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Why collaborate?

The Problem: Division & Duplication

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After more than 200 years of modern missionary efforts, we have much to celebrate! Many people groups that had previously never heard the name of Christ now have a thriving, indigenous church. The global picture of the Christian movement today is astounding:

  • more than 2 billion Christians worldwide
  • 5 million churches
  • 43,000 denominations
  • 12 million workers

 

‘Come follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ (Mark 1:17)

 

Sadly, in spite of the tremendous resources of the worldwide Christian movement, the facts remain:

  • thousands of people groups – including more than 300 million people – have no missionary among them
  • thousands of languages still have no Bible
  • millions of villages, towns, and entire cities have no church
  • billions of people are oral learners who can’t or don’t read
  • billions of people are Muslims, Hindus, or Buddhists who don’t know Jesus

 

‘It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known’ (Romans 15:20)

 

Although there are hundreds of mission-sending organizations in the world and thousands of missionaries have given their lives, the goal of world evangelism remains largely unfulfilled.

 

The question is:

Why?

 

One of the main reasons is that Christians simply do not work together.

Over the centuries, one of the most significant barriers to the advance of the Gospel has been the division and lack of unity in the church.

Clearly, a task that is so great cannot be accomplished by one mission organization or church alone. Only a collaborative, unified commitment will enable the global Church to work together to reach those yet unreached with the love of Christ.

 


The Solution: Collaboration

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visionSynergy has seen over and over that when God’s people work together in partnership, God’s Spirit is unleashed in remarkable ways that catalyze spiritual movements in parts of the world where individual missionary efforts have had limited impact on those living in darkness for generations.

For example, in the 1980’s there were more than 130 language groups over 1 million in size with no church. In little more than one generation, dozens of these language groups now have communities of believers numbering from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands.
No period in Church history has seen such breakthroughs in such a brief time period. In many areas where these breakthroughs have occurred, evangelism and church planting were powered by an intentional partnership of God’s people working together.

We are convinced that Christians are called to work together, and after 30 years experience with more than a hundred major ministry partnerships around the world, we can confidently say that collaboration is the single best strategy for addressing the most pressing needs in the world today.

Collaboration is the key that reduces the duplication of our efforts, maximizes the impact of our ministries, and strengthens the credibility of our witness for Christ.

 


The Challenge: Effectiveness

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The real challenge, of course, is not that people are opposed to partnership in principle. Few people we have ever met would say that Christians should NOT work together. The message of the Scriptures in support of practical collaboration is clear (1 Corinthians 3:4-9; John 4:35-38; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Romans 12:3-21; Ephesians 4:1-16; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; John 17:20-23; John 13:34-35). The real challenge is that there is a gap between the stated values and the actual practice of Christian organizations.

While Satan and sin are certainly barriers to Christian collaboration, one of the main reasons we have seen for this gap between stated values and actual practice is that most Christian leaders simply do not have the hands-on skills to collaborate.

Merely calling a meeting and getting people around a table together is not enough to energize real partnership (in fact, calling a meeting too early is a great way to kill a partnership). Building an active and engaged network or partnership that involves many individuals or organizations working together toward significant shared goals requires specific competencies and processes.

Collaboration is not rocket science, but none of us is born knowing how to tie our own shoes, much less how to build high-impact teams and partnerships. Just as sailors or scouts learn how to tie particular knots for different purposes, there are certain steps to follow and certain configurations that work best when it comes to launching something as complex as a multi-lateral, multi-national, high-impact network for Christian mission.

As we work with leaders from around the world, one of the primary aims of visionSynergy is to discover and share the processes, principles, and best practices that enable effective collaboration.

 


Want to leverage the power of partnership?

We believe that God is always at work around the world, moving His people toward community and collaboration. That’s why we so often find that the dreams stirring in one person’s heart are the same dreams stirring in another person’s heart. If you want to learn more about how to leverage the power of partnership in your own ministry context, or how to get involved in the work of bringing others together to advance the Gospel, contact us!

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