I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. - Philippians 1:3-5
In the Bible, the word partnership means fellowship and participation. It expresses the idea of uniting together on a mutual mission, sharing the joys, burdens, and struggles, and sacrificing towards the end of common goals.
Many Christians have been sold a small dream of what it means to be the church. In the American church, many people are content to simply attend, but we are made for more than just showing up. The word partnership means many things, but one thing it does not mean is to simply be present. Partnership carries the weight of action and involvement. In the New Testament, there is never a picture of people simply ‘going to church’. Instead, we see disciples partnering together on mission, ‘being the church.’
This is why Redemption City Church uses the word ‘partnership’ rather than ‘membership.’ Membership is also a biblical word that many good churches use, and it has the same unifying principle as partnership. However, it lacks the same call to action that the word partnership has. Partners in the Gospel do not simply unite together for the sake of being a social club or having fancy get-togethers; they unite together to do the work Jesus has called them to do.
WHY PARTNER IN THE LOCAL CHURCH?
For many Christians, it is clear that they need to partner together, but they do this mostly outside of the church. They may be involved in various para-church ministries and activities, but the local church lacks priority. Why is it necessary to partner inside the local church for the mission of Jesus? Surely Christians could accomplish good, godly things partnering together in other Christian ministries?
The Church is God’s ‘Plan A’ for Advancing His Kingdom
So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. is was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Ephesians 3:10-11
God’s eternal purpose and plan was that His wisdom and glory be revealed through the church. The church is the reconciled people of God, brought together by the power of the Gospel, and she shows forth the truth of the Gospel and gives a glimpse into the radical pursuing love of God. Although other organizations can be witnesses to the Gospel, only the church has been given the great commission to give herself fully to that glorious purpose.
Christians Are Meant To Live In The Church
If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. - 1 Timothy 3:15
The church is God’s household. It is the family of God in which all Christians are meant to live. It is also called the body of Christ, which means that to be disconnected from the church body is like being a dismembered limb. Although everyone who has been saved by Jesus is technically a member of the universal church, it is necessary to live out this truth within a local expression in community with one another. Being in the universal church by becoming a Christian without being a part of a local church is like being a fish out of water. It is simply not the way we are meant to live and thrive as Christians.
Interested in pursuing partnership? We have a simple four step process that you can find HERE.
The next Foundations Class (which is our first step toward Partnership) takes place on November 13th and 20th. You can sign up and get more details HERE.
*This blog post is adapted from our Partnership booklet.