as well, at that point in the in the church. So it was a bit sketchy as well. But what that did was it just turned things upside down in terms of just in inverting that power pyramid, what they expected us to be, we couldn't be in that context. We were so helpless, so dependent on them. And so instead of being these, you know, wealthy, wise westerner's coming down to to impart to them. We ended up cling, clinging to them, trying to figure out bathrooms and basic, basic communication and friendships are what resulted. So the next step was definitely investing in friendships.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, that's a, that's a helpful thing I think for us all to think about. Maybe you, Vic, your, your thoughts on this, that you, when you go to another culture and the typical short term missions approach to churches and we're going to make a plan, we're gonna go over there, we're gonna do this for them, that justifies, you know, the money that we're spending. And we come back with our report and our checklist. And yet, like in the Latin culture, and this reminds me of what John Johnstone shared with us about the indigenous culture, too. So they're not actually interested in you showing up, doing your thing. They want to know, first of all, like you care about us and are you willing to just invest in some time with us? And that's I think that's hard for a Western church to, to, to think about. Is that it? Is it true of lots of cultures? Is that is that a hot culture thing generally that you like? You know, how important is that, Vic, from your perspective, is the willingness to go over and let them set the agenda for a partnership?

Vic Wiens:
Yeah, most cultures in the world are actually warm cultures, meaning they place a high value on relationship and hospitality. And if, if you're courageous enough to stay in their homes, you will be blessed because they will consider you an honored guest and they will take care of you and they will protect you. And they know, you know, where are the danger spots and. And we need that. So I would say I just wanted to add a couple of things to your experience, Nikki, which I think really is in many ways a model, and that is to find people who have some amount of cultural savvy. So in your case, you had already lived down there and yet you still did well, I think by connecting with the Goddart's who have been in Latin America for 20 plus years and are in a sense, cultural brokers. So they understand the realities of that culture. They understand the language. They have relationships, they open doors for you. And it's just wise to, to work with people who are on the ground and can could just, you know, be a sense of a middle, middle man, middle person to, to open up some cultural doors. So the other thing is, you know, the, the role of the agency, I think is, is really fundamental. I mean, that's not to say that, you know, our agency is always the go to agency, but some agency that has some experience in that country. And I would speak in favor of a church based agency, because there's there's lots of para church groups out there that are doing good work. But our DNA is, is church and planting the family of God around the world. And so if you can link up with an agency that has a similar DNA, that's a good way to go.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And one of the mission things that North Langey did for a lot of years was we went into China and we did that with with Y-Wam. And those were amazing times too. And of course, connecting with local churches in China, in a communist country presented another set of problems that, you know, it makes it difficult just because, yeah, you get on the radar with the government over there. And so, you know, going para church made sense. But that was one lact that we often felt was that because we start with a para church, it becomes difficult in the end to actually connect vitally with a local church on that end. And it isn't sort of the paradigm that, that they operate with. I don't think that's universally true, but it can be generally true. So, Vic, you've jumped in a little bit about a couple the agencies and, and we were talking a little bit about the International Bommunity of Mennonite Brethren the ICOMB community. So tell us the difference between Multiply as an agency and ICOMB, International Community of Mennonite Brethren and how, you know, how both of these might be enriching sort of partnerships for for a local church?

Vic Wiens:
We work very closely together. In fact, I am employed by Multiply, but I have been seconded to ICOMB. ICOMB is our community of national conferences. So it's not a mission agency, but it does play the role of, to some degree of what agencies also do in the sense of strengthening younger churches and facilitating training.

Vic Wiens:
And just really connecting churches to each other, conferences to each other. I think that Multiply typically will focus on the earlier stages of development in terms of evangelism among least reached discipling younger believers, church planting. And then increasingly we find that that Multiply actually needs ICOMB when you've got a group of, let's say, a cluster of churches that want to be more than a cluster of individual churches, actually want to be a family. And so this is where ICOMB comes in. I actually just returned from a trip to to north India and Kenya and Turkey and I visited eight of these clusters of churches, these emerging networks. And this is, this is a high value for them because they, they don't want to be just individual, independent local churches doing their own thing. They want to do together what no one can do alone.

