We are being called to seek God in all his holiness, to humble ourselves as did Isaiah of old, to respond to God with a “yes” when he asks “Whom shall I send?” to seek the unity of God’s servants and to cultivate creative transformational community initiatives to bless the peoples and the nations.
Principles emerge in response to the question “What will it take to achieve the vision for transformation?”
Some of the proven principles include the following:
- Laying the foundation for ministry through corporate spiritual growth.
- Experiencing the holiness of God with other leaders leads to repentance, humility, and deeper life commitment to Christ and his mission in the world.
- Fueling momentum for ministry through loving relationships.
- Reconciling, forming and developing relationships of mutual love, respect, and trust enables leaders to work together for the common good of their community.
- Aligning transformational efforts by maintaining vision for the completed task.
- Ongoing clear, compelling and comprehensive vision casting that involves everyone in the project brings about shared vision, values and strategy, common language and goals, urgency to act and a bonded team.
- Identifying leaders and initiating a process for community transformation.
- Empowerment thrives from a growing base of committed leaders and no barriers to keep them from doing a good job. Effective leaders shepherd people and processes putting together the structures and strategies to carry out God’s vision. Strategy results from the prayerful planning of leaders who recognize the activity of God in the community and make the large-scale adjustments needed to join him in that activity.
- Increasing understanding of the current realities of one’s community.
- If the Church wants to be relevant and effective in the community, it needs good information that describes the community’s people and need, the condition of the church; and the spiritual forces which influence current reality. The Church must see the city as it truly is; not just what it seems to be. These data will show leaders God’s top priorities and highest leverage (greatest results per effort) ministries that will bring about the most impact and lasting results.
- Enacting high leverage opportunities to minister to the community.
- Building bridges through acts of service and kindness establishes relationships of trust and credibility with the community. People open their lives to those who genuinely care about personal and community needs and more often will open their heart to the One who empowers loving service.
- Making a fresh commitment to individual and corporate learning around needed skills and effective ministry models.
- Constructing the right structures and steps to work together effectively means we must use the assets God has given us to their fullest extent – committing ourselves to training and ongoing learning.
- Finding out what the church needs to learn to bring about greater impact is crucial to achieving its goals. For many of us, community transformation means a shift in our underlying philosophies, as well as learning new skills. Building the church’s ability to facilitate change in the city requires a community of learners who are committed to discovering new ways to achieve god’s plans and purposes.
Seven Key Principles for Effective Work Together
Principle # 1
Effective partnerships for transformation require an inspiring, action-oriented vision.
The vision must clearly be beyond the capacity of an individual or single ministry.
That vision must meet three criteria:
- The vision must clearly be something God wants done
- There must be clear value & relevance for each participating ministry–bringing value to their ministry goals
- There must be limited yet high value, achievable objectives in the beginning allowing the partnership to have encouraging success in the early stages.
Scripture: Nehemiah 1:11-18, Proverbs 29:18, Isaiah 50:7, John 10:10, John 17:4
Effective transformation partnerships are built on commitment to active, consistent prayer.
The prayer must focus on:
- Our relationships as we work together
- Those we are seeking to reach & serve
- Wisdom regarding the specific vision God puts on our hearts
- The consensus & unity we need to focus our energy & work together
- Any differences in background and ideas on strategy
- For our families and those who support and pray for us
- That Satan’s power will be broken and Jesus’ power will break through
Scripture: I Samuel 12:23, Proverbs 15:8-9, Matthew 21:22, Acts 1:14, 6:4, Romans 12:12
Effective partnerships are based on open, trusting relationships.
These relationships are built by:
- Taking time to truly know each other’s spiritual journey and ministry vision
- Taking time to know each other’s family, ministry experience, and calling
- Spending time in prayer – for each other first and then for the work together
- Being committed to each other’s personal welfare, not just the partnership’s success
- Focusing on the things we have in common, not the differences that can divide us
Scripture: Psalm 133, Matthew 5:23, John 17:21-23, Romans 12, Ephesians 4:3
Effective, lasting partnerships for transformation are a process, not an event.
Key stages are:
- Exploration (getting to know the key leaders and the primary issues)
- Formation (meeting, praying, defining vision/goals, deciding on action)
- On-going operation (turning the initial limited but high-value goals into action)
Key elements are:
- Get to know one another and build relationship, initially “one on one”
- Calling a group meeting too early can often be counterproductive
- Keep the big challenge clearly in everyone’s heart but agree on very practical outcomes – particularly in the early stages
- Small steps first, bigger ones later – walk before you run
Scripture: Joshua 1:5-9, Nehemiah 3, John 4:35-38, I Corinthians 3:1-9
Effective transformation partnerships have a dedicated facilitator for whom the partnership and its vision is their primary priority.
This person must:
- Be both servant and prophet
- Be energetic, always looking forward, yet patient, always ready to listen, serve, and deal with day to day issues
- Be committed to the partnership’s transformation goals and the welfare of each partner ministry
- Be able to keep confidential matters confidential and always do what they personally promise
- Be a person of spiritual maturity, compassion, and personal integrity
- Hold strongly the conviction that the power of the Gospel transforms lives and communities
Scripture: II Chronicles 1:7-12, Nehemiah 1:4-9, II Corinthians 1:24, Galatians 5:22-26, I Peter 5:3-7
Effective transformation partnerships focus first on the what (the goal) rather than the how (the structure).
The human spirit seeks to find safety in structure and predictability. Starting first with organizational issues is a dead-end for transformational partnerships. Vision must always come first. Always keep the organizational structure to the absolute minimum necessary to accomplish the partnership’s vision. Do as much as possible through prayer and consensus rather than depending on a constitution and voting rights!
Scripture: Judges 7:1-25, II Samuel 5:17-25, Mark 6:7-13, Acts 13:1-3, I Corinthians 1:27
Effective transformation partnerships celebrate the diversity of their members, their common calling, and the success God gives them.
- Lasting Kingdom partnerships are rare and must be celebrated as we see His Spirit’s blessing. Celebration acknowledges that we can do more together than we can do individually. The diversity in backgrounds, callings, and gifts that make up our partnership are a demonstration of God’s generosity and call for celebration.
- Acknowledging success and celebrating what God has done as we work together brings hope and encouragement to expand the vision and carry on.
Scripture: Nehemiah 12:27-43, Luke 10:17-24, Acts 14:26-28, I Corinthians 1:4-10, 12:12-26