Marko here. I’d been hearing things from our short-term missions partner, Praying Pelican Missions, about their new PPM365 initiative; but I had questions. Then, I had the amazing opportunity recently to travel with some PPM staff to visit some tiny churches in Alaskan villages only accessible by plane or boat. Some of those pastors and church leaders I now consider friends (and my brothers and sisters). Seeing some of their very unique challenges brought this new initiative into focus for me.
The way PPM describes it is a good starting point. They say “your group, or church, partners with a local church on your missions trip for one week of the year; but what about the other 51 weeks of the year? That’s what PPM365 addresses.”
PPM365 offers support and encouragement to PPM’s partner churches all year long, mostly by making a handful of “promises” to those church leaders: Consistent Care, Aid in Emergencies and Medical, Relational Network & Training, and Empowerment to go. The first three of those are mostly focused on the physical, relational and spiritual needs of partner pastors. The last of those (Empowerment to go) provides the opportunity for those PPM Partner Churches to go on mission themselves, often to locations, and with approaches, that US missions teams could not do.
In some contexts this will mean helping with low-cost medical insurance. In some contexts, theological and leadership training will be provided. In some contexts, otherwise-impossible ‘breaks’ from ministry (PPM is using the word ‘respite’ for this) will be funded. Each country where PPM365 is active will have a unique approach, primarily informed by the stated needs of these wonderful partner pastors.
It’s all about supporting the local church in meaningful, responsible, non-colonial ways. PPM has beta-tested this program with partner pastors from Kenya, Haiti, and a few other countries, with plans to expand to additional countries in the months and years to come.
An example from my time in Alaska: we met with Pastor Don in the tiny native village of Koyuk. Koyuk is only accessible by plane or boat, and about 340 people live there. There’s one church, one store, and a school. Pastor Don is amazing, and clearly knows and loves this community and its people. He lives a subsistence life, mostly relying on hunting and fishing for food. He’s the single father of three teenage children (his wife passed away from Cancer a few years ago). Don’s denomination certainly provides some level of care and connection; but he has other needs–relational, physical, family–that are rarely met. PPM365 would come alongside Pastor Don and help with some of those needs.
AND, the idea is that you, or your church, could partner with a church (and its leader) year ’round. After my wife and I chatted about it, we decided to become “Sustain Level Partners” ($200/mo; there’s also a “Multiply Level Partner at $35/mo, which needs 5 sponsors for each local church leader). I identified a few PPM partner pastors who’d had a big impact in me, really hoping we could be the sponsor for Pastor Rosaura in Belize (see my old post here to see more about her). Belize is coming online as a PPM365 in January; so we’re supporting an amazing Haitian pastor between now and then, knowing that PPM will find another sponsor for him when we’re able to support Pastor Rosaura in a few months.
How cool would it be for your church, in preparation for a future mission trip, or following a trip where you connected with a local host church, to sponsor that pastor and be in active partnership with them all year? Consider this for yourself, your youth ministry, or your church. Super stoked about this. Again, get more info here.