What is the vision for the programme? What change do you hope to see as a result of it?
Church Mission Society’s vision is to see all God’s people engaged in God’s mission, bringing challenge, change, hope and freedom to the world. This includes our African, Asian, Latin American, European and Middle Eastern brothers and sisters.
For decades, CMS has worked with Christians from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East who are called to serve in their own regions. We are constantly inspired by their commitment to God’s mission, their many skills and talents and the difference they are making in our world. Local leaders can often access places in the world that are closed to Western mission partners; they also have an innate understanding of their local cultural context, resulting in highly effective outreach, discipleship and capacity building.
And so, recognising that local leaders are the future of mission, CMS has formed the Global Mission through Local Leaders programme. The vision is to help global churches and organisations identify, equip and release more local leaders to put their mission call into action in their own regions. The end result is lives that are transformed physically and spiritually.
Who does the programme support?
Currently the programme helps support 75+ women and men in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. This number includes staff teams in our sister organisations Asia-CMS and CMS-Africa as well as other local leaders working in a variety of contexts.
How are local leaders selected?
Each local leader’s story is unique. We work with local churches and strategic partner organisations in each region to identify, interview and select local leaders for the programme. In Asia and Africa, we are guided by the plans and objectives of our locally-led sister organisations Asia-CMS and CMS-Africa. Broadly speaking, local leaders are all called to God’s mission, have demonstrated that they are highly capable of bringing change and require some support in order to realise their full God-given potential.
How much does the programme cost?
Church Mission Society looks to raise approximately £625,000 each year to sustain Global Mission through Local Leaders. Currently, £200,000 goes to help support 60+ individual local leaders in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America as they put their call into action. We hope to expand the number of local leaders as God raises up more supporters who catch the vision of Global Mission through Local Leaders. The in-region sending organisation of each local leader receives an annual grant of £3,000 – £5,000 from CMS to help cover their costs. It’s important to note that a local leader will not depend solely on CMS for their funding; local leaders also receive funding from their local sending organisations. For example, Nevedita is a CMS local leader is Sri Lanka; she is jointly supported by CMS, Asia-CMS and a local organisation called LEADS, all working in partnership. Rami in the Middle East is jointly supported by JEO Ministries and CMS.
Also included in the Global Mission through Local Leaders expenditure figure is a yearly partnership grant of £425,000 that CMS gives to enable Asia-CMS and CMS-Africa to develop sustainable indigenous CMS mission movements in their own regions. Those grants help contribute towards staff salaries, building maintenance and other infrastructure needs.
If we support Global Mission through Local Leaders, will we receive regular mission updates?
Yes. Many of our local partners speak and write English and we will gladly share their news and stories with you via post and/or email. We send out a Global Mission through Local Leaders story email three to four times a year and we frequently include features on local leaders in our flagship publication The Call, which is sent three times a year by post. Our prayer publications also contain requests and reports from local leaders.
How is safeguarding ensured within the programme?
We take safeguarding very seriously and work with our carefully vetted in-region partner organisations to make sure children and vulnerable adults are protected. You can read more about CMS’s safeguarding policy here: churchmissionsociety.org/safeguarding-policy
Can a local leader visit our church?
Local leaders do sometimes visit the UK and, as a supporting individual or church, you will be among the first to know when a local leader is going to be here and available for church visits. Church visits need to be arranged between CMS, the in-region sending organisation and your church.
As a church, we are accountable for how our money is spent. What reporting is available for the programme?
Local leaders provide quarterly reports to CMS on their work and impact. CMS utilises these to produce regular mission updates (see above) for Global Mission through Local Leaders supporters.
How long do local leaders serve for?
Generally, our initial agreement is for three years and can be renewed for a further three years. The aim is to enable local leaders to serve in the short term while building sustainability for the long term.
How do you ensure that the work of local leaders is sustainable in the longer term? How do you avoid dependency upon funding?
True sustainability is a challenge to achieve in many of the contexts in which our partners live and work, as they are often in a small faith minority. However, local organisations are always looking at ways of developing more resources to support and enable mission, and the long-term aim of sustainability is built into each local partner’s agreement.
How do you measure the impact of the programme?
CMS carries out periodic reviews of Global Mission through Local Leaders as do the in-region organisations we partner with. We share these evaluations with each other.
Does this emphasis on local leaders mean CMS is no longer sending Western mission partners overseas?
CMS recognises that Christianity is growing rapidly in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and God is raising up people in mission from these regions to share Jesus’ love in word and action. We are privileged to partner with more and more indigenous people in mission and we’d love to see this programme grow. There are definitely some advantages in releasing local leaders for mission: they can go places Westerners aren’t always welcome, they are often more familiar with the surrounding language and culture and it’s financially less costly to support a local leader. However, we do still fully believe that God calls some people to go overseas and that there is great value in people from differing cultures joining together in God’s mission. So we continue to send mission partners from the UK and, where possible, we arrange for mission partners and local leaders to work together.
We believe that the church around the world is always called to send and receive people from around the world – God’s mission is from everywhere to everywhere by everyone. Enriching both those who send and those who receive, partnership in mission across cultural borders can offer a different perspective and skill set, as well as insight into what God is doing in other parts of the world. A beautiful expression of partnership in mission, an exchange of people is a real sign of solidarity within the worldwide Body of Christ.
We welcome any further questions you have about Global Mission through Local Leaders. Please feel free to be in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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