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Levels of Partnership

April 9, 2011 by

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Are you struggling with the decision of whether you should partner with other missionaries and Great Commission Christians?  They seem like great people with a similar passion and burden, but you do differ in secondary doctrines or ministry methods.  Is it worth it to work together to accomplish more than we could alone?  What if someone saw you working with this other group and assumed that you believed everything they believe?  There are extremes to avoid, but how to we live with this tension?  Here is a framework presented in the book To The Ends of the Earth

, by Jerry Rankin.  The idea is that all partnerships are not created equal.  While an Anglican and Baptist are not likely to plant a church together, they may partner in research and publication.  Similarly, missionaries will only partner with non-Christian organizations to a point where both groups goals are being achieved and no group is uncomfortable with another.

  • Level 1 – purpose: access to people; principle: creativity to gain access
  • Level 2 – purpose: open doors for gospel impact; principle: opportunities to build relationships
  • Level 3 – purpose: gospel presentation; principle: evangelical commitment
  • Level 4 – purpose: church planting; principle: doctrinal compatibility
  • Level 5 – purpose: leadership training; principle: complete agreement in doctrine and philosophy

About Jonathan Parsons
Jonathan thinks and writes about practical aspects of missionary service to help train and equip missionaries to fulfill the Great Commission. Jonathan ministered in East Africa with the International Mission Board. He now serves in the International Ministries office at the headquarters of Word of Life Fellowship coordinating logistical and administrative matters. He and his wife Amy live in the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York.