Travis Janousek is the Serve Pastor at New City Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Travis joins us to discuss what it means to partner in missions in a way that benefits everyone involved.
Travis Janousek, the Serve Pastor at New City Church in Charlotte, NC, believes that all missions partnerships should begin with the goal of being “mutually beneficial.” He shares what that means, why its important, and how a big part of that means letting go of control.
Want to learn how your church can partner with OneChild to bring HOPE to kids living in hard Places?
First, don’t be afraid to “chase the wild goose.” Hold your plans loosely. Look for where the Holy Spirit is leading and then follow; even when it doesn’t make sense.
Second, remember that you don’t have all the answers. Mutually beneficial ministry requires humility and a willingness to listen.
And finally, look for missions partners who have shared values. You can’t develop mutually beneficial missions ministry if one side has a completely different framework for ministry.
Learn More About New City Church
WHAT IS THE MISSIONS PASTOR PODCAST?
Welcome to The Missions Pastor Podcast, presented by OneChild. OneChild is a global community of Child Champions that serves children in poverty so they can discover hope and reach their God-given potential. We believe that the local church has the message of Hope that the world desperately needs to hear. And in every episode, we highlight churches, pastors, and ministries who are working to bring that HOPE to hard places.
When you enter into these partnerships when you when you build trust and you share vision and values together, you have to realize to add something else I learned is, you know, as I look at global partners, I realize they don’t do everything the way that I would do it. And that’s, that’s good.
Welcome to the missions pastor podcast presented by one child, one child is a global community of child champions that serves children in poverty, so they can discover hope and reach their God given potential. We believe that the local church has the message of hope that the world desperately needs to hear. And in every episode, we highlight churches, pastors and ministries, who are working to bring that hope to hard places. On David Jesse, I’m your host for today’s conversation with Travis Genesect. Travis is the serve pastor at New City Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, New City Church is fully committed to mutually beneficial ministry in all of its outreach efforts. I asked Travis to explain what that means, and why it’s so important.
Yeah, so you know, for me, I think when I look at kind of the overall mission of the church, you know, I’m convicted as a pastor by two primary things is I look at what Jesus instructed for us in the Great Commission, to go out and make disciples and you see Jesus’s heart for the world right there. That’s just one of many instances where we see how much Jesus cares for the entire world. And his, it’s amazing, even his divinity, he recognizes that even he is the best the physical person of God, that point saying, I need you to go do this for me, I need you to go into the world. And so, you know, starting there with just his own words, and clear vision and mission for the church, that to see the world as he sees it as an opportunity and the chance to go spread his love. I think that’s a clear starting point. But then yeah, as for me, as a pastor, you know, when I read Ephesians, four, and you see this clear indication from from Paul, that, hey, you know, God has given some of you to these roles, and these abilities, these these opportunities, one of which being a pastor is to equip the saints for the purpose of ministry. And, you know, when I look at church, I realized that within our own walls of our church, we have people that need care, they have different issues going on in their life, they need to be equipped with scripture to lead their families to care for their relationships. And and I see that as an absolute essential part of what making disciples and includes, but with also with that, is this this exact same time the, the absolute must of the church to then say, then how are we taking that and putting it into the world, that taking care of ministering people within our own congregation and equipping the body of Christ has a an immediate effect that has a purpose, which is, hey, how do we take this into the world? How are we? How am I even as a pastor equipping you, and discipling you in such a way that you can go into your spheres of influence and, and share the Gospel? And so you know, we look at what does that look like within your home? What does that look like within your city, country, and then even in your world, which is, I believe God calls that I think we should be leading people in such a way that they have a heart for for the world. And that world begins in their home. And like I said, it extends on from beyond that. And so, for me, the chance to to do mission is is such a joy. It’s it’s in it because it’s the heart of God. It’s you know, that’s, it’s not it’s not a it’s more than a tasks to me, it’s just a pure joy and an opportunity to see and watching God on mission. You know, that’s the thing. It’s his mission. It’s not like he gave it to us and said, you know, that’s the thing. It’s he he’s leading us, he said, I’ll be with you always. It’s just such a joy to enter into that and to see where God is at work. I think that’s one of the best parts of mission is it’s not always about what we do. It’s about seeing what God is already doing. So to me to bring those two together, I think is a huge must of the church. And I think it’d be honest, I think we do struggle with it at time. We do prefer to stay Close to ourselves and to be safe and just keep our own little tight groups. But that’s not the heart of God. That’s not the heart of God. And its whole capacity is this, God said, I, you know, I want you to go make disciples all over the earth. And I think, here we are in 2022. And that that heart and that vision is still there.
