3 essential qualities for healthy  ministry partnerships

December 3, 2018

Ministry partnerships between churches and non-profit organizations are essential in diaspora missions. This is especially true when churches have the opportunity to partner with Christian non-profit ministries.

Scripture encourages believers to work together as a unified body (1 Corinthians 12). The emphasis that Jesus placed on teamwork and unity support the concepts of ministry partnership, as well (Luke 10, John 17). Simply put, churches can accomplish more through ministry partnerships than they can own their own in most circumstances.  

Unfortunately, all partnerships are not created equal. Healthy partnerships can enable a church to love and serve more people. Unhealthy partnerships create tension and conflict that harm the mission of the church. Let’s explore three essential qualities that churches need in healthy ministry partnerships. 

Here’s the context in which these lessons were learned. I serve as the lead pastor of Clarkston International Bible Church (CIBC) and a Send Relief missionary in Clarkston, Ga. People from more than 60 different nationalities and 120 distinct ethnic groups call Clarkston home.

CIBC is a small Southern Baptist church with a huge heart located in the middle of this diverse community. Due to its limited resources, CIBC has depended on ministry partnerships to leverage its location and space to love and serve more people in the community.

Some of our best partners are other churches that share the facility. A total of six churches share space on the CIBC property. Eight ministry partners call CIBC home, as well. These ministries allow CIBC to host after-school programs, English as a second language classes, theological education, micro-businesses and music lessons throughout the week. You can learn more about these ministries at www.cibcfamily.com.    

The following insights assume a local church is considering sharing space in their facility with another church or non-profit ministry. CIBC acknowledges that different types of partnerships require different approaches.

For instance, a church may allow another organization to use its facility on a one-time basis. Or a church may partner with a secular organization like a public school in a specific activity in the community. These types of partnerships do not require 100 percent theological or philosophical alignment.

Simply put, churches can accomplish more through ministry partnerships than they can own their own in most circumstances.

However, in-depth partnerships that involve sharing space and working together toward common ministry goals do require certain qualities to be successful. Based on our experience, here are the top three essential qualities churches need for healthy ministry partnerships.

  1. Commitment to the gospel.
    We believe Jesus is the hope of the world. Our love for Jesus motivates why we serve, what we do and how we share the good news concerning Christ. At first glance, this quality appears easy to define, pursue and protect. However, it is much more difficult in reality. People define the gospel in different ways. In diaspora ministry, it is often controversial to share Jesus or even mention His name due to cultural sensitivities. Two people can profess a strong commitment to the gospel and disagree in countless ways on how the gospel actually impacts ministry. Therefore, for healthy ministry partnerships, it is vital that you define the gospel and make sure your commitment to the gospel is the same.
  2. Commitment to the local church. 
    Jesus established the church to be the vehicle through which the kingdom of God spreads its rule and reign. Therefore, healthy ministry partners should place a high value on supporting the work of the local church. Again, this appears simple from a distance. However, some ministries unconsciously or consciously do ministry in place of the church or in spite of the church. I’ve even heard ministry partners complain that the church gets in the way of ministry. Conflict or confusion on the role of the church will always limit and harm the quality of partnership. However, a biblical view and appreciation of the local church will increase the cohesion between the church and ministry partner.
  3. Commitment to collaboration.
    CIBC must be highly intentional encouraging the six churches and eight ministries to work together, when possible, to share information and to build relationships with each other. There is a natural drift toward siloed ministry that is disconnected from others even when you are using the same space. Each partner must be committed to pursue collaboration in a way that strengthens the overall kingdom-impact in the community. Everyone has to work hard to communicate and participate in joint efforts. Collaboration is more difficult than one would think. However, the rewards of working together are worth the sacrifice.

CIBC is committed to cultivating healthy ministry partnerships. We are not perfect, and we have much to learn. However, we know more gets accomplished and more people get to experience the love of God through healthy ministry partnerships.  If we can help your church in any way, please contact us at [email protected].


by Trent DeLoach  
/  Contributing Writer

A simple prayer walk is a giant leap of faith

She caught me in the hallway between Sunday School and worship, anxiety stretched taut across her face. A week earlier, this 75-year old lady had agreed to join a prayer walk. Now she struggled to tell me, “I don’t like to pray out loud… and I really can’t walk very far.” I...

Think like a missionary

How can I think like a missionary?Missionaries live with a deep love and compassion for those who are far from God. They are burdened for those who are lost — those who are like sheep without a shepherd. They live by the words of Jesus when He said, “I have other sheep that are...

2019 Ride to Clyde raises record $77K to help Baptist Children’s Homes

Cheering children and visitors waved excitedly as they welcomed more than 100 motorcyclists who thundered triumphantly onto the grounds of Broyhill Home in Clyde on May 11 to deliver a record $77,674.88 for the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH). It was a crowning...

Baptist associations: A valuable partner in ministry

Recently I had the honor and privilege of attending our annual conference for associational mission strategists (AMS) and potential associational mission strategists at Caraway Conference Center. The theme of this year’s event was “Moving into a New Future: Sowing and Reaping.”...

How churches can be on the frontline in the war on drugs

The new normal in churches today is that people are struggling with drug addiction in unprecedented numbers. Opioid abuse in all its forms is epidemic. The reality is that in the confines of any church, someone is suffering in silence, enslaved to some addictive substance or...

Authentic doers

Michael Jordan was the greatest professional basketball player during the late 1980s and 1990s. However, he was never the highest paid player. When asked why he never held out on his contract to his team to pay him more money Jordan replied, “I have always honored my word. I went...

Revitalization: A process, not a program

In order to achieve a new set of results, churches must be willing to engage in the challenging but rewarding process of revitalization. This leadership development paradigm is based on three components — the man, the ministry and the mission — and implemented through learning...

Like father, like son

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is a true saying. A television commercial from 1967 clearly demonstrates this principle. Back then, television stations were required to run one anti-smoking commercial for every three cigarette commercials. There was an anti-smoking...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest news and event information by signing up for the N.C. Baptist newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!