Building Interdependent Relationships

by Jarrett Meek

"What would make cross-cultural missionaries more effective at ministering the gospel of Christ?"  That's the question author and long-time missionary Duane Elmer asked believers from many different countries before writing his book, Cross-Cultural Servanthood.  The answer, which was repeated over and over again in different forms and sometimes in these exact words, might surprise you:
"Missionaries could more effectively minister the gospel of Christ if they did not think they were so superior to us."  
As I have processed through this book with the staff of Mission Adelante, obvious questions have arisen.
 "What is it that causes people from other cultures to perceive our efforts at serving in this way?"  "Do we indeed have an underlying or unconscious attitude of superiority that comes across when we relate with others?"  "How can we reflect the humility of Christ when we serve and share life?"  Elmer's book is one of the best I've read at addressing these questions.

At Mission Adelante we are becoming a new community, a multicultural community, a community where immigrants and others thrive and use our gifts together to transform our neighborhood.  In the process we are all learning a lot and God is causing us all to grow!

"Relationships" have always been a core value of our ministry.  We believe that ministry is a relational endeavor... not programs, not services, but relationships!  They are the context for making disciples, for loving our neighbor, for equipping leaders, for serving, for sharing Jesus.  Relationships rule!  But, it's not just any kind of relationship we're talking about.  When ministry is done in a relational way, many wrongs are made right, and we see much greater effectiveness.  But, it's also possible to form relationships in a way that's not helpful.  So the kind of relationships we're especially talking about are "interdependent relationships."  That's how it's written in our values document.
"We believe that ministry is relational at its core.  And when relationships are interdependent, learning is mutual, serving is reciprocal, and friendships are life-giving." 
Interdependence means both parties give and receive.  Interdependence means that I learn as much from the other person as he learns from me.  Interdependence means that we need each other.  The times when I've experienced relationships like this, God has moved powerfully in my life, in my friends' lives, and through our ministry together.

As the Mission Adelante community presses into what it looks like to build interdependent relationships and minister the gospel of Christ effectively in a multicultural context, we are aware that if the things that seem like strengths in our own respective cultures make it difficult to relate to others humbly, those very strengths can become our biggest weaknesses in ministry.  The Lord said to the apostle Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness". 2 Corinthians 12:9a

Prayer needs

  • Praise God for a recent opportunity Jason Schoff had to engage pastors and church leaders as part of a four person immigration panel at the Sentralized conference.  Pray for all our pastors who are stepping out to call for new immigration policy.

Current needs

  • We need books!!! Do you have some at home that you might be willing to part with, or do you frequent yard sales or thrift stores? We are in need of easy to read, high interest books to add to our LIT library! Contact Kristen or Megan for more information: Kristenm@missionadelante.org or Meganm@missionadelante.org.
  • We are in need of volunteers to join the Bhutanese Transportation Team! No CDL drivers license required! The greatest need is for drivers on Tuesday evenings. if you or someone you know is interested, please contact Drew Hammond at drew@missionadelante.org.