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

How to read the Bible in the new year (and why you should)

Early in my ministry, I met a sweet widow named Marie. Marie was a godly woman. She was a poet, a prayer warrior, and a lover of Scripture. I remember once that Marie told me that she had read through the Bible from cover to cover more than 20 times in her life. Her declaration...

Why you should open your home this holiday season

The end of the year is often marked by a seemingly endless barrage of family gatherings, cookie swaps, white elephant gift exchanges, office parties and more. The holidays cause some to stress out and wonder if they can fit everything in. Others experience profound sadness as they...

4 things to share with your children about Christmas

There are many wonderful insights to glean from the biblical accounts of Christ’s birth. Here are four truths for you and your family to ponder this Christmas season. Jesus is the reason for Christmas.Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus, never overlooked the fact that Christ’s birth...

Top 5 resources for December 2019

Every month, we spotlight five helpful resources for you as you seek to walk closely with the Lord and make disciples. Many of these resources are created by the staff of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) to help meet the ministry needs of pastors and lay...

Thankful for NC Baptists’ generosity in missions giving

Many things come to mind when I think of North Carolina Baptists, but one word that rises to the top is generosity. North Carolina Baptists are generous people, and I don’t take for granted the prayers, the personal involvement through volunteer missions and the financial...

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering transforms lives

If you grew up in a Southern Baptist church, you probably associate the name Lottie Moon with the Christmas season. Lottie Moon — the namesake of Southern Baptists’ international missions offering — has become a legend. But in her time, Lottie was anything but an untouchable hero....

3 common objections to family discipleship

In Deuteronomy 6:7, Moses commands parents to “impress” God’s Word into the lives of their children. Then, he gives instructions on how to actually make that happen within the rhythms of each day. He says, “Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road,...

A Christmas resource with families in mind

Why did Jesus need to come to Earth? This is just one of the thought-provoking questions included in this brand new Advent family devotional surrounding the coming of Christ to the world. “Advent” means coming or arrival, and Family Advent Devotions, developed by the Faith at Home...

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!