Ministry Partnerships and Networks

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The world is a globalized, interconnected reality. This affects every aspect of life including basic research, education, and scientific development. Socio-political realities are being permanently altered (eg the Arab Spring) by the revolution in electronically based social networking. Business, government, and, yes, the church are all affected by this reality. At the leading edge, business, science, and governmental defense systems demonstrate the necessity and possibilities of this new reality. Distributed information and decentralized social contexts mean that the era of colonial, post-colonial North-South, East-West bilateral ‘partnerships’ are rapidly fading. In their place, the global church is connecting via a wide range of new networks. With this comes great opportunity but also possibly the church’s greatest challenges to date.

Partnership in mission is not only about efficiency. It is the strategic and practical outworking of our shared submission to Jesus Christ as Lord. Too often we have engaged in mission in ways that prioritize and preserve our own identities (ethnic, denominational, theological, etc), and have failed to submit our passions and preferences to our one Lord and Master. The supremacy and centrality of Christ in our mission must be more than a confession of faith; it must also govern our strategy, practice and unity. The Cape Town Commitment II-F-2, II-F-1

Global missions and the work of the church have seen a radical acceleration of awareness of and commitment to effective collaboration since the early 1980s. The birth of the ‘unreached peoples’ partnership movement pioneered by Interdev; the emergence of over a dozen major geo-specific regional evangelism/mission networks; a wide range of ‘sector specific’ networks have, in many cases, revolutionized such areas of ministry as sports, refugees, orality, the Internet, and Islam.

  • Collaboration specialists have joined hands in organizations like visionSynergy and networks like International Partnership Associates.
  • Kingdom collaboration texts such as Well Connected: Releasing Power, Restoring Hope through Kingdom Partnerships (World Vision/Authentic Media) are available online in six languages as of 2016.
  • The global collaboration resource website synergycommons.net serves those interested in kingdom collaboration.
  • Collaboration curriculum for Christian higher education is available and has been used internationally in English, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, and French by more than 20 Christian higher education institutions.

The Ministry Partnerships and Networks issue network and its ‘home base’ at visionSynergy (www.visionsynergy.net) is:

  • Strengthening the Lausanne Movement by providing training and coaching for the Lausanne Catalysts—leaders of the 36 Lausanne issue networks—in partnerships and networks.
  • Helping the Lausanne issue networks design and execute their workshops at the 2016 Younger Leaders Gathering in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • Working to help the Movement connect its 12 Lausanne geographical regions for more effective partnership and collaboration with the issue networks and strategic working groups.
  • Providing online webinars and training programs in core partnership/network leadership skills; also facilitating specially formed cohorts of international ministry and network leaders who want to discuss and learn kingdom collaboration together. Also available are hundreds of articles and videos along with a range of discussion groups focused on kingdom collaboration. For a more complete range of the options, check the partnership and network resource website at synergycommons.net.
  • Facilitating a bi-annual global consultation of strategic ministry partnership and network leaders. Also working with national leaders for the development of regional consultations, linking the leadership of kingdom partnerships and networks closer to grassroots initiatives. The consultations explore case studies, best practices, and innovative strategies to share.
  • For questions or further information on any of these points, contact [email protected].
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