I spent the majority of my young professional career watching corporations create and expand partnerships. The world of business understands the power of collaboration. I witnessed firsthand the power built around landing new business partners and seeking corporate mergers or acquisitions. That doesn’t mean all company transactions were successful as there was obviously high risk involved. But the risk didn’t stop them from moving forward together.
Imagine for a moment what it would look like if God’s people partnered together for the sake of Jesus — working together toward a common goal and embracing mergers and acquisitions for the gospel. It’s time to be reminded that Jesus is the product — not the church, parachurches or any non-profit ministry. As God’s people, we have the greatest, most life changing “product” that all people are looking for, whether they know it or not. There is too much at stake to keep looking at other churches or any mission work — whether new or old, thriving or dying, non-traditional or traditional — as competition. We are the body of Jesus. Together we bring completion. Let’s press into the power of partnerships.
I love going back to the book of Acts to read about the power of partnerships, both good and evil. You can see this in Acts 4:26-33. For example, the political leaders joined forces to strengthen their convictions to kill Jesus. Together they recognized they could do more to move forward to pursue their goal, albeit evil. However, the early church had their own convictions. They recognized and utilized each other’s strengths in the power of the Holy Spirit. They prayed, preached and presented the power of Jesus in unity. Togetherness was the answer to go farther faster.
There is too much at stake to keep looking at other churches or any mission work — whether new or old, thriving or dying, non-traditional or traditional — as competition. We are the body of Jesus. Together we bring completion.
Understanding there is risk involved and then fighting for healthy collaborations has to be foundational for God’s people to seek and find biblical unity. Whether you are a church leader, church planter or global missionary, here are seven healthy partnership habits that press into the power of partnerships. It’s time to consider who you are partnering with for the sake of Jesus.
- Establish common purposes.
Commonality is a great place to start relationships with potential partners. Communication, environment, creativity, production, discipleship, community outreach, leadership pipeline, fundraising, multiplying leaders/campuses, care, church revitalization or church planting — just to name a few — are all things you might have in common with a partner If you are still struggling to find a commonality, let it be Jesus — that alone powers partnerships.
- Collaborate and strategize together.
Partnerships might not be equal in attendance, budgets or strategy, but they are equal in value and insight. Don’t see them through the lens of what you think they lack but through what they can lend. Each body part brings significance to the body.
- Schedule regular times of sharing and praying with one another.
Remember that what’s relational is conversational, and important conversations go into your calendar. So, prioritize time with your partners. Even a 30-minute time slot once a month bears so much fruit.
- Lean into each other’s gifts and talents.
For every partnership, know these three questions. What strengths do they have that I can learn from? How have they grown in that strength or talent? What have they learned along the way? The story of how someone arrived somewhere is more insightful than the somewhere they are right now.
- Solve needs and problems together.
God is the owner of all resources, whether it be money or ministry programs. If these resources are managed well, it can provide the answer to kingdom opportunities. Do you need a youth ministry? Partner with a church who offers one. What about financial support? I have learned that money without the partnership is not healthy for either party.
- Share the powerful things that God is doing in those you partner with.
The people you lead are better when hearing what God is doing in other places. It keeps them kingdom minded, not just locally minded. If the goal is sending and multiplying, then sharing stories of God outside of your local setting is not only nice, it’s necessary.
- Celebrate their wins with them.
Be involved and invested with the wins of those you partner with. Those wins matter as much as your wins. Why? Their wins are your wins because they are God’s wins.