The Dynamics of Church Partnership
“A Cord of Three Strands is Not Easily Broken” (Ecc. 4:12b)
Strand One: Romania
The experience of God’s people in is a complex and miraculous story of apostolic beginnings, horrific persecution, and modern day Christian heroism. With great pride, most Romanians (80%) trace their national Christian identity through the Romanian Orthodox Church to the Apostle Andrew, Peter’s brother. Tragically after the Second World War Romania, however, under the oppressive Communist policies, much of the Orthodox Church became a political pawn in the hands of tyrannical Marxist dictators, atheistic leaders of the State who were committed to the absolute eradication of God from the hearts and minds of every Romanian. Believers were routinely imprisoned, tortured, and killed. In this harsh environment, a courageous underground community of devout Christians developed and even flourished; covertly carrying out worship, discipleship, and evangelism – the work of Christ’s body.
Romanian history is now replete with the pivotal role that these underground saints played in the miraculous events surrounding the overthrow of the Communist regime on Christmas 1989. Today, in the aftermath of this political revolution, many small congregations have surfaced across bearing testimony to the spiritual revolution which has been the manna of Christ’s persecuted body in over the past decades. As the Lord promised, a small seed that is buried can grow into a large tree: such is the way of the kingdom of heaven, and such is the witness of Christians in Romania.
Strand Two: American Partners
Through the ministries of Missio Link International you are invited to be a part of this witness. Significant needs and therefore opportunities for involvement exist among many churches in Romania. An anemic economy and lack of qualified leaders for the growing numbers of congregations have created something of a crisis for many of the local churches. If you choose to partner with a particular community, here are some of the ways that Missio Link Internationalwould like to see the relationship develop:
The purpose of these partnerships is the mutual encouragement and edification of God’s people in and Romania. Today, more than twenty active partnerships through Missio Link International demonstrate the dynamic reality of cross-cultural fellowship among believers.
Strand Three: God’s Spirit
Of course, the real power at work here in bringing Christians together, is the Spirit of God. It is the Lord alone who is able to bring Romanians and Americans together in a healthy relationship of mutual respect and appreciation for the special gifts that each partner brings to the other. Indeed, the real joy and privilege for every body involved is to realize that our coming together in Jesus&’ name is nothing less than the fulfillment of his prayer for unity to the Father before his crucifixion: “My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father. I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one so that the world will know you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me.” (John 17: 21-23)
“…the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness…” (Lamentations 3:22-23). There are no better words to describe the Church Partnerships project after seeing how wonderful God has worked and sustained us during the past ten years. Through missions conferences, Christian camps, evangelistic meetings, planting churches, and so many other events organized in connection with so many from other countries devoted to serve in Romania, we have seen God’s hand reaching and supporting our partners in Romania – pastors, missionaries and churches from remote areas.
During the years many things have changed in Romania: the economy, society, politics, and even the people are different than ten years ago, but there is one thing that will never be changed – the need for God’s love and grace for salvation. Sharing Christ to others is the reason that energizes us to keep going; it gives us the power to be flexible to change our methods and to improve our ways of reaching people for the Lord. And because we are all one body of Christ we invite you to continue to share your love for Christ by coming to Romania and taking part in advancing the Kingdom of God.
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