The center of gravity of the Church has shifted to the “Global South,” though the West still has most of the financial resources. Yet the Majority-World Church has much to teach believers in the West. While healthy cross-cultural partnerships are difficult to do, there is enormous untapped potential for advancing world evangelization through partnership. The American “can-do spirit” is not enough; in fact it often hinders healthy partnerships. There is so much to learn about engaging in partnership well, and COSIM has assumed the responsibility of sharing the best practices, to help others participate most strategically in our Lord’s Great Commission in the Third Millennium.
No. COSIM is for learning, gaining new skills, networking, fellowship, working and exploring together to pursue solutions relative to cross-cultural ministry partnerships.
No. COSIM is not credentialed to provide such services. See below.
No, with the exception for speakers in special circumstances.
In 1996 Chuck Bennett, then the CEO of Partners International, was recognizing the groundswell of interest in assisting indigenous ministries. He felt that those involved, some with many years of experience and others just emerging, would benefit from getting to know each other and sharing best practices. A planning group was formed consisting of Chuck, John Bennett (Overseas Council), Bernie May (The Seed Company of Wycliffe Bible Translators), Ken Gill (Billy Graham Center), Lewis Abbott (Ambassadors for Christ International), and Daniel Rickett (Partners International). The first consultation was held at the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton in October 1996. The planning team expected about 30 organizations, but more than 100 representatives from 52 organizations attended. COSIM has continued to hold a yearly consultation since then and throughout the year advocates best practices in partnership with indigenous missions. The 2005 COSIM conference in Orlando began the current sequence of major conferences with keynote speakers and scheduled workshops.
COSIM’s main purpose and function is learning and networking about the practice of cross-cultural ministry partnerships to advance God's mission of discipling all nations.
There are always new agencies springing up which need to learn from partnership agencies who have “been around the block.” Staff from more experienced partnership agencies are able serve the movement while also building rapport with colleagues, accessing new resources, gaining new ideas, even developing new skills relative to the practice of cross-cultural partnerships.
Many traditional agencies are struggling with how to integrate partnership missions into the way they conduct ministry. Some are feeling pressure in varying directions from globalization, supporting churches, missionaries on the field, and the growth of the Church in the global South. These factors often result in financial stresses and need for reassessment. COSIM can help traditional agencies navigate uncharted waters by providing a forum for discussion and the learning of best partnership practices. Some member agencies have been pioneering partnerships with indigenous missions for over 60 years. Other COSIM members are long-established mission agencies which have incorporated cross-cultural partnership into their overall strategy and practice.
NO. COSIM is not incorporated as a 501(c)(3) agency. It is an informal association of persons, churches and agencies with a keen interest on partnering with indigenous ministries. It has no permanent office and no paid staff.
An all-volunteer resource team plans COSIM conferences and makes decisions on behalf of the ministry. The chairman exercises some administrative responsibility. All communications are made through e-mail and telephone, and team meetings are conducted via conference phone calls.
Team members exercise their God-given gifts and talents to organize conferences, write articles for publication, and design and write announcements and promotional copy without charge. Annual dues provide funds for communication expenses (phone calls and postage), promotion (such as advertising in EMQ), and other operating expenses for planning the next conference.
COSIM funds have always been held—and COSIM bills are paid out of—a separate account at Partners International, Spokane, WA. Gifts to Partners International designated for COSIM are tax deductible. Conference registration fees might be deductible as an expense of your ministry, but are not considered donations.