Frequently Asked Questions


Why is COSIM important to the global mission of the Church?

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.

Is COSIM a conference for finding support for indigenous ministries?

No. COSIM is for learning, gaining new skills, networking, fellowship, working and exploring together to pursue solutions relative to cross-cultural ministry partnerships.

Will COSIM provide a letter of invitation to a non-Western leader in order for him or her to obtain a visa to enter the United States?

No. COSIM is not credentialed to provide such services. See below.

Are scholarships available to attend COSIM conferences?

No, with the exception for speakers in special circumstances.

How was COSIM formed?

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.

What is the primary purpose of COSIM?

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.

How does COSIM help partnership mission agencies?

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.

How can COSIM serve the local church?

Some local churches engage in cross-cultural partnerships with little knowledge or experience of the implications and end up with serious problems that could have been avoided. Other local churches realize some in the mission community have successfully practiced partnership in missions for many years. They want to avoid “reinventing the wheel” and find support, practical know-how and answers to questions in the COSIM fellowship. They see COSIM as an opportunity to learn via informal education, discussion and networking. 
How can COSIM help the traditional mission agencies, those that have sent Westerners cross-culturally?

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.

Is COSIM a separate organization?

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.

Who is in charge of COSIM and how do you get things done?

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.

What do the annual dues pay for?

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.

Where are COSIM funds held?

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.

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