Our Mission to Serve the Navajo:
Our Navajo missions began in 2008, when we for the first time partnered with Pure Water Ministry, a ministry whose sole calling is to the service of the Navajo. This first trip was just for us to go and see if there was anything we could do to help. We felt moved, but were unsure what this movement meant. People from our local community of Claxton, GA and surrounding communities teamed up to donate over $40,000 dollars in material goods, which were specified as needs on the reservation.
After our first year, we went back to serve a Navajo church by providing a Vacation Bible School for the children. At first, we were not sure of why we were simply providing short term missions for VBS, but God soon showed us. After a few years of returning, we had established a foundation of trust with many of the Navajo on the reservation. They told us we were not like other groups who came one time to observe Native life only never to return. From this relationship, they approached Pure Water Ministry and Tab Smith Ministry about helping educate pastors and providing "preaching licenses." Instead of just providing "preaching licenses," we partnered with The Missionary Church International to provide ordination and Christian Worker licenses, federally recognized licenses that many Navajo were without.
Each Navajo church leader who partners with us, meets with us quarterly for a time of fellowship and learning. Each month the church reports their activities. Otherwise, we allow these churches to lead themselves. Navajos do not need white men running their churches. They better understand how to serve their people. We simply help them in this calling. To learn more about our mission principles for serving native peoples, click here. To learn more about our practical approach, read the statement on the right side of this page: A Pauline Modeled Mission
With Pure Water Ministry, we also provide many needs for the churches, whether those needs are building projects, food banks, running water, or anything of the like. These churches are being equiped, not simply to serve themselves, but to reach out to the community around them, and they are doing a wonderful job of it.
A Pauline Modeled Mission:
For a full statement on our mission model and our views on missions in general, click here.
The apostle Paul is by far the most well known missionary in all of Christianity. While he served many people abroad, serving many people who were not of his race or worldview, he did not serve them on the ground twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days per year. He often set up new churches, ensured their leadership was sound, and went to new areas. Returning when needed to ensure the health of the churches he served. He kept a steady contact with his churches, but he did not live with them.
For some of the churches in certain areas, including, in our estimation, the churches we serve on the reservation, this works well. Why? Some church leaders end up becoming dependent upon missionaries if they are always available, and the church never truly becomes indigenous. By training the leadership and being available to serve throughout the year, but not at all times, the church becomes stronger. They know they have support, but they also know they have to run their church much of the year as the leaders. This is empowering.
Short-term missions that do not keep a strong connection with the churches they serve can leave the churches feeling forgotten, but, like Paul, it is possible for churches to feel very much supported through constant correspondence, but also very much in charge of their own day-to-day activity, because the missionary allows them to run the church. Like Paul, we believe in our churches and give thanks to our Father for them. Again, like Paul, we also remind them that they have a high privilege and responsibility to live as Christ has called them to live.