Over the past three months, I’ve spoken with dozens of leaders of churches, denominations, mission organizations and businesses. I hear the passion in their voices and see the focus in their eyes. Momentum is building as they lean into conversations about advancing the gospel through church growth and multiplication. And not only are they eager to share their vantage point on what God is doing, but they also have a palpable eagerness to learn what others are doing, and a desire to see if working together can increase momentum.
GACX has now grown to 76 members. Each member is an exemplary model of how God is using them to come together to start something new or accelerate something already begun. I’m hearing amazing stories of things like:
- A joint curriculum being written for children and youth
- Safe-houses being built for people who have come to faith in Jesus from other religious traditions
- Unreached, unengaged people groups (UUPG’s) having people show up with the gospel for the very first time
- Scripture being translated in somebody’s language for the first time
- Businesses being formed not to ultimately make a profit but to see communities where less than 2 percent of the people are Christians hear about God’s love through marketplace discipleship.
Through all of these efforts and many more, the kingdom of God is advancing. New churches and faith communities are being formed, and the gospel momentum will carry into eternity.
So what’s happening on the landscape of ministry that’s prompting this collaborative work? There are many reasons but here’s what I’ve discovered thus far:
Leaders are spending time together in prayer and seeking to apply Jesus’ prayer for unity (John 17) in fresh new ways. Though they have full plates with their own ministry and organizations, they’re seeking the Lord’s wisdom on how and where He may be leading them to work together with others.
Before jumping into a brand new project or opening up a new geographic area, they’re asking who else might already be working there and how might they be able to join and/or enhance what’s already been started.
3. Common vision
Once they’ve assessed who’s doing what work where, they humbly, yet confidently form a new, deepened vision with others. Here’s where questions like “What if we were to . . . ?” come in. Leaders listen and dream together, then when a new shared vision emerges, forge answers that lead to effective collaboration.
Springboarding off a shared vision, members move forward by investing time, resources and energy in seeing their visions become reality. This often means they’re willing to redirect a percentage of what they’ve been entrusted to do alone and re-invest this with others. It’s noteworthy that many times those who support their ministry or organization are greatly encouraged and giving is strengthened.
Leaders are not afraid to try. Not all collaboration efforts will succeed. But through assessments of what’s working and what’s not, making adjustments and being willing to keep moving forward, the Great Commission work will keep advancing.
God is at work, and He’s using us and our partnerships! It is both humbling and exciting. Next month I’d like to share leadership practices that help us overcome some of the obstacles to collaboration. Stay tuned!