The El Valle District recently hosted representatives from six Texas Annual Conference United Methodist churches, their Conference Center, and Center for Missional Excellence. They came to the Texas/Mexico border to meet with representatives from the El Valle District and the Mexican Methodist Church as part of a new TAC Border Partnership Initiative.
The March 30-April 1 trip is part of a new mission initiative birthed through the TAC Center for Missional Excellence, the El Valle District and General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) Missionary Willie Berman. The partnership is based on the 50/50 “In Mission Together” program conceived by Global Ministries. The goal of the partnership is to begin from an asset-based approach rather than a needs-based approach. Instead of looking to a mission field and asking “what does that community need?”, the partnership asks, “what do I have to share with that community, and what do they have to share with me?”
In years past, the temptation in mission engagement was to go somewhere and do something FOR someone else. Now, we are moving to a model of being in ministry WITH another community.
The 50/50 model looks at both partners as equals and allows both communities to share their gifts and graces together for the Kingdom of God. Using 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 as a guide, partner churches share their unique talents and callings for ministry. Ideas for partnerships discussed during this trip were: shared discipleship and training sessions, shared worship experiences, a shared youth camp experience, and assistance with construction of sanctuaries, education buildings, and parsonages.
Churches represented from the Texas Annual Conference included Kirbyville UMC; Faith UMC, Orange; FUMC, Livingston; FUMC, Conroe; FUMC, Humble; and Christ Church UMC, Sugar Land. Representatives from the Center for Missional Excellence and Lakeview Methodist Conference Center were also in attendance to explore conference-wide partnership possibilities.
Those from the El Valle District taking part in the visit were Rev. Cindy Layton from El Mesias UMC; Pastor Juanita Martinez from Nueva Vida UMC, Las Milpas and El Paraiso Mission Church; Rev. Amelia Beasley and Cindy Johnson from El Buen Pastor UMC, Brownsville; Rev. J.J. Wicke of First UMC, Weslaco; Roland Pecin, and Susan Hellums the EVD Border Area Mission Coordinator. Also participating from the Methodist Church of Mexico were Guillermo “Willie” Berman, GBGM Missionary and others, including Pbro. Raul Garcia de Ochoa and Pbro. David Medrano.
Article adapted from TAC article
This article was written by Abel Vega, Director of Outreach Vitality, Mission Vitality Center, Rio Texas Conference, United Methodist Church