Generally speaking, the mission of local churches are to make disciples, train leaders, and plant new churches. The Haitian churches we work with have demonstrated a strong commitment to this mission. Additionally, the Haitian churches have also taken up the responsibility to care for the fatherless with each church facilitating a school for orphans and vulnerable children in their community. Included in their efforts to educate orphans, they have also provided food security, clean water, and most importantly, the opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus Christ and believe in the gospel.
At the center of THC as an organization is a collective of US churches with a long-term commitment to Haitian churches. Our work in Haiti is directly tied to an indigenous network of churches affiliated with Society of Christian Haitians (SCH), whose founder and president is Pastor Odanis Joseph. Currently, there are 21 Haitian churches across the country affiliated with SCH, the majority of which were planted by Pastor Joseph and those whom he trained under his ministry (some affiliated as existing churches).
The Work Within Church Partnerships
We believe strongly in the word “partnership.” American churches do not pop in and pop out for a week and absent the rest of the year. American churches do not unilaterally set the agenda for what the church partnerships do. On the other hand, we do not live with a post-colonial guilt mentality where we only do what Haitian church leaders want us to do. We are committed to working together, learning together, praying together, serving together, and growing in our relationships together.
Orphan Care . . .
Having said that, we have specific programs within the partnerships where US churches play a key role. Related to orphan care, churches invest in relief efforts through the Libere Initiative, which resources local churches to provide food security, clean water, and basic medicines for orphans connected to their partnering church. Additionally, members and small groups within US churches help Haitian churches through child sponsorships, which focus on developmental efforts to increase capacity and competency in the areas of education, medicine, and living accommodations.
Theological Education . . .
Another area of investment in church partnerships is theological education and leadership development. Local church leaders are provided the opportunity to receive training through an annual conference, including theological materials (books, booklets, notebooks, etc.). In the coming years, we look to create a developmental initiative for theological education that will provide accredited learning tracks for formal theological education in Haiti.
Missional Participation . . .
We believe it is vitally important to have US churches on the ground on at least a yearly basis to partner with their Haitian church. These short-term mission trips over a long-term commitment have a cumulative effect that cannot be overestimated, not the least of which is how the stories of the two churches and communities become interwoven together as one. Teams don’t enter one or two weeks out of the year apart from what happens the other 50 weeks of the year. They enter to serve, support, and strengthen the work already taking place and leave as first-hand storytellers to their own community and network of friends of what God is doing in Haiti through their partnership together.
Alongside the typical church-based mission trip that includes VBS, service projects, community outreach, evangelistic services, and leadership training, there are other more targeted trips under the direction of THC where church members can participate, such as: medical and dental trips, business and leadership development, construction projects, and Bible conferences.
Vertical and Horizontal Dimensions of Church Partnership
Within the matrix of church partnership, there are both vertical and horizontal dimensions that we believe make THC such a special place for local churches to work together.
Vertically speaking, each US church has the opportunity to cultivate a depth with the Haitian church as it understands the need, builds the relationship, and engages in the mission. As long as the partnership maintains the integrity of its core commitments (theological/philosophical/financial/missional), US partners can customize their partnership with flexibility based on the context, the needs/opportunities, and resources available to them. There is no cookie-cutter approach to how this relationship matures, and we believe it grows best when it has the freedom to do so without artificial constraints.
Horizontally speaking, each US church also cultivates a relationship with other US churches with the exact same commitment and heart to the mission. Within the collective, church leaders and mission directors have a peer-to-peer network of learning and sharing best practices together where we all benefit from what each individual partnership is doing vertically. No one church goes in alone. We are all in to help each other succeed in accomplishing the mission and seeing lasting transformation happen in each community. Furthermore, the horizontal dimension foster relationships between leaders where we teach together, pray together, and labor together under the same banner and for the same cause. When a church partnership has a particular need vertically, other church partners in the US have opportunity to offer assistance whether it be counsel, volunteers, financial support, or other forms of support.
We believe the vertical and horizontal dynamics of church partnership creates a culture within the collective that allows us to go deep and wide for many years to come. As we continue to grow, our desire is to maintain a degree of excellence in what we do, not compromising the integrity of the mission, but flexing out as we move forward united for God’s purposes in and through local churches.
How to Become a Partnering Church
If you are a leader of a local church interested in partnering with The Haiti Collective, we would love to talk with you! We would be happy to explain to you the process of becoming a partner and how your church could potentially go on a vision trip to see exactly what is taking place in Haiti through local churches. The easiest way to make that connection with us would be to complete the form below. Thank you for reaching out to us, and we look forward to talking with you in the future!