When we use the term “partnership development,” do we really think at all about the development part? What exactly would we be developing?
For some the answer would be a deeper level of relationship, and thus a deeper level of commitment (including increased giving). But is that a big enough picture? Does it fit with the biblical idea of partnership?
Although we in North America talk much about partnership, in reality we’re talking about sponsorship.*
What if, as goers, we had aspirations for our ministry partners that included:
- An ever-increasing passion for God’s glory
- A continuously-growing level of intimacy in their walk with God
- A constantly-expanding understanding of what God’s up to
- An unshakeable sense of ownership in the task
- A passion to advocate for the cause
- An insistence on involvement in the work
- An unquenchable thirst for Jesus himself
- An indescribable joy over what God is doing
- An equal share in the rewards
Flourishing through nurture
What if we actually tried to develop those things in every one of our partners? What would we need to do to make them come true?
What if we trusted God to work in those we minister with as much as we trust him to work in those we minister among?
Now that would be partnership development!
*Ron Blue, quoted in The Sending Church Defined, by Zach Bradley, p. 112