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?