Church in Mission Edition
Greetings from the MI President
Kenny Woodhull, Missio International President
Dear ministry friends, we hope you are enjoying these editions of Missio International’s LINK. Our intent in each of them (printed three times p/ year) is to feature one of the three core areas of Missio Link International’s work in Romania. Having focused on Children and Youth @ Risk and Alpinis previously, our third and final installment here in 2021 features MLI’s Church in Mission ministries.
In this edition, you will hear Florin Iosub (MLI’s Church in Mission Ministry Coordinator) describe his passion for training leaders and facilitating ministry among ninety-three (!) congregations within the MLI network that covers much of Romania, and now even Serbia. Emil Toader (MLI President) reflects on the success of the most recent Pastor’s Conference. Pastor Mark Gaw (Washington Avenue Baptist Church, Cookeville, TN) reflects on the blessing from twenty + years of partnership with MLI. And Emily Reed, Missio International’s Ministry Facilitator, offers her perspective on the partnering of churches and extends a clear invitation to participate in an international ministry that has brought Christ’s global body together in unity since 1994! Thanks for reading on!
The Aroma of Christ in Church Partnership
Mark Gaw, Washington Avenue Baptist Church
Washington Avenue Baptist Church (WABC) in Cookeville, TN, has partnered with seven congregations associated with Missio Link International for the past twenty years. These years have been a rich, rewarding, and encouraging time for our church. To know and experience the fact that we have seven church leaders who are thousands of miles away, live in a different culture, speak a different language…and yet are united with us as one in the great privilege and work of the kingdom of God…this is very special!
Over the years, each winter for one week, our practice has been to send me with a few laymen from WABC to visit with these pastors and their congregations. I always tell the people of WABC that we are going not only to share the gospel of Christ but to encourage our brothers and sisters in Romania. I have learned instead that we are always the ones most encouraged! Our time with these servants and their families is always a reminder that we are not participating in a human endeavor but that we are taking part in a great divine plan made possible through the indwelling Christ working through us as one.
If we were to express the impact on our entire church, it would be what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2.14: that “through us (God) spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him (Christ) everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing…” In our work with MLI, the pastors and the congregations we have the privilege of partnering with are truly the “fragrance of Christ,” spreading the “aroma of Him” among the people of Romania…and among ourselves!!! For us, even after twenty years, that opportunity continues to be not only a privilege but a life-changing experience in the gospel.
Florin Iosub, Missio Link International
One of the key truths I discovered nearly thirty years ago now is this: the Kingdom of God is bigger than one church, one association, one association, or even one nation! This discovery came to me when, after being a part of a small group for two years, I was asked to take leadership of the group. Over the next eight years, I poured into these participants, as I myself had been poured into earlier. I watched people become leaders: some as pastors, some in other church-based ministries. It was awesome to see everyone in the church–and not just pastoral staff–growing and getting involved in developing other leaders.
As a result of the visionary leadership of Eugen Groza and the generous oversight of Emil Toader since Eugen’s passing, I am now pleased and honored to facilitate MLI’s leadership development initiatives. These initiatives are purposefully multi-generational and are geared to train both from and for team-based leadership.
The heart of MLI’s leadership development for the future is to focus on key leaders and key community needs among strategic churches that have a capacity to develop transformative projects of impact in their local communities.
MLI’s Leadership Development work here takes place among nineteen strategic cities and villages across Romania, involving 375 individuals (60% men, 40% women). Our total number of participants involved in leadership development actually increased in 2021 by 15%…and we project even more growth this year. Some of you reading this now have seen first-hand evidence of the effectiveness of this work among believers in Romania, and some of you are ensuring its continuation through your financial support and practical involvement with Missio Link International. For everything you mean to us, we are deeply grateful.
MLI’S Pastor’s Conference
Emil Toader, Missio Link International President
In early September, after a very long pause due to Covid constraints, we gathered for our annual pastors’ conference in Sinaia, central Romania. In twenty-five years of ministry, 2020 was the first year we were not able to host this event. It was extra special therefore to be able to gather again with these men and women who are such dedicated servant leaders.
Professor Radu Gheorghiță, one of the most esteemed New Testament theologians (Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City) in Romania, led us through Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. The theme of the conference and lens for understanding the letter was this: We are God’s Masterpiece (“the poiema of God” based on Ephesians 2:10). As well, Professor Gheorghiță challenged us to (re)discover the spiritual discipline of memorizing Scripture with an application on the short letter to Philemon.
Our time was deep in Scripture and strong in fellowship. We were all enriched by God’s presence, by reconnecting with each other, and encouraged to serve. We are so grateful to God and our partners in America who provided the resources for the conference. Thank you for investing in equipping and connecting pastors and leaders in Romania for Kingdom service!
A Word from MI Knoxville
Emily Reed, Missio International Ministry Facilitator
Church partnership is a model we notice throughout the Bible. The partnership between Paul and the Philippian church is a great example of this. Paul writes: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5). It is this same heart of joy and partnership in the gospel that we see expressed in the church partnerships cultivated by Missio International.
The vision here is intentionally holistic: encouraging believers here (in the US) and there (Romania) to express together a commitment to spiritual formation and community transformation. Through this unique initiative, churches in America have the opportunity to join a network of international churches, build their congregation’s capacity for integral biblical ministry, and experience a new level of Christian unity. Our church partnerships today extend across different denominations, states, and financial giving commitments.
Finally, I’d love for you to give me a chance to connect you and your church to Emil Toader (MLI President) while he is visiting the US in a few weeks. To explore this further, won’t you please join us in our Church Partnership Virtual Experience! For more details, please scan the QR code located at the end.
How to Join the Virtual Church Partnership Experience
This fall Missio Link International President, Emil Toader will be visiting the United States. During his visit, Emil has the opportunity to visit many of our church partners. Although he is unable to visit them all, we would like to provide YOU with the opportunity to attend a Zoom Meeting with Emil. This offers the opportunity to receive an update about the MLI Ministries, but to learn more about the Church Partnerships! To register follow theses instructions:
WILL WE SEE YOU THERE?
Use your camera to take a picture of the QR code and click the following link to register for the Zoom Meeting with Emil Toader.