5 Things Churches Should Look for in a Ministry Partner
Despite the fact that their inboxes are full of emails from ministries requesting help, church leaders often struggle to find healthy parachurch and non-profit ministries that are ready for partnership. Because, let’s be real, not all ministries are healthy. In fact, some are outright dangerous. So church leaders need to be thoughtful before presenting a ministry to their church community. Over the years our community has worked hard to establish five key things to look for in possible ministry partners.
Side Note….. A PARTNERSHIP is a long-term relationship involving close cooperation between two ministries with shared vision and passion. It is an equal relationship with both partners playing an active role.
Dignity and Empowerment
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” (Romans 12:9-10 NLT)
Ministries practicing dignity and empowerment are focused not only on sharing the gospel and meeting a need, they strive to come up underneath and build up the individual and community in an effort to restore human dignity and empower local leadership. As a result, they have a clearer understanding of the need and develop realistic, sustainable solutions.
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:7 NLT)
Our goal as missionaries is not to add up converts, but to multiply disciples. As missions leadership we, like Paul, desire to present everyone mature in Christ, which means that they will clearly (if still imperfectly) reflect and represent Jesus. The discipleship focus is not only for those with whom we seek to share the gospel, but maybe more importantly, for the team we send.
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24 NLT)
Relational ministries focus on spending time getting to know individuals and communities. They may have important tasks to complete, but building long-term relationships takes priority. Deep, long-lasting relational partnerships lead to growth for everyone involved.
“With joy you will drink deeply
from the fountain of salvation!
In that wonderful day you will sing:
“Thank the Lord! Praise his name!
Tell the nations what he has done.
Let them know how mighty he is!
Sing to the Lord, for he has done wonderful things.
Make known his praise around the world.”
(Isaiah 12:3-6 NLT)
The Evangelic Church is not always thought of with kindness in our current era. Years of people speaking and acting in the name of Jesus, but looking nothing like Him, has left the evangelical movement in ruins. I think it is time to redeem evangelism by pouring out our love for Jesus through action. So what does this look like in a ministry? It looks like worship. It looks like love. It looks like joy. If the ministry you are looking to partner with is giving out of joy, rather than just meeting a need, then they might be a good long-term partner.
“Pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” (Ephesians 3:16, NLT)
Spirit led ministries understand that service is an overflow of worship. They know that everything they do is impossible without the presence of the Holy Spirit. A ministry partner that understands Spirit led missions will have prayer and worship always at the top of their to-do list.
Don't be afraid to add to this list. The church is a living body and is always growing and changing. As your church community matures and develops you might find other ministry character traits that are essential to partnership.