PARTNERSHIP WITH SUPPORTING CHURCHES
Alongsiders International is committed to partnering with churches in more "developed"/affluent countries such as Singapore, Canada, Australia, UK, NZ and the United States. We believe the rich need the poor, as much (if not more!), than the poor need the rich.
So our philosophy of partnership is based on the beautiful idea that different parts of the body of Christ need each other. We seek to be in a mutual, learning relationship. In the words of Aboriginal activists:
"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time.
But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine,
then let us work together."
Key Partnership Components
1. Discipleship and Learning
Supporting churches see their partnership with Alongsiders International as part of their overall discipleship and learning. They will seek to increasingly walk alongside marginalized people in their own contexts and live lives that reflect an awareness and love for marginalized people around the world. Church leadership will be committed to leading the church in following Jesus who came to bring "good news to the poor".
All intervention begins with intercession. So we commit to praying for one another on an ongoing basis. Prayer requests and stories are easily shared online through social media (Facebook and Twitter and email) so those who use these tools are encouraged to connect. As we pray for the poor, we believe God works in our own hearts as well.
3. Vision trips
We prefer not to use the term "mission trips" since mission is something that takes place in the context of a long term, incarnational, rooted presence in a community - not a two week visit.
However, a Vision Trip can be a powerful and inspiring experience: where a small group of people come to connect with the Alongsiders movement, swap stories and wisdom, learn about God's heart for the poor and seek to be transformed.
The best learning occurs when participants have already read and thought deeply about the theme of God's heart for the poor before they travel. Thus a Vision Trip is never a one-off event, but part of the overall teaching strategy. A Partner Church would likely make several visits over a number of years.
Vision Trips will be planned 10-12 months ahead of departure date, meeting on a monthly basis in the six months prior travel. The Vision Trip itself will include:
Journalling, readings and prayer
Teaching from Alongsiders staff
Daily debriefing within the group
Sharing Stories with Alongsider Mentors
Participating in a Camp or other Alongsiders event
Some basic language learning
On returning to the home country, Vision Trip participants would continue to meet a few times to debrief and work out how what they have learned can be integrated into life in their own context.
4. Financial Support
A practical way that Partner Churches can support the movement to reach vulnerable children is through financial support. This is often done through the sponsorship of an annual Training Camp. These camps allow Alongsider Mentors and their "little brothers and sisters" to go deeper in their relationship, be inspired by meeting together with hundreds of others in the movement and receive more teaching.
Steps to Partnership
If our approach of empowering the poor, not undermining the fragile and important work they are doing to transform their own communities resonates with your church leadership, we invite expressions of interest for further conversation.
Click to download a Sample Church Partnership Agreement.