Last week I wrote about how a church can be a good partnering church to a planter (Click here). This week I am writing from the other perspective: How can you, as a church planter, be a good partner to a church who is committed to helping your church plant fulfill its divinely appointed mission?
Element #1: Communication
As a pastor seeks to lead his church into a partnership with a church planter, the more resources he has to communicate the vision the more likely the church will get on board. It is absolutely crucial that as a church planter you provide as much information as possible to the church partner or potential partner about the vision and what God is doing. I realize it is time consuming, yet the long term Kingdom potential is worth the time. Too often I have seen a partnership break down or not happen at all simply because of a lack of communication.
Element #2: Humility
Since there is little way to sugarcoat this, I will not try. If you want a church to partner with you, it is important to respect and appreciate their willingness to partner and their expression of church. This does not mean you must have the same expression of church or agree with everything the church does or how they do it. But too often we fall into the trap of pride that says, “I know more than you” and when a potential partner senses that arrogance, the red flags begin to fly. My experience has shown me that both the partnering church and the planter have much to give to each other. Take time to learn from one another and make it a true partnership.
Element #3: Transparency
If there is one thing that will sink a potential partnership quickly it is a hint of secrecy that leads to mistrust. It is crucial for you to be up front and open with a partnering church. Don’t be afraid to share times of great financial need, and to rejoice when other partners come to the table and the financial burden is lighter. Be honest with your failures and use them as an opportunity to learn from the partnering church or even garner more support in various areas of your ministry. The important thing is to make sure everything is out in the open so that true partnership can happen.
Element #4: Give Back
Church partnerships often work one way. The partnering churches pray, send people and give resources to the planter and his church. Too often the planter and the church he is planting have much in the way of experience and insight that could help the partnering church that goes untapped. Try to create a true spirit of partnership. Think about sending people to the partnering church to help with a strategic ministry area, or having designated prayer times for the partnering church.
This list is not exhaustive, but I pray that as partnerships develop they will enrich both churches as they seek to be the body of Christ in the context where they serve. For more information on partnerships please contact the Office of Great Commission Partnerships at 800.395.5102 ext. 5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org.