We were born in 1989 as a mission support agency for a small group of campus church planters. A lot's changed since then! (Less stonewashed jeans, for one).
Today we mobilize church planters and missionaries across like-minded missional groups and church-planting networks. As we've expanded our partnerships, we've adopted a new name. Yet our devotion to Jesus' command to "Go and make disciples..." remains. It's who we are.
We are a mission agency. We serve as a hub between local churches, missionaries, and the generous donors who support the work.
In the early church, deacons were chosen as servant-leaders. They cared for duties that were essential, yet may have distracted from the frontline mission. (Acts 6:1-7). Reliant is modeled on this principle: to serve as a gospel ministry to promote gospel ministry. Further, as deacons are held to Biblical character standards—temperate, faithful, blameless—we believe we are as well. (1 Tim 3:8-12)
The embodiment of the gospel is personal—Jesus Christ in human flesh. From Creation to Redemption, God has worked in and through people. We believe that investment in the livelihood of missionaries and pastors and their families is active investment in the Kingdom of God. (Ps 8:4-6; Acts 13:2-3; John 1:14)
Spiritual leadership in doctrine and ministry methods works best when it flows from the local church and ministry. Reliant works in a sub-missional role, coming under local gospel vision. Our ministry processes, including our structured missionary assessment and fundraising coaching, are oriented to work in partnership with local leadership. Reliant does not direct in specific issues of doctrine or praxis.
Our internal financial controls, outside audits, annual reports and professional memberships ensure good stewardship and prudent business practices. While we are vigilant on the latest legal and regulatory standards, we know our challenge is even higher than laws can provide: excellence and integrity as an offering to our Lord and witness to the world. (Deut 25:13-16; Matt 25:21; 1 Pet 2:12-17; 1 Tim 3:3,7)
In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Phil 4:10-20, Paul thanks believers for giving to apostolic work outside their local context and advocates further generosity. We see these as example and basis for today's missionary fundraising model, in which Christian individuals contribute regularly to missionary support. Other models of funding in the church, such as the tithe model for funding church staff, or the "tentmaking" bi-vocational approach, are also important Biblical approaches for funding ministry. However, Reliant exists especially for those missional contexts where a local tithe or funding is not available or sufficient, yet the gospel is needed just the same.
Reliant was originally founded to provide missionary support to a church planting approach for college ministries. We remain "church people" seeing the Body of Christ as the context for ministry and hope for the world. Church planting remains part of our DNA. While today we partner with a range of ministries and Gospel-centered non-profits, we expect our partners to honor the church as we do, and that they build or support the church and not disparage or supplant it. (Matt 16:18; 1 Cor 1:1-3; Rom 12:4-5)
Jesus’ Great Commission is our core and ultimate purpose (Matt 28:18-20). We partner with those who are like-minded, across the boundaries of doctrinal distinctives under the mission of the gospel. We are effectively “non-denominational”—our missionaries labor across a spectrum of gospel initiatives, new and established. Investment in evangelism, discipleship, and church planting will always remain central to our mission. (Related: see our Statement of Faith)