I’ve played with this post a few times, I’m not sure I’ve got it all in here succintly, but here’s a discussion starter.

If we’re serious about expanding God’s kingdom in our village, town or city, then we need to understand, and more importantly, do partnership.  Over the last few years I’ve tried to prioritise 3 types of partnership:

  • Within my church: I’m incredibly passionate about youth work, but at the end of the day youth work is just one ministry within the church.  If I run a big event at the same time as adult small groups or on the same weekend as a big adult event then both the wider church and the youth work lose.  If we partner together, working mutually together then we can achieve more for God’s kingdom.
  • Across churches in the town: if we spend all our time competing with each other we still end up missing the 90% of young people who aren’t linked to any church.  It’s important to prioritise hanging out together, but also doing joined up ministry.  In Tonbridge I love the joint youth Alpha courses we’ve done together, and we’re now hoping to partner in a local social action project based on The Noise from Soul Survivor.
  • Across statutory organisations in the town: I don’t believe we need to just work within the church.  The young people I work with might spend 5-6 hours a week in the church at a mid-week small group, serving in another ministry area e.g. children’s work, and attending their own Sunday worship, teaching and ministry.  Most of them are in schools for 35 hours a week.  Working in partnership with other organisations such as schools, allows us to spend more time with youngsters, but also have a positive impact on the wider community, and meet those who would never normally come into a church.  I’ll try and write a post tomorrow on how this looks here in Tonbridge.

Partnership can be hard work, it can require sacrifices, it takes time to gain credibility in relationships, but in the end God’s kingdom will be increased because of it.

What do you think, how do you do partnership?

0 thoughts on “Partnership

  1. Yes Chris, I agree. When our focus is on relationships I think that anything we can add to the half an hour a week or every two weeks in a large or small group setting can only be good. Support, sharing resources and encouragement are all big pluses in my book when it comes to partnership. You get the reinforcement that you’re not alone in ministry, the youth get to see that it’s bigger than just their youth group.
    I’ve thrown a few verses together to add a little theological context which I hope is helpful.

    We can do more together than each organisation could do by itself:

    Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
    9 Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their work:

    (when you tie up 2 oxen to pull a cart they can pull at least 2 or 3 times the amount as much as they could independently)

    We all need support and encouragement::

    10 If one falls down,
    his friend can help him up.
    But pity the man who falls
    and has no one to help him up!

    11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?

    12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
    A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

    Jeremiah 29: 7-9
    7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

    (A little reminder to stay focussed on God and listening to His voice, in the verse that follows: if the partners start trying to point you in a different direction from which you’re called…)

    8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name;I did not send them, declares the LORD.

    And of course the do not be unequally yoked verse (2 Corintians 6:14) is something to wrestle with.


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