International (MNN) — Avant Ministries and CrossWorld have begun a new
collaboration they call "shared services."
Avant's Jack Elwood said the two ministries have not merged but will simply
share back office support services like accounting, information technology, and
"This is going to enable us both to continue our separate works, but
with better stewardship of resources, an allowance for mutual learning, and a
model for greater cooperative spirit among mission agencies that we're excited
about," Elwood explained.
CrossWorld recently relocated from their campus in the area of
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a new building on Avant's campus in Kansas
City. The process began in 2007, when
increased accounting regulations spurred the staff of the two organizations to
begin discussing how they could use resources more efficiently. However, the decision was not made in
response to financial difficulties. Both
agencies are financially stable.
"They just realized we could do so much more together and save about a
million dollars a year by combining some of these back offices services,"
Elwood said. "We are simply choosing to work together for
the progress of the Gospel. What a stunning concept. I think I read about that
in the Bible!"
Although the collaboration was not easy decision, and the organizations
have faced challenges along the way, Elwood said the transition has been smooth
on the whole.
"While it's been stretching at times, we are really amazed at how well
our people have worked together, knowing it is for the work of the kingdom," he
said. "We're both engaged in making
Christ known around the world…we've found it to be a great partnership. It's not competition; we're simply working in
cooperation. So we have found that
process to be mutually beneficial for both our organizations as we're learning
from each other."
Although they remain distinctly different organizations, Avant and
CrossWorld share a decades-long commitment to planting churches in areas of the
world unreached by the Gospel. They hope
their cooperation will inspire other ministries to better steward resources for
the furtherance of God's kingdom.
"Current fiscal realities, as well as some simple Biblical values, require
us to think about being creative and bold and collaborative," Elwood explained.
"No one agency, church, or even denomination
can reach the entire world with the Gospel…I think both missions and
missionaries should be the boldest, most innovative, and courageous of all
peoples. We have a changeless Gospel, but not a changeless world."
Pray for Avant and CrossWorld as they complete the
process of establishing the collaboration.
"Whenever you make these changes, there's always potential for conflict
and misunderstanding and confusion," Elwood said. "We want to pray that God would continue to
give us the grace to work together, and to work together in love for the expansion
of the church around the world. That's
our hope and our prayer."
Founded in 1892,
Avant Ministries is one of the oldest missionary sending agencies in North
America. Avant is a non-denominational ministry that recruits, equips, supports
and serves missionaries in over twenty countries globally. Avant exists to
plant vibrant, mature, reproducing churches where the church does not exist.
The goal of Avant is to produce a biblical, mature, reproducing church in as
short a time as possible, trusting God to achieve amazing results beyond