Lots of us are interested in mission partnerships, but what does proper partnership look like? At heart, partnership is not a one-way giving-receiving relationship. Both partners – if it is genuine partnership – will give and receive. You can, of course, only give what you have so it doesn’t mean both partners will give and receive the same things. But both will be involved in giving and receiving something. In practice, what is it that partnership looks like?
Both partner churches can pray for one another. You don’t need any resources, beyond the Holy Spirit, to pray. The most obvious way to partner together is to pray for one another. Both churches can get each other’s prayer letters, or contact one another and offer prayer, and then include the other church regularly in their prayer meetings. All these things are doable for every church.
Every church can also share its people. Some might send workers long term to another church where they can be most effective for the kingdom. But smaller churches are also able to send workers – whether for a day to deliver some teaching or for a short time to help out with a particular mission – in order to support the work of another church. Every church has people and those people can be used to support another church. Partnership between churches can easily be made two way. You can share preachers, you can support one another’s gospel outreach activities and you can send short and long term workers.
Not every church has very much money, but every church is called to give. Just as every Christian is called to give. One way we can partner with other churches is through the giving and receiving of financial support. There is strong biblical evidence for this happening in the early church. Richer congregations sent money to poorer places and the poorer churches often sent people to the richer ones. But giving financially is a great way to create meaningful partnership.
These are the three key ways to partner together. We share our money, our people and our prayers. Every church can pray for another, most churches have people they can share (even if it is their pastor for a pulpit swap) and some churches have money they can give.