Living Hope hired Rodney Martin in August as Public Relations Director. He is originally from Constance Lake and pastored in Sachigo Lake for a time. His contribution to the organization is invaluable. Here is his perspective on partnership:
What does partnership look like? The question when posed seemed to baffle me, because it was something I never really thought about. So when I looked up the definition, this is what I found: A partnership consists of two or more people who combine their resources for a greater purpose.
And that was when I began to feel very uncomfortable. “Two people combine their resources…” What could I, as a First Nation person, possibly bring to the table that has any value? My native mindset is telling me, “this will be a very unbalanced, one sided partnership.” (Kind of like my partnership with Christ…but that’s another topic.) But if I’m honest, in my mind this will seem more like a white dominated partnership where once again I’m defaulted to live on handouts and sympathy, having made no real contribution to this relationship.
But to truly understand the dynamics of the contribution, you have to define what that “greater purpose” is. The greater purpose in this case would be the “great commission”–to go out and make disciples of all nations. Similarly, LHNM’s vision states, “That in every First Nations context the local church would reach its full potential – worshiping in full devotion, attracting the seekers, mobilizing believers, restoring families, changing communities, affecting the world.”
In essence, the contribution of the pastors for these native communities and the church would be that they become the hands and the mouth of this commission. Northern pastors know the needs of the people; they know individual struggles; they have the contacts; they know the language and how to best communicate to avoid misunderstanding. They have the much-needed information that outsiders do not have. That is their strength.
As a pastor who has formerly worked in the north, I’ve faced a lot of struggles. But none more unnecessary than feeling inadequate and under equipped. With proper partnerships, I feel we can put an end to some of these challenges–by providing lessons and training for the pastor and congregation, supplying access to all the up-to-date reading material and new information about the advancements of the church. I believe partnership requires constant communication and encouragement. With the continual progress in technology, communicating has never been easier.
What is partnership? In my opinion, it is a strength that we can all benefit from as we work together in this great commission. If you want to be a part of this partnership, we invite you to contact us here at LHNM.