Vic Wiens:
And they want to be connected to the global family. And so, you know, sometimes I will, I would just ask, well, you know, what attracted you to us? This is in the case of those groups that we did not start, we meaning the Multiply mission agency. These are, these are, in a sense, orphaned groups, and they say, well, actually, we really like your story because it's, it's very akin to our story. We like your theology and we like your heart. And we would love to be a part of your global family. So what I say to these young groups is Multiply as a mission agency of the two North American conferences can help you to a point. But your final destination is not a mission agency. It's a global community of churches. And that's really what ICOMB can charge them.

Rob Thiessen:
So, Vic, take us. So say, you know, they, they, have this relationship with with ICOMB and they get to know other national. They're there. They have leadership gatherings. They happen annually. Last year was my first time at one in Guadalajara. I think there's another one coming up in the spring in Brazil. But for, for local pastors who you mentioned, three countries that you were in, what sort of opportunities did you see? If you put on a pastor's hat and said, well, you know, I visited India, I visited Turkey, you mentioned and Kenya. And if there was, you know, in a relational affinity, what sort of opportunities did you see for a church to church partnership with what you saw in those countries?

Vic Wiens:
So let's just take as an example, North India. We, in many of our communities here in B.C., we have a large population of either Punjabis or just Indo Canadians in general and our networks in North India. We, we're working to three different networks there in different geographical zones of the country. Those churches have relatives in Canada, very possibly, they have relational connections in the very communities where we're serving at the same time. We may have people in our communities here. Well, we do have people in our communities here who all have a relational network back there.

Vic Wiens:
And so if, if we can be a connector between the Indo Canadian communities here in B.C. and the North Indian networks of churches over there, this is going to be a win-win situation. So here's an example. The Indo Canadians have been in the Fraser Valley here for over 100 years. We have, we as Mennonite Brethren have made a number of efforts to reach out to them, but I think we're still taking baby steps. I don't know that we have one strong, self-sustaining, you know, very missional reproducing kind of Indo Canadian church. I think we're taking baby steps and we need help. And so we are actually we meaning Multiply. We're actually wondering about the advisability of actually bringing an Indian missionary here to help us to reach the Indo Canadian community. And that's not to just plant one church. That's to help multiple local churches that would love to reach out to their community, to the Indo Canadian community. And then once again, you know, once we have some some solid churches planted, this is just going to enhance our missional outreach back in North India because all of these people are traveling back and forth. It's one flight from Vancouver to Delhi. It's 14 hours, but it's, it's packed full and there's frequent travel back and forth. Yeah.

Rob Thiessen:
So here you're describing the mission, strategic relationship, bringing, to reach people here locally the global community mission, here to there and back and forth. And I'm still wondering, like if a local church here says, well, we want to develop a friendship relationship with a local church in another part of the world and maybe we're barking up the wrong tree by always thinking and the other part of the world. We've got cross-cultural in our own neighborhoods and we could talk about that, too. But you know, what Nikki described happening with between North Langley and Pan de Vida Church in Colima is a is a relationship. And, you know, it's yet to be seen. And we could talk a little bit about what the mutual benefits of those are. Nic, are there, or Vic, or are there other examples of that's a combination of Nick and Vic, and are there other examples of churches developing strong partnerships with ICOMB community churches? And I'm thinking of one in particular here in Canada, in Saskatoon. Maybe you could tell us a little bit about that story Vic. And, and then and then again, ask the question from what you've seen in other parts of the world, what, what, what similar kind of opportunities might be on the horizon for a local church?

