The Alliance


"What do I want to leave behind in the Czech Republic when the Lord says my time of ministry here is done?"

This question has greatly shaped my ministry focus, especially as it relates to my role with the ASCP facilitation team in the Czech Republic. As I've gotten involved with the Alliance ministry over the past few years, I have at times wrestled with the tension between my local church ministry and my role with the Alliance. Both ministries are important. But both ministries also demand a significant commitment of time. It would be easy to do just one or the other but such a choice is just not possible since both ministries feed off the other. One of the things that has become very clear to me in the Czech Republic is that local church involvement gives credibility to the national ministry of the Alliance. An example of this was seen at an envisioning seminar that recently took place in Brno, Czech Republic. During the question and answer time at the end of the seminar, the first question that was asked was "how many churches have you planted?" Whether the question was aimed at knowing if the information presented was truly applicable to real life or whether it was seeking a level of credibility from the presenters, the reality is that practical church planting experience is essential for effectiveness in national ministry in the Czech Republic.

Nonetheless the question remains. How to allocate time between a local church ministry and the Alliance? Or to put the question another way, which ministry is primary? Is it ministry in our local church or ministry with the Alliance? Helping me answer this was the question posed at the beginning of this article. The thought of what I would like to leave behind when God calls me away from ministry in the Czech Republic has served as a clarifying grid with regard to evaluating ministry options. My simple answer to the question is that I would love to see many Czech believers planting churches that are in turn planting more churches. The results of that type of movement are potentially much greater than if I just focus on planting churches myself. It is said that it takes six to eight years to plant and develop a church from zero in the Czech Republic. If I have 25 years of ministry here, that means I can, statistically speaking, help plant three to four churches. While that is not bad, the reality is that thousands of new churches are needed in my country of ministry. The only way to make significant progress toward getting many new churches launched is the equipping of national workers. That is why I have built my local church ministry around my Alliance involvement. My ASCP ministry is now primary. Practically speaking that means that my next local church planting location has to keep me in proximity to my facilitation team members. It means as well that the Alliance ministry gets the bulk of my time. I want to contribute significantly to local church ministry but when it comes to scheduling activities and priorities, the Alliance ministry has the preeminent place. It gets to be first in line, so to speak. The fact that the ASCP ministry gets precedence means that on the local church plant level, I must work with a team of people since I cannot devote the majority of my time to that effort. The local church plant cannot be dependent primarily on me since the majority of my time goes to the Alliance ministry.

Is the allocation of time between the local church and the Alliance ministries always neat and clean? Of course not. Is it always met with understanding on the part of my national coworkers on the local level? No. There are always tensions that arise because of my involvement in both ministries and those tensions will likely always be there. I am still learning to effectively juggle the priorities but am convinced that I am on the right path by giving the nod to the Alliance ministry when it comes to determining priorities. The reason is simple enough. When the Lord calls me away from ministry in the Czech Republic, I would love to see many Czech believers planting active, healthy churches. To know that I contributed to that would be eternally satisfying.

Brian Dagen, SEND International, Havlickuv Brod, CZ.

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