Partnership is essential to fulfill the Great Commission. The testimony and impact of God’s kingdom is greater when we work together. I would like to share a few reasons and steps for initiating, developing and managing partnerships.
Why do we partner?
We partner because that's how God works. He works in unity, and He is our model. From the very beginning, when God created us in His image, He didn’t say, “Let Me make mankind in My image, in My likeness.” Rather, He said, “Let Us make … in Our image, in Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26, NIV).
God also said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18, NIV). When God says it is “not good,” we cannot say, “It is good.” When individuals, teams and organizations claim that they have everything they need, that they don’t have time to work with others, or that they don’t need others, they choose to say, “It is good to be alone.”
We partner because God’s kingdom is bigger and more important than our individual teams or organizations. No one team, organization or network can fulfill God’s global mission of making disciples of all nations. It is beyond you and me, and beyond our organization.
Jesus has one church, one body, one bride, one kingdom; but with different members, gifts, expressions, and contributions. Understanding the priority of God’s kingdom motivates us to humble ourselves to learn from, give to, and work with others.
We partner because we are better and stronger together. After realizing that it was not good for Adam to be alone, God said, “I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18, NIV). That meant an appropriate companion, partner, teammate and friend to co-steward God’s creation on earth.
King Solomon came to a similar conclusion when he observed the futility of being and working alone: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, NIV). When you choose to partner with others, your main intention is not to benefit yourself, your leadership or your organization, but to make your partner more fruitful. When we all choose to do that, we are stronger and better.
How do we partner?
Have a bigger vision. If your vision is too small, you don’t need partners.
Maintain a kingdom perspective, humble posture and willingness to work with others. Working with others requires the ability to learn and the generosity to share.
Identify like-minded leaders, teams and organizations. Take the time to meet and learn about their plans and what God is doing through them. You will also need to share your plans and what God is doing through you.
Together, identify common problems, opportunities or priorities. Agree to work together, develop a shared vision, set clear goals and implement the plan.
Evaluate each of your partnership activities and results. Based on your experiences, adjust your plans and processes, including improving, expanding or stopping your partnership.