Vic Wiens:
Yeah. So Forest Grove Community Church in Saskatoon has first of all, they had obviously a strong relationship with their, their missionaries. And once again, Trevor and Joan Goddard, who connected the Forest Grove Church with some Colombian missionaries, Aigner and Herluasa Zuluaga, who were serving in Panama. So that began, once again, fallen relational networks, but that began as a partnership with Colombian couple serving in Panama. But it grew from there. So at this point, Forest Grove would would say, well, we're actually we're partnering with an entire conference of churches. So this is not something that was strategically planned. This just sort of happened. It's a group of maybe, I think 14 or 15 churches altogether, but that has taken many years. And so I don't want to give the impression that a local church can all of a sudden wake up and say, we're going to have a partnership with an entire national conference. I would say no. Start with your relational connections and, and seek to develop partnership with a local church in another country. It's going to be mutually enriching. And, and see where it goes from there. I mean..

Rob Thiessen:
So this partnership actually developed through, through missionaries, through Forest Grove, connecting with Multiply missionaries who were in Panama. And then that grew into you, you know, an identity, a relationship with, with a whole community of churches in Panama. Exactly.

Nikki White:
Ok. Another really good thing, just personal illustration too, of what Vic has been saying, just the importance of accountability, an agency in this entire process. You do. You're following the Holy Spirit. It's an organic and organic process. But the best thing that we could have possibly done is that we had we debriefed our family holiday with the Goddard's after we were done and said we're not quite sure what just happened and we're not sure what God is asking us to do next. And we really don't know what we're doing. We need, we need some wisdom. And just coming under them, that was, that continued for every trip that we ever took teams on was debriefing with them. And we had no. no, we couldn't have imagined that this young pastor who had planted a church, which wasn't even affiliated at that point with any formal conference or denomination, would end up becoming the president of the Mexican M.B denomination, which which Carlos is now. We couldn't have foreseen that. And so all along, we, we did so many things wrong. Maybe the one thing we did right was that that humility of, of looking for wise counsel and, and seeking to submit this to wiser heads, more experienced missionaries to, to MB Mission at that time, Multiply now, and eventually with ICOMB as well. And watching Carlos making those connections and discovering the M.B family and realizing this is something I want to belong to. So that was a beautiful kind of evolution that happened on a very natural organic level. But it did require intentional accountability and seeking wisdom through agency.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, well, that's, that's a really important sort of pillar in our conversation here. What we seem to be describing is that, yes, we're a go. We have a goal of a church, a church relationship that we're talking about today. But it's very important that, that the agency, the missionaries, the people on the ground who've been trained, they broker the relationship. And, and then it that relationship also is respectful of the the national community. And I know we have, how many ICOMB communities do we have now?

Vic Wiens:
There's 21 affiliated conferences and there's another, anywhere between 20 and 30 emerging groups that have expressed some degree of an interest in being a part of the global family.

Rob Thiessen:
Okay, so you mentioned Turkey, and I know that Northview here has a relationship with the church in Turkey. And and I've met some of those people as well.

Rob Thiessen:
Talk about what does partnership look like in and because Turkey is not new, but it's been the last decade or so that the that M.B Mission is working there. It's, you know, obviously a Muslim. I don't know if they call themselves a Muslim kind of back and forth. They're Europeans slash Muslim country. Difficult access, lots of issues. What sort of partnership can emerge that, you know, that we can talk about on the air, obviously?

Vic Wiens:
Sure. Well, certainly at this point, it's, it's. it began as a financial support for initially missionaries, but also national workers. But I want to emphasize, if it, if it stays at that level, it's not going to be a real attractive partnership for either side. So it can begin that way. But Northview has been, just sent two of their leaders over there to to deepen the relationship and to see, you know, how can we strengthen this on both sides.

Vic Wiens:
The Turkish leader, that is part of the One network that we're working with as Multiply. I should just mention there is another network that, you know, once again, we didn't start, but they want to be part of this family.

Vic Wiens:
So, you know, there's there's opportunities for training there.

