What lasts for 3 days, takes place only in the state of Florida, gathers a diverse crowd from other states, produces a network of contacts and resources, and focuses on God’s heart for the Nations? PIONEERS’ Church Partner Forum in Orlando.
Here We Are For Our Group Photo
Yes that is right! We’ve wrapped up another successful Church Partner Forum event on our campus at PIONEERS. Kelly and I are very pleased with how well the event was viewed by those in attendance.
We ask our guest to fill out an evaluation of the forum. Here is one of the questions and the answer we got:
What is your overall assessment of the value of this event?
“I was “so” close to burn-out you could smell the smoke…The rest, the hospitality, the care, the pampering, the HELPFUL focusing…it was all great- we’ll be back –you’ll have to ban me from the campus J !”
The weather was a bit “cool” but we did provide the sunshine that we had promised. We actually hit a night time low of 39 degrees while our guests were here, a record for this time of the year.
Some Of Our First Arrivals
As for us, we are the most rested after one of these events than ever before. Why less stress and weariness? Our team has grown and matured to the point that the two of us, as leaders, could step back and watch them take on more of the program responsibilities and details. It was great! We were freed up to interact on a more relaxed scale with our guest, which was enjoyable and very satisfying .
Greeting Our Guests The First Evening
Everyone Arrives - We Mingle and Get to Know One Another
Kelly & Ted (Kelly's boss on left) Getting To Know Our Guest (on right)
As for our guest, they were very engaged and full of questions. It was encouraging for us to see their passion for missions expressed in a variety of ways. We had a very diverse group of churches represented. Here is a random example:
- A rural American Baptist Church (ABC) from Ohio with a congregation about 300 in size. (Sr. Pastor & Missions Pastor attended)
- An Independent Baptist Church of Virginia founded in 1913 with an attendance of about 750 today. (Global Missions Pastor attended)
- From Charlotte, NC a new church plant started in 2002 by 2 members of John Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church. These 70 faithful members already have 4 of their own sent out as missionaries. (Assoc. Pastor & 2 of their Missions Team attended)
- A First Presbyterian Church here in Florida, founded in 1876 by 11 members has grown to 4,800 today. (Executive Pastor attended)
- An Evangelical Free suburban church from the Twin Cities of MN with approx 3,000 members (Director of Global Ministries & his wife)
- Another Ohio church founded in 1985 by a team of Liberty University grads that now has 1800 attending (Missions Director attended)
- An independent 50 year old Fresno, CA church with about 4,000 people, they also have a Spanish language congregation and host a Farsi-speaking Persian church (Assoc. Pastor & wife attended)
- A Southern Baptist Church (SBC) from St Charles, MO with a ministry staff of 13 and a support staff 16 (Missions Director attended)
- And a Porter Ranch, CA church that became non-denominational as a result of a merger of a SBC and a Christian Church 10 years ago and now has 7000 members (2 Missions staff attended this year after their Pastor and Missions Director attended last year)
Churches Sharing With Churches
On Wednesday & Thursday we have sessions that allow for a lot of interaction among the churches. As they share what works or doesn’t work for them in their church, they are networking, building relationships and helping one another with issues that matter to them.
Kelly & Connie Lead the Opening Session
Kelly Gives the Group Instructions
Our Guest Listen to the Instructions before Discussion
Interactive Discussions Around The Tables
It’s not all sitting and talking. There is free time factored in to allow everyone a chance to relax and soak in our Florida sun, shop at our craft store or tour our facilities if they choose.
Connie Gives the Pastor & His Wife A Tour of Our Facilities
Each of these churches are partners with us to send and support their missionaries on the field. So, the relationship doesn’t stop when they return to their respective churches. We will continue to work together in partnership for the sake of their workers on the field. PIONEERS has about 2500 active churches supporting our workers, so we keep pretty busy, and love every minute of it.