Brothers, Learn How to Partner
As I work with replanters across the country at various stages of their experience, I have found two things to be true in almost every situation. First, the replanter is unable to accomplish everything that needs to get done based on the church’s budget and the human resources of his parishioners. And secondly, they oftentimes don’t know about all the benefits that come from our denomination when it comes to partnership opportunities.
Being part of a denomination with over 40,000 churches means that you won’t always agree with everything everyone does, but I think the benefits of being in a denomination like ours provides us with many benefits that some younger pastors may not even know about.
- Local Associations – Although the small percentage of mega churches within our denomination have probably left their local associations behind I think there is great value here for pastors of normative sized churches that make up the bulk of our denomination. The effectiveness of your association will be determined by the Director of Mission and we are finding that many local associations are finding great camaraderie in regards to replanting and revitalization. Don’t just go into a partnership with your local association for what you can get out of it, but rather go in with the desire to bless and encourage other pastors from your community. If we can do more together than any of us can do alone the local association is where you should see this playing out on a regular basis. You may find that your local association has disaster relief resources like shower trailers, feeding units, or laundry units. Or they may have access to items that you can utilize for block parties or other outreach events in your community. I’ve personally found that surveying the churches in my association to be helpful to identify vendors to use for various projects around our church campus as well as identifying Christians lawyers or CPAs for needs that come up from time to time.
- State Conventions – On a larger scale our state conventions can serve as a resource for a pastor in a normatize sized church. From hosting conferences and events that you might not be able to host on your own to having greater access to tools and resources the state convention is a great place to seek help when you are faced with a need that you can’t meet on your own. I am currently working with one of our state convention staff members in regards to issues that we have at our 100+ year old building. He is really well networked and has been able to connected me to individuals and other congregations that may be able to help us get some urgent issues addressed. You may find that your state convention has grants for outreach ideas that may not fit into your general budget. They may have resources to help you and your wife offset the cost of counseling. As a pastor of a normative sized church don’t write off the potential blessing of being an active partner with your state convention.
- Disaster Relief – Within your state conventions there are Disaster Relief teams that have been trained for some specific roles and tasks. When they aren’t deployed on site following a disaster you may find that they are willing to do drills or practice runs alongside of your congregation. Typically they people trained in feeding units, tarping roofs, chainsaw teams, and laundry units. If your church could benefit from one of these teams you may want to reach out to the Disaster Relief point of contact and see if they are able to meet your need.
- Send Relief – Send Relief focuses on a couple of specific areas where we can be used by God to bring the hope of Christ to our neighbors in need. The areas that Send Relief focuses on are: Foster Care and Adoption, Human Trafficking, Refugees and Internationals, and Poverty. If your church is looking to get engaged in one of these area of ministry I would highly encourage you to reach out to the folks from Send Relief to find out how they can equip you for what God has called you to do. You can contact the Send Relief team here.
Brothers, I know that God has called us to a difficult task that will oftentimes leave us feeling like no one can empathize with us. However, I want you to know that you are not alone. If God has given you a vision for something that is beyond you or if you are facing a need that is beyond your ability to fix remember that we are a denomination built on cooperation. Don’t hesitate to reach out and seek help knowing that God will provide for you needs and it may come from another church in your city or in your state.