Vic Wiens:
There's a keen desire to have North Americans come and help with some training. This is especially the case in very young conferences. And they just realize, you know, we need help in this area. The church is growing fast. There's churches. They've planted three churches in three years. Fourth one is already in sight. OK. Who is going to help develop all the leaders that are necessary for this? And I think just another aspect is just the, the enriching that happens when an older church befriends and connects with a younger church.

Vic Wiens:
I really like the metaphore of the river and the stream.

Vic Wiens:
They are joining a river. So that's us. The the the older body, if you will.

Vic Wiens:
But when the when the stream joins the river, the stream takes on an identity of the river. But the stream also enriches the river. The water changes, the temperature changes, the color changes, the taste changes. And so we need to remember that, yeah, they're, they're joining something bigger. But actually, we're gonna be better for this relationship as well. And we're gonna be stronger.

Rob Thiessen:
Well, let's talk a little bit about that, then the benefits are not that we're just, you know, benefit oriented here, but sometimes that helps us to motivate. So why would I do this? Why would I take time out of my busy schedule of pastors like, oh, I'm up to my ears here. You know, we got a ton of stuff to do. And I really got to thinking about we don't have any budget for this. Why would a church, you know, take a risk like this to say, well, let's explore a partnership and what would be the benefits for, for the local body, for the people, that goal for the church family back home? What have you seen? Nikki how have you seen this benefit the church?

Nikki White:
I think we don't grow unless we're challenged. I can't think of anything more challenging than intentionally wading into a cross-cultural relationship that involves two different bodies, not just two individuals, but, but one church body in another church body. So there's a tremendous potential for growth through that challenge. Our perspectives get challenged, our theology gets challenged. Just different perspectives on, on, on biblical, on things that we take for granted in the West that are interpreted completely differently in the global south our, our values for sure are are challenged. I think, you know, we'd probably agree most, most of the Western cultures were more product oriented. We want to be productive. Whereas in other cultures, they're more about relationship. They're more about something that's more personal. So it challenges our pace. The things that we value. And I think we just we'd mentioned before we started the podcast, you know, we had this big debate that goes on in many conservative circles about women in leadership. When you're talking about a global church context where there are more female Christians than male Christians, it's just not an issue. They're not debating the theology of it. They're just desperate to find leaders. They're not thinking about gender. So what challenges are our values that way? And and just vision also? I think that walking through this church to church partnership over these, these years and now being involved in Multiply, I do have a I have a bigger vision. I think our church has a bigger vision of, of this of this mission from everywhere to everywhere. So the established church isn't necessarily a Western church. We have an established, strong conference in Brazil that is now partnering with other Latin American churches and helping their conferences to do to be strengthened. So I think it gives us a global perspective, but it's mostly the challenge. I think if we don't challenge ourselves, then we will not grow.

Vic Wiens:
That's good. I think there's something that we can learn about how the gospel is presented and how people are attracted to the gospel. For example. In the Punjab, we asked one of the pastors there, actually one of the network leaders, what is it that is attracting people to come to Jesus? And without a second of hesitation, he says people are coming to Jesus because they're getting healed. They're sick, they don't have access to medical care, or life is just complicated, really complicated. And they're coming and asking for prayer, for healing of their bodies and their relationships, of their brokenness. And Jesus is answering those prayers. And as was the case in the New Testament, they are sticking around to say, OK, well, tell me more about Jesus. And so there's, let's say, a perspective of the supernatural that we can learn from our brothers sisters in the global south on on hearing God's voice, certainly through the scriptures. But also many people are, gave testimony because they don't have access to the scriptures or if they do. They just didn't have a Bible. But God spoke to them in a dream, in a voice, in some sort of a prophetic way.