You talk about how we have this tendency to try to stay close within our own closed, comfortable, safe settings. But you and new City Church have engaged in something that is not safe, not, not logical not doesn’t make a lot of sense and is risky. That that has really grabbed ahold of your heart. And it started with, with the fall of of Afghanistan. Last year, sometime, tell us a little bit about about that story and how that has, has has shaped things.
Yeah, absolutely. This is one of the more encouraging things that has happened to me in my life and my own personal journey, not just our churches, but for me, even individually. So to back it up really quick. But one of the first opportunities I ever had working with displaced people was I was in Beirut, Lebanon, and I was in a Syrian refugee neighborhood working with the church there. And we entered the home of this Syrian family, grandmother, mom and two kids who house was bombed by ISIS family members were killed by ISIS, they were forced to flee. And I’m sitting there in this room, and this grandmother sharing her story. And at one point, she looks at me and she says, and I’m immense, I’m just absorbed into their story, I can’t, I can’t stop listening to it. I’m just an utter shock and all they’ve been through. And then about two hours in the grandmother looks at me through a translator. And she says, I just want you to know how meaningful it is that you as a man are looking me in the eye, that this is a true privilege for me. And so of course, the translator tells me what she said, and I’m just like, I don’t even know what to say. But with tears in my eye, I look back at her and I say, Would you please tell her that the joy is all mine, that I get to the you know, value, you welcomed me into your home and to hear your story and to be able to share coffee with you is nothing short of privilege. And but that really, I literally I know that you fast forward to August 21. And you know, God is going to bring this into my own personal life again, when Afghanistan falls to the Taliban, myself and others just felt this immediate impact of what is our response, not just as a nation, but even more so as a church. And so my boss is a former military, and he called me one day and he we got to talking about Afghanistan. I shared it My heart just man I don’t I want to do something about this. I don’t, I’m just feeling God say we need to enter into this scene. And he said, well, guess what so do I and through military connections. We were able to identify five women from Afghanistan, who their story is pretty wild. They may have been living in Kabul, they had, they’re all individual women who had all women that were had their own careers, their own lives, and pretty amazing people. But they knew instantly that when Taliban came in that they would, they’d have to flee. So they were part of this group that ran to the airport, kind of I mean, they never said bye to their family. They never got to go home. They heard the news. And they ran, and they get on an airplane and they escaped, which is all good. They don’t know where they’re going all in to find out that they’re landing in Kyiv, Ukraine of all places. And, of course, then it was no big deal. That was fine. It was it was safer than Afghanistan. And so while they’re in Afghanistan is when we got connected to them. We had began a process of trying to get them into the states and, you know, start a new life. Well, of course, as we all know, when Russia invaded, they were forced to flee again. And so to war torn countries that they had to flee from they, they make their way to the Polish border, they’re, you know, bear in mind, they have no IDs, they have very little clothing, they have nothing on them, but they have to flee again. And they’re this one point. Pretty amazing that as we gotten to know them through text message, they were helping us or they were telling us what was going on. They’re standing on the Polish border, it’s freezing cold weather. They stayed outside for 36 hours. But when the polar the border finally opened, and they made their way A into Poland where they got on a train. I’ll never forget this this night, though they texted us, you know, we made it into Poland, we’re on a train and we’re gonna go to Germany, as a lot of Afghans and other refugees from countries do they get on this train. And when they enter Germany, if you’ve ever been in Europe, oftentimes on international trains, the police will come on, and they’ll check passports, all that tickets, and they’re praying, they’re telling us to pray, because they don’t know how what’s what’s gonna happen, IDs and anything. And sure enough, you know, the police get on there checking IDs, and he comes up to these Afghan women, he looks at him in the eye, and just keeps walking. He checked everybody else’s ID except there’s, and so just amazing. And so from there, that’s one of the that was early March. And I remember us talking with one of our partners, and our staff, and I said, I gotta go to Germany, we got to meet these women, we’ve, we, we just have to. And I, one of the funny things about that was, you know, I’m on this point, I get a team together, we