The Foursquare Church in Cambodia has become the largest and fastest growing of all churches and denominations in the country, according to The Atlas of Global Christianity. Foursquare missionaries Ted and Sou Olbrich are leading the nation-changing revival in Cambodia and are examples of what we call “global missionaries,” funded and sent by Foursquare Missions International (FMI). 

Taking advantage of the ministry opportunity that God has provided for The Foursquare Church in Cambodia requires more effort than one organization or one couple can provide. Our success in Cambodia is the result of God’s favor, and the hard work and leadership of long-term missionaries, together with the support of many church-sponsored, short-term missionaries and missions teams that willingly partner with our global missions personnel there.

The synergy of missionaries from the local church working in partnership with FMI teams is unstoppable, because the Lord is honored by our unity.

Throughout our vital history, The Foursquare Church has been the grateful recipient of ministry partnerships from inside and outside the local church. We are stronger today because we have embraced the “both/and” approach to ministry rather than building our individual “silos.”

Nowhere is this truer than in Foursquare’s missions efforts. We rejoice that many local church-sent missionaries have experienced significant ministry success. Often these missionaries have benefited from pathways of ministry diligently built by long-term FMI personnel in the region.

Michael Cooke, senior pastor of Columbia River, a Foursquare church in Columbia City, Ore., has articulated well the distinct advantages of church-sponsored and global-sponsored missions: 

Church-Sponsored Global Missions FMI Global Missions
Can tend to be more project-, need- or event-centered. Can be more nation-centered as the Four-Stage strategy is served.
Can see a more immediate return for the investment of funds and ministry. Can invest in strategies for which return is primarily seen in the long run.
Can benefit from the passion of a particular sending pastor or relationships within the congregation. Can identify “ripe fields” for strategic deployment and maintain a stable resource even when the sending pastor changes or funding varies.
Can more easily mobilize and deploy lay leaders into the mission field. Can develop and deploy more highly skilled and trained missionaries to provide broad ministry and oversight.
Can better develop new teams from one or many stateside churches. Can better raise up and release the indigenous leadership in a nation.
Can address the observable needs of well-known people groups, and where public evangelism and worship is possible. Can operate among peoples that are least-reached, or where public evangelism or worship is not possible.
Can build deep relationships with specific missionary works. Can develop broad relationships and participate in networks with national works, missions agencies, social services, or religious and governmental leaders.

Each statement points out the distinct ways in which global and church-sponsored missions complement and support each other. Mike also identified why the local church needs FMI, and why FMI needs the local church.

Church-Sponsored Missions Need Global Missions:

  • To coordinate our efforts with established ministries for more lasting impact
  • To benefit from the long-term groundwork that has been laid
  • To network with local leaders for relationship and accountability
  • To provide covering for and insight into the conditions on the ground
  • To give perspective as to how local church missions fits into the big picture

Global Missions Need Church-Sponsored Missions:

  • To give people in the U.S. firsthand experience with crosscultural ministry
  • To bring fresh energy and encouragement to long-term works
  • To provide people and resources for strategic projects and events
  • To reconnect the missionaries to their church families back home
  • To bring home testimonies and vision that inspire praying, giving and going

God has given us a workable plan to reach the world with the gospel. He has blessed our local church and global partnerships with lasting fruit. As we humbly strive to build His kingdom around the world, we must value “both/and,” embracing locally sent and globally sent missionaries.

By James C. Scott Jr., Foursquare vice president of global operations, director of Foursquare Missions International