I Am Able Ministries
North American Native Mission Partnership Strategy
Jesus said, "My Father is always at work to this very day, and I, too, am working" (John 5:17), right now God's work is evident among the Native American people of North America. Following the example of Jesus, I Am Able Ministries has accepted God's call to be on mission with Him among the Native American and aboriginal peoples of the world. We have chosen to walk along-side of our Native brothers and sisters in ministry across the globe, and our goal is that every tribe and all people may know Him and have an opportunity to serve in His kingdom. The strategy being presented in this document is for the purpose of our North American mission opportunities, and does not cover extensively the movement of God that we are joining around the world. God is opening the doors for Native American-led mission teams to minister throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, as well as the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysian and Greece. I Am Able Ministries staff is made up of Southern Baptists who believe God is calling us to do more to support His kingdom work. To understand our purpose, please note our Mission and Vision statements:
I Am Able Ministries is a non-profit organization proclaiming the Gospel of Christ through obedience to the Great Commission to all people who God brings our way.
I Am Able Ministries, under leadership of the Holy Spirit, is motivating churches and Christian volunteers to work together to demonstrate the love of Jesus for the Native American people. I Am Able Ministries will lead mission teams to reach the Native American people through Evangelism, Discipleship, Ministry, Worship, & Fellowship. I Am Able Ministries will share the Good News that there is hope for life and a future when you put your trust in Jesus.
We see God working in two ways to reach the Native American and aboriginal peoples of the world, which are through Native Response Teams (NRT) and Partner Response Teams (PRT). I Am Able Ministries has partnered with Native Response Teams from New Mexico and Oklahoma to send church planting and ministry teams to the First Nations People of Canada, the Mayans of Mexico, and other tribes in the United States. Many of our Native Response Teams have requested partners to come along-side of their efforts with funding, materials, supplies and administrative assistance and we have responded. I Am Able Ministries has worked along-side Partner Response Teams from non-Native congregations to support existing church planting, strengthening and support ministry efforts of existing Native congregations over the last decade. These efforts have included Vacation Bible Schools, building churches, the 2009 Native American Simultaneous Revivals in New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma, pastoral support, school supply drives and Christmas evangelistic parties reaching thousands with the good news of Jesus Christ. Partner Response Teams have also included congregations and individuals that have helped in the funding and support of Native Response Teams. We believe that God is raising up leaders among the Native American and aboriginal peoples of the world and we want to support His work among them. Requests from Native American and aboriginal congregations have grown immensely, and I Am Able and its partners are looking for kingdom partners to meet the needs of God's movement.
Phase 1- CONNECT: Planning and Preparation
When the Holy Spirit makes a request for us to support His work among an area, an immediate response to
Connect with the Area of Need is critical. The following is the process that takes place when this happens:
- I Am Able Sending Database is updated with the need expressed (Church Planting assistance, church strengthening support or ministry support request)
- Connect with Area of Need (local church, association, state convention, or individuals requesting a work be begun) Cooperation with Southern Baptist leaders already at work on the field is a priority in order to join them in support and not hinder the work. The use of NRTs will be priority when possible, and PRTs will be deployed to support the NRTs or respond alone when necessary.
- Native Response Teams (NRT) - GCI trained, Native led (North American and Global), Evaluate and Plan
- Partner Response Teams (PRT) - Teams mentored by NRT to support and resource God's movement, typically Non-Native teams. Resourcing may include: Man power, tangible resources, church planting partners, ministry teams, prayer support, and support through awareness education among partner churches about discovered needs among Native American people groups.
Phase 2- ENGAGE: The Team's Trip or Event
Engaging an area where there is need must be contextually done, appropriate methods along with a scriptural approach is critical. The possible ways to engage the area may be through:
The expected outcome when engaging an area of need are congregations and church plants evangelizing, discipling, establishing congregations, supporting and helping in the development of indigenous leaders and churches in North America and globally. The local pastor's of new churches or existing churches partnered with will be incorporated into the I Am Able Ministries Database, and then called upon to become part of NRT's and PRT's in other areas to include them in God's mission endeavors. I Am Able Ministries encourages our partners to Network together for God's Kingdom efforts.