Vic Wiens:
And they listened and they came. And so, you know, we, we have we have a lot to learn about. Let me just say one more thing. The what I call the five and two principle, working with what you have. So one in one city in Turkey, the church, which is, is the only sort of generic Protestant church in the entire city. This is a city of a million people. Well, they meet in two large rooms on the fourth floor and there's no elevator. So you talk about easy access. No, it's not easy access, but they work with what they have. That's what they could get. And God is blessing them. Another church met on a rooftop and during the week, there's nothing there except the rooftop. But when they have services, up go the bamboo poles, up go the curtains, down go the carpets. And one hundred people gather for worship and prayer. And so you work with what you have. You got five loaves and two fishes. OK, that'll do. It's beautiful.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. So there's an enriching that happens with just people who maybe are here, in our self-satisfied Western culture. And it's like, yeah, we, we're not aware of our own needs. We go overseas, we see how the gospel, how prayer, how the Holy Spirit is meeting needs and our own spirits get awakened. We look at life differently, ministry differently. Certainly you've seen that at North Langley in my experience to, taking leaders over, overseas brings them back different. And we often focus on young people. But I found it interesting that, you know, to send a person in their 50s or 60s, a retired person overseas, how they come back changed, how their attitude changes towards the church, the work of the church. And that's a pretty huge, huge benefit. There are also, so we talk about North India. That's obviously a big trip, culture, language. I don't know any place that I've ever visited that has shocked me quite as much as landing in India. It's like it's another planet. I can only imagine what a flight to Pakistan or another country would would do. But there are places where the cultural barriers aren't, you know, as significant. Maybe there's always a danger of misreading things. But, you know, places where you can go where language is not that big of a barrier. People speak English. We think about Europe and the work that's going on there. You've got strong communities. What would a church that was would want to form a partnership, say, with a country like Lithuania or Germany where they're small or emerging groups? Do we have churches forming partnerships there where there might be, you know, less cultural distance between us and them?

Vic Wiens:
Yeah, definitely we do. Some of the the younger groups in European countries would be in Portugal and Lithuania to some degree in Austria.

Vic Wiens:
So there there are open doors there where we're working with the French in the Alsace Lorraine region. Well, I should also mention Ukraine. We've got a number of churches in B.C. that are connected with Ukraine.

Vic Wiens:
So now there it's is not necessarily English fluent. I should say that, you know, English is definitely the lingua franca of our generation, but it's not a hundred percent. There are places where you will need to work with a translator or, you know, maybe someone in your congregation knows that language. So that's another sort of just alert to, to ask God. Well, you know, what have you given us? What's in our hand in our own congregation.

Vic Wiens:
But there's definitely you know, Europe is, is in many ways, it's unreached in many countries. In Europe, the evangelical population is less than two percent, which sort of in missiological circles, classifies them as as unreached.

Vic Wiens:
So there are many open doors in Europe and of course, the cultural distance is less, as you mentioned. And so I would encourage those kind of options as well.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. So for our listeners today, pastors, churches, thinking about developing a partnership. It would, would a call to, to Multiply headquarters. That would be would be a place to, to explore what who would they ask for if they called Multiply and said, hey, we, we, wanna explore some options here.

Rob Thiessen:
Who should they ask for?

Vic Wiens:
That would be one option.

You know, you would probably end up talking to Greg Lang, who is our BC Mobilizer, and Greg would then steer, you would probably ask a whole bunch of questions, and then would begin to present some options.

Vic Wiens:
I would encourage listeners to, to ask God, who do we have in our congregation that has global connections and former missionaries, immigrants, refugees? What do we have on our hand? Secondly, look outside your doors. Who has God planted in your community? I really think the the Acts 17, verse 26 or so, the idea that God moves people around for his purposes. So a big chunk of what God is doing today is through migration.

Vic Wiens:
So who are the people in your neighborhood, or in your city? Right. And who do you have relationships with those people? And it may be that that's an open door that you actually didn't even realize, is there?