know we want to start caring for Afghans. In fact, as a church in December for our Christmas offering, we took up on Christmas Eve, we took up an offering that would solely go towards this place people and Afghans and including these five women, and so our church had even become rallied behind this idea. And so when we announced, hey, we’re going to German and meet him, it was just amazing the response that we got from people, just praying for us and excited and ask them what they can do to help and just really glad to see that we were sending representatives over there and got the chance to go there for the first time. You know, meet these women who we have what seemingly at the beginning, like we don’t have anything in common with these people, you know, there is five Muslim women from Afghanistan, we have no idea how we’re going to be received. We’ll know what’s gonna happen like, and yet God showed up. Because within minutes of meeting these women, they instantly began to cry, and wanted hugs, because someone pursued them, that even a complete stranger of a different religion of a different country, said we’re here we came, we came for you, because we care for you. And been amazing to see how God has really opened we went back a couple weeks ago and had another amazing time with them and have worked with other partners in Germany that can help us care for them. Obviously, there’s only so much we can do being across the pond. But it’s been been such a privilege and an opportunity to go and care for people in a way that we think Christ would which is just show up and go and, and trust the spirit. We’ve We’ve kind of our motto this year has been Trust, the our follow the goose, that sometimes the Holy Spirit, it’s like a wild goose, and you don’t know where he’s going. And it seems weird. And it may even disagree with that. And yet, you know, God’s like, just follow me. And that’s that’s what it’s been for this. And so it’s been really neat to see how God has has grown within my own personal heart as well, even our congregation, this desire to care for people that had been displaced. And that’s both here, locally here in Charlotte. But even now, as we’ve seen, internationally, and the chance to get to partner with that and be involved with that has been a complete privilege.
What have you learned about mutual beneficial ministry through this process and relationship?
how essential they are? Because, you know, when I left Germany the first time, you know, one of the early things I realized was we can’t do this on our own. Even a church of you know, over 2000 people. They’re still in Germany, there’s only so much that we can do and it was really neat. While we were in Germany, one of the guys that was with me on the trip, a friend of a friend of a friend said hey, you should go meet up with this guy in Homburg, he, he’s great, and he actually works with refugees and so once again it was that following the Holy Spirit. Okay, well, I don’t know this guy. Do you know this guy? No, I know nothing about him. Do you know anything about their ministry? Not a single thing. And it’s like, Well, okay, let’s go meet them and it just instantly within 30 minutes of talking just realizing like Oh, I see what you did there. God you You connect with us and so just fascinating because of how how impactful they have already been. And just to be able to help us understand German life and culture better and, and realizing like they can do stuff that we can’t. And, you know, when you when you have a kingdom mindset, when when you when you lay aside your own personal agendas and goals and and say, You know what is the greater story that God has writing not just for our church and for their ministry or for these five women, but this overall greater story. That’s when you see partnerships really, I think, tell the greater story of God, that you see that now, instead of just one church, you’ve got a church and multiple partners, carrying out the gospel into these people’s lives. So to me, they’ve become so powerful, especially as we’ve got other global partners around the world doing other things besides this place ministry. But just amazing to see how when you enter into these partnerships, when you when you build trust, and you share vision and values together, you have to realize to add, something else I learned is, you know, as I look at global partners, I realize they don’t do everything the way that I would do it. And that’s, that’s good. You know, that’s the but that that requires trust. And that requires growth, even on my own personal self to say, Wow, I would have never thought to do that I wouldn’t, I don’t know, it would actually might be hard for me to do that. But that’s exactly who God needs them to be. And so it’s been, I think that’s one of them. One of my big areas of growth is realizing how the church and how God uses Christians around the world in these really special unique ways. And it doesn’t always look like who we are. And that’s okay. And that’s powerful. And it to me, it’s actually not only is it become a learning point, but just honestly has been such an encouragement to see how, how God looks all around the world.
