Author: Dave Hackett
Category: Partnership, Leadership Development, Leadership Development
The global Church through various gatherings and declarations has spoken a clear word about the essential factor of Christian partnership and collaboration. To witness this consensus, read the following excerpts found in selected major global mission declarations that address collaboration:
Section 7 – Cooperation in Evangelism
"We affirm that the Church’s visible unity in truth is God’s purpose. Evangelism also summons us to unity, because our oneness strengthens our witness, just as disunity undermines our gospel of reconciliation....We urge the...functional cooperation for the furtherance fo the Church’s mission, for strategic planning, for mutual encouragement, and for the sharing of resources and experience."
Section 8 – Churches in Evangelistic Partnership
"....[T]he responsibility to evangelize belongs to the whole body of Christ....[A] growing partnership of churches will develop and the universal character of Christ’s Church will be more clearly exhibited...."
Section 8 – Church and Culture; E. The Danger of Provincialism
"....Thirdly, each church should enter into a ’partnership...in giving and receiving’ (Phil. 4:15). No church is, or should try to become, self-sufficient. So churches should develop with each other relationships of prayer, fellowship, interchange of ministry and cooperation. Provided that we share the same central truths (including the supreme lordship of Christ, the authority of the Scriptures, the necessity of conversion, confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the obligations of holiness and witness), we should be outgoing and not timind in seeking fellowship; and we should share our spiritual gifts and ministries, knowledge, skills, experience, and financial resources. The same principle applies to cultures. A church must be free to reject alien cultural forms and devlop its own; it should also feel free to borrow from others. This way lies maturity...."
"We affirm the urgent need for churches, mission agencies and other Christian organizations to cooperate in evangelism and social action, repudiating competition and avoiding duplication."
Part B – The Whole Church; 8. The Local Church
"….In all this each congregation and denomination should, where possible, work with others, seeking to turn any spirit of competition into one of cooperation. Churches should also work with para-church organizations, especially in evangelism, discipling and community service, for such agencies are part of the Body of Christ, and have valuable, specialist expertise from which the church can greatly benefit...."
Part B – The Whole Church; 9. Cooperating in Evangelism
"Evangelism and unity are closely related in the New Testament. Jesus prayed that his people’s oneness might reflect his own oneness with the Father, in order that the world might believe in him, and Paul exhorted the Philippians to ’contend as one person for the faith of the gospel.’ In contrast to this biblical vision, we are ashamed of the suspicions and rivalries, the dogmatism over non-essentials, the power-struggles and empire-building which spoil our evangelistic witness. We affirm that co-operation in evangelism is indispensable, first because it is the will of God, but also because the gospel of reconciliation is discredited by our disunity, and because, if the task of world evangelization is ever to be accomplished, we must engage in it together. ’Cooperation’ means finding unity in diversity. It involves people of different temperaments, gifts, calling and cultures, national churches and mission agencies, all ages and both sexes working together.
.…We confess our own share of responsibility for the brokenness of the Body of Christ, which is a major stumbling-block to world evangelization. We determine to go on seeking that unity in truth for which Christ prayed. We are persuaded that the right way forward towards closer cooperation is frank and patient dialogue on the basis of the Bible, with all who share our concerns. To this we gladly commit ourselves...."
Conclusion: Proclaim Christ Until He Comes
".…So the Christian mission is an urgent task. We do not know how long we have. We certainly have no time to waste. And in order to get on urgently with our responsibility, other qualities will be necessary, especially unity (we must evangelize together) and sacrifice (we must count and accept the cost). Our covenant at Lausanne was ’to pray, to plan and to work together for the evangelization of the whole world.’ Our manifesto at Manila is that the whole church is called to take the whole gospel to the whole world, proclaiming Christ until he comes, with all necessary urgency, unity and sacrifice...."
"....We see some international organizations—among them the World Evangelical Fellowship, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, and the AD2000 and Beyond Movement—that have begun a promising process of partnership and unity...."
Commitments: Section 13 – Partnership
"As citizens of the Kingdom of God and members of Christ’s body, we commit ourselves to renewed efforts at cooperation because it is our Lord’s desire that we be one and that we work in harmony in His service so that the world will believe. We acknowledge that our attempts have not always been as equals. Inadequate theology, especially in respect to the doctrine of the church, and the imbalance of resources has made working together difficult. We pledge to find ways to address this imbalance and to demonstrate to the world that believers in Christ are truly one in their service of Christ."
Also see this compendium of Excerpts on Collaboration in Selected Major Global Mission Declarations on the PowerofConnecting Web site at http://www.powerofconnecting.net/content/truly-one-service-christ-excerpts-collaboration-selected-major-global-mission-declarations