Partnering is the most amazing thing in the world. It’s amazing that God partners with us! So what a great privilege a church planter has to partner with a church and its volunteers. In fact, a church plant needs partners. They need partners to pray, participate and provide in order for our cities, counties, states, our world to hear the gospel.
So what does it mean to partner well with churches? Or how do you partner well with churches? Here are some suggestions.
Pray that God would send you the best partners. We are told in Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Ask God to not only send you partners, but partners that will catch the God-given vision to reach the beautiful people in his neighborhood, city, county and state. Pray so you are ready when God provides the partners and pray you are ready to mobilize the resources.
Get your partners on the mission field: your neighborhood, city or area prior to your outreach, event, or partnership and take them to the streets. Spend some time with these partners and leaders and allow God to use you as they learn the heartbeat of the area. You want them see, smell and touch that the people in that area matter to God and they can partner with you to reach them. Invest in your partners before they invest into you. Clarify the expectations of this potential partnership, both yours and theirs. During your on-sight visit, talk about and explore the following:
- Housing options
- The itinerary of the weekend or week
- Plan B’s, if effected by the weather
- The pace of the schedule
- Communicate expectations (yours and theirs)
- Share suggestions on “what’s next”
- Share with your partners about future plans beyond the outreach event or mission team trip
Go all out
Be ready to invest into your partners 24/7 when they come to serve shoulder to shoulder with you. Please do not look at your partners as a group to be used but as amazing brothers and sisters in Christ who are investing into God’s church plant and you can invest into them. Be involved with the partners, be visible, serve shoulder to shoulder with them. Listen TO them, don’t just share vision with them at the beginning of the week and at the end thank them. See it as an opportunity to serve your partner volunteers as they are serving you. In most cases they will bring youth and college students who catch what God has done in your heart and realign their dreams based on an experiencing God minute. By being around the volunteer’s and being hands on they catch “IT”.
Say thank you
While the volunteers are with you, take every opportunity to be gracious and vocally thank them. Follow-up with the key leaders and partners with thankfulness of what God did during the project. Send pictures of the volunteers in action. Send a personal video from you thanking the volunteers or bragging on them. Let them know that your church is now ready to take the next steps because of what they were able to accomplish. Ask them to be in prayer for those “next steps.”
Serving with volunteers is really about stewardship. Most church planters want access to as many resources as possible. Church planters, please be thankful that, many times, the best resource God will send you are volunteers. Please be found faithful with these amazing resources. “ Much will be required of everyone who has been given much” (Luke 12:48).
Published February 14, 2017