January 2015 will mark 13 years since we (Shelly and Randy Schmor) began to serve with Gateway Teams (where has the time gone?!) and with each year we continue to see God using this ministry to develop “Global Partnerships through Kingdom Mission.” Here’s some of the most notable developments at Gateway this past year:
– Sister Church/Organization Partnership (SCP) Development
SCPs are opportunities for pastors and leaders of churches or groups to investigate whether God is calling their organization to partner in a long-term, mutual partnership with a “sister” church/ministry. The process begins with a ‘SCP Orientation’ and continues on with a Vision Trip(s), relationship building, ministry and goal sharing, mission teams, and further collaboration; the goal being a mutual relationship that grows and endures through many years.
Gateway is currently facilitating/developing about 15 SCPs with churches and organizations from Canada and the USA partnering in Kosovo, Paraguay, Cameroon, Mexico, Uganda and Romania. One of these SCPs for example involves Crosspointe Church (Grosse Pointe Woods, MI) and Iglesia Florida (San Lorenzo, Paraguay). After approximately 6 years of working together, these 2 churches have worked together to start new fellowships, run medical clinics and seminars, as well as sending a young Paraguayan woman as a missionary to China.
– Training and Coaching
All Gateway Team Leaders continue to be certified to lead Short Term Mission (Gateway) Teams by their attendance at Leader Training Events. We had 2 of these events this year in Milwaukee, WI, and Elk Grove, CA, as well as a Team Training Retreat for an ESL Gateway Team in Veroce, Hungary. As was mentioned above, the SCP Orientation is another type of training we offer church pastors and leaders, whether they are North American or international, as they begin these strategic Kingdom community relationships with each other. Coaching is also a key aspect of our ministry as we take churches through the beginning stages of partnership interest to full collaboration. This coaching also applies to individuals as we help many discover God’s call on their life.
– ‘Explore’ Teams
Gateway continues to offer the opportunity for churches, groups and individuals to discover, maybe for the first time, how God could use them in His Kingdom Mission on a global basis. ‘Explore’ teams serve at a number of ministries such as orphanages and other destinations where ‘first-timers’ are more than welcome to ‘test the waters’ of Short Term Mission service.
A great recurring example of one of these types of opportunities is in Hungary where we have a standing invitation to send Gateway Teams to serve as English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers (no experience or certificates necessary!). We will often put such teams together ‘FUSE’ style where individuals come from a number of different locations to form a team. Let us know! We’re forming ESL teams for the summer of 2015 in various locations in Hungary right now.
– Other News
2014 (August) also signified the end of another chapter as Sarah Loane resigned from her role as a coordinator for Gateway to continue her call as a stay-at-home mom and new studies in midwifery. We miss her! and continue to wish Sarah, Rob, Elliott and ‘baby Loane’ (coming in January!) all the best.
As we move into the future, both Gateway and our parent organization, NAB, recognize that the opportunities for churches to participate in a global partnership such as an SCP is a strategic and missional part of how the Spirit is moving the North American church to participate in God’s Kingdom. We ask you as churches to consider both your participation in a Sister Church Partnership and to support us at Gateway as we press into these initiatives in even greater ways. It has yet to be seen what the full impact of these SCP relationships will yield. In addition to having the potential to mobilize everyone in the church missionally, there’s no doubt that a number of North Americans (as well as internationals) have discovered a vocational call from God through these opportunities as well.
Thanks for your continued interest and support of Gateway Teams in the pursuit of connecting the body of Christ world- wide as we partner with God and His Kingdom Mission.
Randy, Shelly and Kameron Schmor -Gateway Teams