It’s such a huge mistake, to think that our view of how God works is the only right view, Travis and new city are learning to release control over their global outreach, so that God can use new ideas and new people to do new things around the world. We’ll continue our conversation with Travis after this brief message from one child.
Together we believe extreme child poverty has an end. And it starts with hope. Hope is a vision for a better future, a way to get there and the courage to try. And it is built through the church all over the world coming together as one global community to help children thrive. We create a partnership experience that reflects your heart for the world. Together, we find the point where our mission and vision in a sect to address the needs of children living in all the houses. Together. We are a community that sees children as solutions, not problems. A community with the courage to go to the hard places. A community that gives so children can thrive. Together. This is us, your church a shared vision, celebrating global impact through the local church. For more information, visit one child.org/partnership.
New City is seeing this mutually beneficial ministry philosophy yield results in nations all around the world. So I asked Travis to share a few more stories of what God has been doing and where they see this leaving in 2023.
Yeah, so we this has been one of the big things we’ve been talking a lot about this past year is really asked him the question like what what is our global footprint that God wants us to have? And you know, we want to be really careful that we enter into not only good partnerships with people that are doing gospel work, but finding a way to partner well to say we want to help not hurt and so it’s been pretty neat. Some other areas that God has led us in to were working with an organization And that helps with Christian education in impoverished areas. And so we started a partnership with that, down in South America or excuse me, Central America, and Panama and Honduras. Also in Uganda as well, I get a trip. Hopefully, Uganda coming up here soon, going to be working with that. And so we’ve we’ve got a little bit of that there’s a sports ministry in Ethiopia that we’re looking to partner with, that has been doing some great work they’re using using soccer as a way to build up churches and share the gospel with people and excited here in a month I’m heading off, we’re going to be going to Dubai and Ethiopia. To look at a church planter. It’s really exciting, a church planting network that is reaching by way of house churches, some of the most unreached areas in the entire world. And some of them are, yeah, pretty remarkable. Some of them are working in Muslim stronghold areas where you even have some, you know, strong persecution happening of they’ll build a church, and then the next week, ISIS will come and burn it down type places. And so I won’t be going into those areas necessarily. Gotta get to have the chance to meet some of the leaders who do and really, really looking forward to that one, just seeing how the importance of the local churches is key to to the Gospel, thriving communities that allows other organizations to come in. And so also working with an organization in Ukraine right now. That is pretty, pretty amazing with how they are. Despite what’s going on there, they’re continuing their mission. And pretty remarkable how none of the missionaries in this organization have pulled out of Ukraine. And they’ve chosen to stay even though they’ve, most of them are allowed to leave. Then pretty amazing to see how they’re saying there. So we’re looking to see how possibly sending teams to Central Europe, of course, a lot of Ukrainians are displaced throughout Europe right now. And so there’s opportunities to care for Ukrainians. You don’t even have to go to Ukraine, you can pick just about any country in Europe right now. And you’re gonna find a strong in it. See if of Ukrainian, so, yeah, so you’re gonna be focusing a little bit on East Africa, we’ve got Germany, of course. And then Central America has been one of our other ones. And so that’s where we’re starting, and just asking God, you know, where else do you want us to be involved and staying focused on on these good partnerships of, for me, one of my big convictions as a pastor is, I really want to help disciple people. And so when we look at global partnerships, I see that as part of the equation that it’s not just about volunteer opportunities, it’s not just about writing checks or anything like that. It’s about how are we equipping people within New city to be missional, and to care for the world. And so looking for opportunities to work with partners around the world, where God is already doing something, that we can say, hey, we want our people in New city to have that same heart. And whether they get whether they go internationally, you know, or not, that’s it’s about maintaining that kingdom minded view that the God’s just as much invested in Ethiopia, as he is in Charlotte. And I’m really excited about this upcoming year, especially as we get to have multiple opportunities of exposure and engagement for our congregation to to just be a part of what God’s doing on the international scene.
