Mission to the World (MTW) has seen a dramatic increase in the number of national partners it works with worldwide, and is increasingly including them in its own leadership planning.

“Our new reality is that the church is around the world and that it is rapidly growing overseas,” said Bill Goodman, MTW’s director of field operations. “We can’t make independent plans at MTW apart from our national partners—we have to work together.”

Reflecting this new trend, MTW hosted its biennial field leadership conference, LEAD, in the Middle East in September. Nearly a quarter of the 130 missions workers in attendance were national partners.

“This was radically different from our approach in the past,” said Goodman. “As some have said, ‘We sometimes treat national partners as children, but we need to realize that the children are growing up.’”

The planning committee for September’s LEAD conference included an equal number of MTW workers and national partners, ensuring that the national partners had a say in the agenda as well as the program, according to Goodman.

“MTW is committed to working in new ways with our national brothers,” said Goodman. “Sometimes that means working under their leadership, at other times that means working side by side as equal partners, and in other areas it may mean that MTW takes the lead. But we are committed to not go it alone. It is God’s church and He has raised gifted leaders from many cultures.”

To learn more about MTW, visit www.mtw.org.