The Place For Partnerships

Partnerships can be tricky, but they can also allow movements, organizations and churches to coalesce around solutions to problems that are beyond their ability to handle individually.  There are many levels of partnership: we partner with governments when we receive permission to pass through their borders; we partner with foundations, churches and individuals when we receive their funds and personnel; we partner with other entities when we share information.   When we are to partner at deeper levels over a long term, we need to give thorough consideration to how well our vision and values align. The deeper the degree of partnership, the greater the need for alignment of our core beliefs and practices.   Global and regional networks play an important role in our modern world, but before you jump in to one, you and your senior leaders should think through your level of participation and your motives for doing so. A lot of time and leader resource is wasted when spent in partnerships where there are no clear outcomes in mind.   The internet affords us the opportunity to form some partnerships without diversion from our vision and mission. We can contribute contacts, share ideas, and even coordinate activities without compromising our calling. This type of partnership can lead to faster problem solving and greater coordination of effort.   Some people believe unity in itself is a good enough goal for partnership, but I disagree. Unity can easily become an end in itself. I have witnessed people going from one unity gathering to another without a clear sense of their part in the mission of God.   In All Nations we measure ourselves by our three core values: worship, mission, and community. Take any one of these three out of the equation and you have a skewed endeavor. Worship and community without mission results in an inwardly focused, self-preoccupied group of people. Mission without worship and community leads to burnout. Worship without mission and community leads to spiritual fantasy and no accountability (which only comes through authentic community).   The same approach of a balanced set of core values applies to partnerships. Knowing your core values allows you to partner at whatever level you are comfortable with, while making no compromise to your unique DNA.   This is the challenge: As partnerships and coalitions proliferate in the world, it is crucial for you to think strategically about which partnerships your church/business/movement will participate in, including, working through the how's and why's. Make sure everyone in leadership knows the principles you follow in choosing to say yes or no.