- Assisting Church Planting
- Existing Church Strengthening
- Ministry Events and Opportunities
Phase 3: Follow Up
Follow up after an area is engaged is vital to God's Kingdom continuing to grow there. It is impossible for I Am Able Ministries to have personnel stay in every area that is engaged, so it is important for NRT's and PRT's to disciple and equip and train leaders in each area of engagement. I Am Able Ministries supports and partners with Baptist State Conventions, Baptist Associations, Baptist Fellowships of Christians as they develop schools of ministry and other types of training to continue follow-up. Follow-up is the responsibility of all Christians involved.
The following is the process of Evaluation and Adjustment that will be done after an Engagement:
It is important that we make sure the recipients of our ministry partnerships join an NRT immediately. The transition from being a congregation in need of assistance to becoming missional is critical. In order for an existing church or church plant to grow is to be missional in purpose and action, so providing an outlet for this to happen is important. Connecting the recipient of NRT and PRT efforts to becoming part of the serving team will also give these individuals a learning opportunity from a different perspective of giving and being missional.
- Evaluate — The leaders of the NRT and/or PRT will debrief with Randy Carruth after each engagement. The accomplishments of goals for the trip/or event and needs of the area will be discussed. The NRT and/or PRT will be encouraged to fulfill as many of the needs as possible, and those that cannot through prayerful attention will be presented to other NRTs or PRTs that may be able to assist.
- Adjust — Adjusting approaches or methods used by NRTs and PRTs will be discussed for the purpose of learning and being more contextual in reaching an area for Christ and supporting the local church. This is hoped to enhance future trips there or elsewhere by teams. Strong emphasis on our NRT's direction on culture and methods to be used will be sought through the process.
- Coach — NRTs and PRTs will be encouraged to continue to coach leaders they may have trained or equipped while engaging an area. Coaching is the process of guiding through questions to help the leader figure out on their own how to resolve problems or to handle a task or situation, and also for the coach to give helpful advice when appropriate.
- Mentor - NRT's are strongly encouraged to walk beside a Native leader, or mentor them. This process will help the Native leader to learn how to lead or do a particular task.
- Equip — Training is vital for growth in a ministry setting. Most recipients of the NRT and PRT efforts have limited training available to them that is contextual. We believe that helping them connect into contextually appropriate training through NRTs and culturally trained PRTs is vital to success. Many of our partners such as FONAC have culturally appropriate training available, and are being used as a great resource for helping local pastors and ministries.
Phase 4: Final Outcome
Church Planted or Need Met - Ultimately, I Am Able Ministries and our partners work to see the message of Christ salvation spread to all peoples of the world, and we work throughout North America and globally through our International partnerships. Not only is evangelism a critical outcome of our ministries, but our partnership teams work to equip local believers of Native and aboriginal congregations to evangelize on their own and to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. This is done through helping conventions, associations, and local churches plant churches in areas of need, and meeting needs of existing congregations and ministries that desire partnership to further their work for the Lord. When a project is completed, it has just begun! The follow-up phase will help network the new partners together, and aid in further equipping and training for discipleship and leadership development. I Am Able will continue to be a partner in ministry when needed.
Reproducing -Our goal is to help in the development of healthy, Bible-based, and missional congregations and individuals that reproduce. A reproducing individual is one who is led by the Holy Spirit, grows through discipleship, evangelizes, ministers and nurtures others, is missional and fellowships with other Bible-based believers in Jesus. A reproducing congregation/church under the Lordship of Christ is a growing body being discipled, evangelizing, ministering and nurturing, missional and fellowshipping as a Bible-based local congregation/church. Local congregations that have these elements will be active participants in God's Kingdom work. A church or ministry that just exists for itself will become stagnant and die. Just as a new believer in Jesus Christ must immediately go tell their story of salvation, so must a local congregation tell their story of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Indigenous Believers/Congregations-It is a vital outcome that indigenous leaders be developed among every tribe and people group. We believe that God uses Native peoples and Non-native peoples in partnership to reach tribes and people for Christ, and that in a culturally contextual way that these partners will develop disciples and Christian leaders to serve their communities and wherever God may call them.