Nikki White:
Yeah, I'd have to. I really strongly agree with that. I think that and also prayer kind of maybe that is obvious. But let's just say that as well, that if the church should be praying about this and trying to follow the Holy Spirit, the natural relational organic network that exists following that. But also, if we're not being missional on an individual basis, on a neighborhood basis in our community, if that's not happening, then it's a big leap and a dangerous leap. I would say to go from from zero to let's have a global church partnership and just the potential for damage is huge.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. Yeah, it is. It is interesting how the Lord works. Sometimes, sometimes the overseas effort all of a sudden people come home and they look around, they realize like, for instance, at North Langley. Now, if you look around and you've seen it for years, obviously, Nikkie, because of your experience. But there's there's a lot of, of, of Spanish speaking folk in the, in the Langley community. And, and so that creates fellowship, you know, at, at North Langley, for instance, our, our caretaker currently is from the Brazil conference, and he's. He and his family are here studying. And so we have somebody at the church who's busy, you know, sweeping floors and stacking chairs. Who is connected to the global community. And so what you're saying is, look around. First of all, who is God put in your own community and ask the Lord to direct?

Nikki White:
Yeah. And it's not an either or. I know that for a while there, I thought that it was either going to be, you know, doing formal mission where we send teams to Mexico, in my personal context, in my mind, my dream. And if I recognize that God was convicting me, what about the Spanish speakers in our community that are local? And so we are home group is like 37, 38, Spanish and Portuguese speaking now. And that's that's our life group. And that life group is where we invest our, our day to day discipleship and are our lives. And we are ourselves doing life on life and receiving that discipleship from them. And they're also hugely instrumental in speaking into our church to church partnership with the Mexican church, because they understand the culture. They have the language. They've they've they're all Facebook friends with everyone. And so that's been an important part of my learning curve as well as to start to recognize it, that I don't have to go across a continent to do this. I can do it both and, and it should be a both and.

Vic Wiens:
Can I just add one thing? We also need to count the cost. As I mentioned earlier, most cultures of the world are warm cultures. And so they're not about a two year relationship or even a five year relationship. So if we're going to go down this road, we do well to just ask ourselves, are we willing to count the costs for a long term relationship, is actually in many ways a better word than or even friendship is better than partnership because partnerships can be dispensable. Right. Whereas friendships, the best of friendships are, are long term. Yes.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, that's a good point, Vic. And I know a number of our churches to. When you get to the place where there's exchange happening, where leaders are coming from that community to, to serve here alongside us, then. Yeah, it, it's there's given take in this relationship and, and that's a beautiful thing. Not always, maybe not always possible. But, but when it happens it, it really takes it to a new new level. So, you know, this has been really good. And I feel like it's a conversation that we need to pick up on an update again in the future.

Rob Thiessen:
But I hope for all of our listeners that God has used this to, to inspire and encourage our thinking about the global community. It's such a blessing to us to know that we're a part of a global family, changes our perspective, builds our faith, stretches our theology, maybe right sizes some of our values that we hold. And I pray that God will use this conversation to do that for all of our listeners. So for another podcast, we thank you for joining us and look forward to the next time we're together.

Automatically convert your audio files to text with Sonix. Sonix is the best online, automated transcription service.

Sonix uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to convert your mp3 files to text.

Automated transcription is getting more accurate with each passing day. Quickly and accurately convert your audio to text with Sonix. More computing power makes audio-to-text faster and more efficient. Sonix converts audio to text in minutes, not hours. Sonix takes transcription to a whole new level. Do you have a lot of background noise in your audio files? Here's how you can remove background audio noise for free. Rapid advancements in speech-to-text technology has made transcription a whole lot easier. Automated transcription can quickly transcribe your skype calls. All of your remote meetings will be better indexed with a Sonix transcript.

Sonix uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to convert your mp3 files to text.

Sonix is the best online audio transcription software in 2020—it's fast, easy, and affordable.

If you are looking for a great way to convert your audio to text, try Sonix today.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

You can send us a message here and we'll get back to you, easy as that!

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt
0

Start typing and press Enter to search