The model of congregations partnering with each other to plant churches around the world rather than working through mission agencies has become popular with such “new paradigm” churches as the Vineyard Fellowship.
The charismatic Vineyard churches have pioneered in building decentralized networks of churches that avoid many denominational trappings, and increasingly these congregations are interested in mission work, reports Cutting Edge (Spring), a Vineyard publication. The usual model has been for churches to support denominational or parachurch mission agencie, but in the last ten years…as the Vineyard began to grow in size and momentum, it was debated: whether to develop a “sending organization” or rethink the church’s role in missions.
The new strategy of mission partnerships is seen when a group of congregations (not necessarily in close proximity) join together to intentionally plant churches in other areas of the world. “Sometimes churches divvy up responsibilities (such as communications or finances); other times, they all share equally in the responsibilities,” writes Jason Chatraw.
Under this new model, missionary involvement is no longer an isolated ministry of a congregation but rather “becomes part of the very fabric of the church.” As in the U.S., the Vineyard partnerships vary according to their context. But many are interested in forming “micro-business enterprises,” as a way of working in development as well as ensuring that mission workers and pastors can be self-supporting early on in their work.
(Cutting Edge, http://www.vineyard.org)