Scripture’s Examples of Partnership
Those earliest followers of Jesus who worked to expand His church never acted as islands unto themselves. In fact, the book of Acts revealed a clear pattern of pastoral partnership all throughout its pages, and you’d never guess who it started with—Jesus Himself. In Mark 6, Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs, granting them authority over unclean spirits. In Luke 10, Jesus again sent out His missional followers in pairs, to every town where He Himself was about to go.
The pattern of pastoral partnership continued as the church of Antioch commissioned their first pair of missionaries, Paul and Barnabas. Paul even took missionaries alongside him throughout his missionary endeavors (which you can read about in Acts 19:29 and 20:4, as well as in Romans 16:23). So, based off these examples we read about in Scripture, here are four real-life advantages to seeking out pastoral partnerships in our ministries.
1. Rapid Multiplication
You don’t have to spend years developing a leader within your congregation in hopes of one day planting a new church. If the ministry partner you choose is qualified and aspires to plant a church, then you are likely to plant a church within the first few years of your ministry. The only thing it takes to multiply is a leader who is ready to send.
2. Burden Sharing
Church planting is hard on you, your family, and on the budget of your church. So, logically speaking, working together with a ministry partner help you multiply your joys and divide your burdens. Wouldn’t you—along with those closest to you—benefit from all that you would share with a co-laborer?
3. Work Volume
Here’s some real talk: People don’t typically enjoy speaking about their spiritual lives. So, to make real progress, you will have to talk to a tremendous number of people. With two or more people working in teams, the work can be done faster, laying more ground as you deepen relationships and further your work for the gospel.
Church planting opens the floodgates to spiritual warfare. Satan usually attacks when you are alone and most vulnerable. As a result, working with someone within your ministry can help shield you from the darts the darts of the enemy that you’re thrown as a church planter. On the contrary, when working alone, it’s easier for you to cut corners in your spiritual life.
Picking Your Partnerships Well
A pastoral partner is a capable, qualified individual who is eager to join you in the daily work of church planting. A good partner shares your philosophy and theological positions. If you’re not careful in the selection process, conflicts can arise. Consider the individuals closest to you and take time to make thoughtful, well-informed decisions. Your partner is not a mentee, but rather an equal. You should assume that since God is calling you into this work, He is also calling others into it.
So, how do you find your next pastoral partner? We’ve got three traits to look for. First, seek out someone who is willing to make personal sacrifices. Next, look to see that this individual’s gifts are complementary to your own. Then, be sure to watch for someone who could likely be a church planter in the future. Once you find someone who matches these characteristics and whom you think would be a good fit, get the affirmation from people you trust before inviting them into a partnership.
Adapted from the Church Planting Masterclass. The Church Planting Masterclass provides training and development for kingdom-minded leaders and churches in this Great Commission work. Understand your church’s role and get practical help reaching the nations with the gospel, one church at a time. Start the Church Planting Masterclass here.
Published August 10, 2023