“Partnership” is God’s idea.
We are called into fellowship (koinonia) with Christ by God (1 Cor. 1:9). This partnership with God is meant to lead us into meaningful partnerships as brothers and sisters in God’s family (1 John 1:3).
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Partnership - God’s Idea.
This word appears 19 times in the New Testament as Koinonia. Perhaps the most common translation of koinonia is the English word “fellowship.” It can also be translated into other English words such as participation, sharing, and association.
We are called into fellowship (koinonia) with Christ by God (1 Cor. 1:9). This partnership with God is meant to lead us into meaningful partnerships as brothers and sisters in God’s family (1 John 1:3). Furthermore, the participatory nature of partnership leads to both relational intimacy as well as to a fruitful advance of the Gospel (Phil. 1: 5).
The Bible tells us a lot about partnerships.
We are joined together- We learn from The Apostle Paul that each part of the church is joined together just as the parts of the body are and that we are vital to one another. (1 Corinthians 12.11-21 In verse 26 he tells the Corinthians that our lives as church are so intimately bound that if one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. That is a compelling reason to want to be involved with other parts of the church.
We prayer for one another – In 2Cor. 1:8-11, the Apostle Paul tells us how important prayer is as the basis for a relationship. In Philippians 1:3-5 the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi and said, “I thank God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.” In Phil. 1:19-20, he acknowledges that without the prayers of his partners and the supply of the Holy Spirit he would be ashamed and fall short of what God had called him to do. He acknowledges the importance of his partners’ prayers in his ministry. In other words, there is a prayer cycle going on here where Paul is praying for his partners daily and they are praying for him. It describes a covenant relationship between two parties who have common interests. The purpose of their relationship is to accomplish something that neither of them could do alone.
The Apostle Paul had partners with his ministry. He knew that he could not minister the gospel alone and neither could the Philippians. It took all of them together to accomplish this great assignment.
What about Jesus?
Even when Jesus came to the Earth to fulfill his ministry, he looked for people who were willing to become partners with him in preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. He started with twelve disciples who partnered with him. Jesus needed their prayers. In Matthew 26 he told his disciples to watch and pray while he went up to pray with the Father. At that moment he was under great attack and needed the prayers and support of his partners. In perhaps his greatest hour of need, Jesus looked to his partners for support.
What about Peter?
Partnerships are not only about prayer but about mutual help to achieve a common goal. In Luke 5:1-11, Peter needed the help and support of his partners in achieving his harvest. We see that innovation leads to a request for help from partners: this incident shows the importance of engaging individuals, people of like mind to partner with in the assignment God has given us.
The Anointing of Partnership
There’s a divine connection and a flow of anointing in partnership that is so powerful. The grace or anointing that is on the men and women of God who have been anointed and called into full-time ministry are available to believers through partnership. A good example of this is when the disciples were called by Jesus and they responded by partnering with him. As a result of partnering with him, the same anointing that flowed in his life flowed in their lives as well (Luke 9:1-2). They came back to Jesus and were excited about the anointing that had been working through them and Jesus said I have given unto you all the power over the enemy (Luke 10:19). That anointing was transferred to them through their partnership with him.
In Philippians 1:3-7, the Apostle Paul was telling his partners at Philippi that through our partnership the same anointing that is on me is now available to you.
This word grace in that passage is referring to the anointing (the empowerment, strength) that was on the Apostle Paul’s life to do what God called him to do. He is writing to his partners and he says because of our partnership you are partakers of my grace or my anointing. He was telling them that the same anointing that was on him as an Apostle had become available to them so that they could minister the Word of God in their arena of life.
Some Principles for Partnerships
Mutuality: Mutuality in partnership affirms the oneness of the people of God, their unity and interrelatedness as the children of one Father. In this relationship each person and community are recognized, valued, affirmed and respected. Mutuality is expressed by a deep sense of open and joint accountability.
Responsible Stewardship: God’s gifts to any one part of the universal church are given in trust for the mission of the whole church. No ministry, Church, or Christian organization owns its resources. Responsible stewardship in partnership means that partners see their resources as jointly owned and held in trust by each member for the common good (1 Cor 12:7). The giving, receiving and use of resources must be controlled by judiciousness, selflessness, maturity and responsibility (2 Cor 8:9).
Interdependence: ‘Interdependence means to represent to one another our needs and problems in relationships where there are no absolute donors, or absolute recipients, but all have needs to be met and gifts to give. For we need each other.
Cross-Fertilization: Cross fertilization requires a willingness to learn from one another. It produces an enrichment that results from being open to one another’s ideas, experiences and respecting one another’s cultural and contextual peculiarities in a process of give and take.
Integrity: A healthy partnership calls for integrity at all levels. It involves a recognition that all partners are essentially equal. This implies a commitment to be real and honest
Transparency: Transparency involves openness and honesty with one another.
Solidarity: We are part of each other. We are committed to one another in Christ’s body. What touches one member touches the others. Thus no one member must be left to suffer alone.
Meeting together: The concept of mutual responsibility and interdependence in the Body of Christ implies that the Church in every place should find a forum for periodic evaluation, self-assessment and cross-cultural fertilization. Thus, while a Consultation is not the fulfilment of a partnership vision, it is essential to it. Partners need to meet together.