Friday, June 12, 2009


I am going to finally start my partnership series. I know you just cannot wait. Smile.

I feel that "partnership" needs a definition. It is a well used term. It may not be used as much as "missional" but I do hear "I want to partner with you" quite a lot.

What does “partnership” mean?

Is it like saying – “hello, how are you doing?”

When someone asks me that question do they really want to hear how I am doing? Do they really want me to stop and tell them if it is anything more than – “I am fine”.

That is the trouble with overused terms or phrases. They can lose their meaning.

So a quick google search on the word “partnership” and here is what I found.

A Partnership -

* the members of a business venture created by contract

* a cooperative relationship between people or groups who agree to share responsibility for achieving some specific goal; "effective language learning is a partnership between school, teacher and student"; "the action teams worked in partnership with the government"

* a contract between two or more persons who agree to pool talent and money and share profits or losses

In missions how do we use the word “partnership”?
What do we really mean?

What does this mean coming from missionaries or mission organizations?

What do churches and organizations who want to partner with the field mean when they say “we want to partner” with you?

I would love to hear your thoughts.


tony sheng said...

Larry - looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on the subject. For the efforts of missions I'm involved with, I've tried to move us to think more along the lines of 'partnership'. One of the first steps we've tried to do is to have both parties [hosts and teams] do some thinking in terms of what they need [hosts] and what they offer [teams].

I think some of the trap in missions is teams coming thinking that they 'bring' all of this, versus host teams having something to offer as well.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Gene said...

This week we are hosting a mission team from our partner church in Guatemala. They are here in South Carolina leading Backyard Bible Clubs in a local neighborhood that is predominately Hispanic. In the evenings, they are doing ministry in a nearby migrant camp. These are things that would be very difficult, even impossible, for us to do because of the language barrier. We send teams to Guatemala to help further their influence as well.

Typically, the American churches go to other countries to minister to them. In our arrangement, they come and help us reach our city and we go to help them expand their influence as well. We consider this a partnership between our two churches.

Larry said...

This is a really good partnership idea. How did it go that week?