On fossil, so, you know, it kind of comes full circle to that idea of mutually beneficial ministry, how you’re working together, how it impacts what’s going on over there, it also changes the lives of people that are are given the opportunity to serve from new city in those contexts, and it benefits everybody, we all working together, and are growing in our discipleship in our walk with the Lord and we’ll see that happen. So if you could give one piece of advice to admissions pastor or church that’s really trying to get kind of dialed in on this idea of what you guys you know, have termed as mutually beneficial ministry opportunities and focus. What would you say to that missions pastor?
It’s a tremendous question. And I think if I’m honest and vulnerable with you right now, that’s, that’s the question I’m seeking is what is that question really, but what I would share is as well Can it partnerships? Is? Are you finding people that share similar values? And and particularly have? Do they care about discipleship? Do they care about the overall mission of God and not just their particular organization? You know, I guess one thing, sadly, that I’ve realized is, is how often, organizations and partnerships are often disconnected from each other that, that you see this big gap between the local churches and organizations. And to me, I think they have to be together. And but what I’ve realized is that, although I don’t think this is the dominant thing, I do think it’s more prevalent than that we realize that the two, the two entities are not always working well together. That aid I had I had a missions organizations tell me one time that the sending agency, they said, you know, every time someone comes in and says, you know, I’m really feeling God’s call on my heart to pursue missions. The president, he said, You know, I always asked him, I said, Well, what is your local church said about this, and he said, 999 times out of 100, they respond the exact same way, which is, while we haven’t even told them, and, you know, to me, I thought, wow, there’s a gap there. And so as we look around partnerships, and we think about the local church and, and how those work for you, and I think they, you know, are, are you finding partners that that share that really, truly want to work together to disciple people. And to me, that’s, that’s, it just comes back to the beginning of what I said is, I look at what Christ said, Go and make disciples. Okay, that’s clear. And, and even as a pastor, looking at the verses in Ephesians, is equip people to do that. So, you know, I don’t have the perfect rubric. I don’t have all the answers figured out. I don’t even have the perfect question. But, but I think starting with Scripture is, are you finding places that they have a heart for the world, they care about the gospel, they want people to know Jesus, and they have a heart for discipleship? Because to me at the core of discipleship, it begins in our relationship with Christ, it’s learning to trust the spirit. And, you know, I’ve I’ve had a couple organizations that you know, have said they have this kind of like, oh, we have it all figured out. And to me that’s honestly been kind of a red flag. And I’m like, No, you don’t. There’s no way and neither do I. That the key is finding those that say, we just hit here we share the same things together. Let’s let’s grow in this together. Let’s work together that I think to me has been one of the biggest lessons and what I think has truly helped some of our, our healthier partnerships and the ones that I get excited about.
It’s so fun to hear the excitement in Travis’s voice as he talks about the future of New City. Here are three takeaways from today’s episode. First, don’t be afraid to chase the Wild Goose hold your plans loosely, look for where the Holy Spirit is leading and then follow even when it doesn’t make sense. Second, remember that you don’t have all the answers. Mutually beneficial ministry requires humility, and a willingness to listen. And then finally, look for missions partners who have shared values, you can’t develop mutually beneficial missions ministry, if one side has a completely different framework for that ministry. I want to thank Travis for joining me on this episode of the missions pastor podcast. If you want to learn more about new City Church, go to New city.us.
And thank you for listening to the missions pastor podcast this show was presented by one child. We are a global community of child champions that serves children in poverty, so they can discover hope and reach their God given potential. To learn more about how your church can partner with one child to bring hope to hard places, go to one child.org/partnership
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