GACX members have a key role in helping form national and regional alliances. Often, the best people to help accomplish this are leaders currently living in a particular area who see the need firsthand. The following is an open letter to Kedjis, who serves as an area director for Global Church Movements, a GACX Member organization, in Central and Eastern Europe. He desires to form a partnership network that can help accelerate church multiplication efforts in that area.
The letter is from GACX’s Bekele Shanko and John Becker who share from their own experiences some principles for starting partnerships and networks to reach a city, country, or entire region. If you’re interested in connecting with an existing national/regional alliance, or launching one, contact GACX.
Greetings to you, our brother in Christ and co-worker in the harvest! We know the desire that you and your leadership teams have to help accelerate church multiplication movements everywhere by launching and building alliances of churches and mission organizations in the cities and nations of your region.
Based on our personal experiences of launching and leading alliances and partnerships, we thought of sharing with you the following five steps. May you find them helpful as you seek to be a catalyst in developing effective alliances.
Just as good trees produce good fruit, alliances that glorify God begin in hearts with pure motives grown out of a daily abiding in Christ. You cannot do God’s work without God’s favor and wisdom and power. So begin by saturating the whole process with prayer. Before you take any action toward helping launch an alliance in a city or country, make sure that you have a clear, compelling, God-given vision to reach every person with the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ and establish a biblical, multiplying and missional church or faith community for every 1,000 people.
In addition to maintaining a pure motive, keep your focus on the Kingdom of God, for this is foundational to attracting and maintaining leaders who collaborate! You also need to have a vision bigger than yourself or your organization. You want to make sure that the reason you want partnerships is not primarily to fulfill the objectives of your organization but rather to work together with like-minded leaders in order to take advantage of common opportunities, overcome common challenges, and accomplish common goals, so as to achieve a Kingdom-sized vision!
One of the ways to identify good collaborators is that they are willing to humbly learn from others and generously share the resources God has entrusted to them. They never say, “Mine is better” or “I am self-sufficient.” As part of preparing your heart, we encourage you to study the following biblical texts relating to partnership: John 17, Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12, Psalm 133, and Nehemiah 3. These texts will deepen your conviction about partnerships as well as develop your leadership skills.
The next step in the process is to know how to connect with the right leaders. You will need to identify key leaders of church denominations, local churches, mission organizations and networks that share your values and have a similar vision of planting multiplying churches in the cities and countries of your region.
Gather the names and contact details of such leaders and the agencies they represent. And since each of us has a limited network, enlist the help of other people in gathering this important information.
It is also important for you to know who is doing what and where, and who has what resources and what needs, so that you may help avoid duplication of efforts. You will also need to find out which of the global GACX member organizations are working in your country or region. Again, carefully gather the names and contact details of the leaders and their organizations.
Once you have gathered the names of key leaders, keep praying through the list, discerning and prioritizing the leaders with whom you would like to connect. Take the necessary time to get to know some of the most influential leaders and build relationships. Share your ideas with a few of them, listening to their input and inviting some of them to be a part of the core leadership team that will help launch and lead the alliance.
By the way, please note that any member of GACX actively working in a given city or country can also take the lead in launching an alliance. We don’t duplicate, we don’t compete, but we always collaborate for the glory of God.
Together with the core leadership team, plan to convene a forum. This process can begin with a series of virtual meetings where you discuss your collective knowledge of the state of Christ’s church in your nation or region. While doing this, develop a list of invitations and collectively cast the God-sized vision. This is a low-cost, high-gain process to build momentum to a forum.
Next, depending on your goals, a forum could be organized for a few hours or a few days. In the box below you will find some of the objectives such a forum should include.
In this step, by the way, it is important to make sure that you are not inviting people to fulfill the goals of our organization but the bigger vision of God. You should also invite leaders from various organizations to join the leadership team. The work of the Kingdom of God is always a collective effort, and never the work of one person or one group.
You may also consider using and contextualizing the global GACX framework, which describes the purpose, values, conviction, core competencies, and provides some essential guidelines.
An alliance provides an environment for leaders to learn from one another. No one organization has been given all the gifts. God has gifted each one differently. So, in a collaborative environment, unique gifts are brought together and contributions are made toward effective coordination and increased impact. In such an environment, leaders don’t only learn from one another, but they also encourage, inspire, support, and mentor one another.
In a room with leaders from diverse organizations who have the right motives and are committed to a common vision, you will be amazed to discover that there are enough resources for every need that exists in the same room. Once you have set common goals, think and talk through prioritization and resource optimization. Find out who is working where and what best practices or resources or tools each organization brings to the collaboration table.
A priority of implementation should be functional, field-level partnerships. For example, if organization X is working in a particular area, let others help that organization instead of going to the same area and duplicating the work. If organization Y has experienced an exemplary multiplication of disciples and churches, or effectively solved a major challenge, let all learn from those experiences.
An alliance is not a one-time event but an active, learning, growing community. Therefore, agree with leaders on the frequency, objectives, and processes of future forums and working groups. Forums highlight the real work of the alliance – partnerships resulting in multiplying churches. Major objectives of forums include sharing and evaluating progress, learning from experiences, connecting with one another, developing collaborative plans, inspiring vision for new participants, and identifying and solving challenges. On-going success requires consistent communication and enough infrastructure to provide a collaborative space for information and resource sharing.
One more thing before we conclude: it is critical that regardless of size, status, tradition or doctrine, every church that proclaims Christ must be loved, respected and appreciated.
Kejdis, as you consider helping cities and countries learn about the importance of alliances and how to launch them, please let us know how our team can come alongside you. It is our prayer that by leveraging the power of alliances, more people will be able to understand the love of God, more people will follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and more churches will be multiplied. All this for the glory of God. May the grace of God be with you and your teams.