Last semester, I had the chance to help my church out on our Local and International Service team. And one of the things I really appreciate about those guys is that they have a major partnership bent. Even though our church is big and could do a lot of service activities on its own, instead our M.O. is partnering with those in our community (or overseas) who are already making an impact.
Clearly, lots of churches don’t take that same stance. But the truth is, lots of college ministries don’t, either. In our case, I believe there’s room for a lot more partnership in service activities – as well as other functions of our ministries.
How often do you consider questions like these?:
- Before we launch a Bible study for that sorority, do we know of any other ministries with students in that club?
- Instead of assuming nobody’s already reaching that dorm, have we tried to find out and maybe join them?
- We’ve thought about advertising to that nearby community college – is there a church that might want to help with that outreach?
- Are there any other secular clubs on campus that could partner with us for this campus-wide party?
- Before choosing a new service project, have we considered the ones the campus is already getting behind?
- Instead of having our five students with a passion for _____________ do that on their own, what if they joined forces with similar students from other ministries?
Believe me, I recognize there are sometimes great reasons NOT to partner. But I feel like we’re more often erring on the other side of things, on the side that needlessly recreates wheels and misses opportunities for a little extra unity. We have to be open to considering partnership often.
One more note – When it comes to partnering with other ministries, let me say this: I am by no means a naysayer when it comes to having multiple college ministries on a campus. I understand the role they serve, and I know there are real differences between groups. (It is a misunderstanding of biblical unity to declare that things shouldn’t be this way.) But the fact that there often should be multiple college ministries on one campus doesn’t mean that the next activity can’t be done in unison – whether it’s starting a niche ministry or holding a Service Day downtown.