Walk alongside the peoples of Asia and the Arab world
Walk alongside the peoples of Asia and the Arab world
Ruth and Dave live with their kids alongside the urban poor in the slums of a South East Asian country. They work alongside the local church to bring Jesus’ love to their neighbours. Grassroots projects have sprung up, including a peer support network for school kids from very poor families, and a social enterprise called ‘Justees’.
Jonathan is an engineer. He works with a team of local believers in a remote region of Central Asia, where harsh winters and fuel shortages cause deaths every year. With his team, Jonathan has been teaching people in villages how to build fuel-efficient stoves that heat a house quickly and keep it warm longer.
Thomas, together with local Christians in the Arab world, started a business that exports the work of local potters. He and his family lived there for 10 years, sharing their business knowledge, their hope and faith. The business is now independently run by local believers, and its profits fund ministry among children with disabilities.
Lois is a nurse consultant at a Christian hospital in one of the neediest areas of South Asia. By training and mentoring nurses, junior doctors and community health workers, Lois is meeting immediate needs, growing disciples and building local capacity for the future. Lois’ heart’s desire is that God’s love would fill her to overflowing and splash over onto others around her.
How long is “Long Term”?
Partners serve for varying lengths of time, some for over 30 years. To apply as a Partner requires a commitment to more than 2 years. Our experience indicates that a commitment of 6 or more years results in an effective sustained impact in the communities where we serve.
Most Partners invest 1-2 years in language study before starting a full time ministry position, and return to Australia for a 4-6 month “Home Assignment” once every 3 years.
Why commit long term?
Two key opportunities we have in cross-cultural service are:
Once we have developed proficiency in language and begun to adapt to culture, we are then more able to help the local church to holistically proclaim the gospel in their community. We can do this both by participation in the local church and through mentoring those with whom we work. This means sharing our skills and knowledge, but also modelling Christian character and behaviour in our work and social contexts. Even in Australia, where we know the language and culture intimately, these kinds of opportunities take years to develop.
Our commitment to enabling local organisations and churches means we often work alongside or under the authority of local leaders. To be effective agents of change, we first have to demonstrate competence, character, respect and true understanding for those we serve. Everything we achieve, we achieve together based on strong relationships of trust that are built over the long term.
Where and how are Interserve Partners placed?
Interserve Partners work in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and in other countries where diaspora people groups from these regions have settled.
Interserve Partners are normally seconded to local organisations and become part of the Interserve Country Team where they are serving. Interserve will pursue a specific placement for you on the basis of factors such as:
Placement conversations between the applicant, Interserve Australia and the Interserve Country Team are ongoing throughout the application process and are confirmed after acceptance to Partnership.
Find out more about Where we serve.
How are Partners funded?
Interserve Australia uses a pooling system to financially care for its Partners. Partners invite people who share their vision to support them by making donations into a fund. Each Partner has a different fundraising target depending on their family make-up, the country in which they will serve and other relevant factors – and funds are pooled together so that we can pay all allowances reliably, even though individual donation income may go up and down over time.
Interserve administers two funds. The Overseas Aid Fund supports Partners engaged in community aid and development work. Donations to the Overseas Aid Fund are tax-deductible in Australia. Partners who are doing non-development work (e.g. theological education, pastoral ministry, classroom teaching), are supported through a separate Pooled Fund. Donations to this fund are not tax-deductible.
Interserve works together with each Partner to ensure that 100% of the fundraising target is pledged before departure.
A Partner’s fundraising is one part of raising Team Support. The other key ingredients are prayer, relationship and practical support. Team Support enables the Australian church to accompany the Partner both prayerfully and practically on their journey.
“Although it can initially seem daunting, those of us who have lived on Team Support for many years can testify to the blessings such as: our sending churches growing in their engagement with mission, a strong resilient source of income and the freedom to work with organisations based on the value of their work, rather than their capacity to pay a salary. Raising Team Support may initially push us out of our comfort zone, but in so doing, it is one way in which God compels us to exercise our ‘faith muscles’ and perhaps confront fears or pride.” – Interserve Partner, 15 years.
Some Interserve Partners earn a salary for the work they do, and a few have an independent means of financial support. These Partners gather a Team focussed on prayer and relationship support.
What training do Partners need?
Interserve Australia is committed to its personnel being Biblically and professionally trained and prepared prior to departure.
Partners must be fully qualified and experienced in their profession or trade and have the knowledge and skills for effective cross-cultural ministry. As a general rule, those mobilised as Partners will have Biblical and missiological knowledge and understanding equivalent to that normally gained through (at least) one year of full-time formal Bible College training.
Depending on the level of their prior learning, applicants may be required to undertake further training in their profession or trade, in Biblical knowledge and understanding or in ministry skills. This is determined as part of the ‘Personal Development Plan’ during stage 1 of the application process.
After acceptance to Partnership and before departure, Partners participate in Interserve Orientation, Missions Interlink’s Transition Training and a language and culture course such as MILL (Maximum Impact Language Learning).
Spiritual growth and development is a lifelong process. We are committed to whole-life discipleship and the building of God’s Kingdom, yet we recognise that each of us will be called to different parts of the task and that God’s purposes are achieved as we work together.
Talk, discern, ask questions.
Pray. Involve your home church.
Commit to the process.
National Police Check & Working with Children check
Biblical & missiological preparation, required reading, mentoring, etc
Medical and Psych assessments
begin during Stage 2 and are confirmed after acceptance to Partnership.
Language Acquisition Training
+ others as needed
Interserve provides training, coaching and materials
Financial target is based on placement
Language learning begins
Regional training during your first term
+ All that life holds in your new home!
First steps on the journey