Sirius Satellite Radio and XM radio are merging. The headline in the NY Times reads, "Merger would ends Satellite Radio’s Rivalry." Here’s the truth… as much as we prize independence, partnership is almost always better when it can be had. Whether in radio, business, or (especially) churches, partnership removes the rivalries. Why is that we prize autonomy as much as we do, and partnership so little? It seems to me that we can do far more together than apart to advance the gospel in culture. Call me idealistic, but I think that churches haven’t yet begun to realize the explosive power of strategic partnerships in ministry.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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8 thoughts on “Partnership

  1. OK, maybe “short jump across a large cavern” doesn’t make any sense since a cavern is a cave and you usually don’t jump across caves. How about, “a short jump off of a tall building”? It all ends in one big splat!!!

  2. asa,
    It’s OK, not unfortunate, to disagree. It gives us an opportunity to communicate a bit more on the subject. The “someone” I was referring to wasn’t Luke, but the uninspired person who reads that passage about elders being appointed in every church and comes to the conclusion that churches must practice autonomy.
    I think the whole problem lies with many people having the perception of elders being a church’s governing board instead of shepherds of the flock like God intended. If you saw an eldership as a governing board, then you might naturally assume that each church is a separately governed entity, autonomous in nature. But the truth on the matter, at least my understanding of it, is that Jesus is the governor of His church. That draws us all in together as the “one” body of Christ. The shepherds are simply caretakers of the flock who lead God’s sheep in the path of Christ, who bind up the broken, who search for the straying, who caress and care for the newborn, who fearlessly stand in the way of anyone intent on hurting the flock. They are not lawmakers, not board members, not a collection of CEOs, not an electoral college voting on the health and welfare of God’s people. (Ugh!)
    Reading the inspired words that Paul “appointed elders in every church” and coming to the conclusion that churches are autonomous has been, for our movement, a short jump across a large cavern. Autonomy as we practice it just isn’t there and it is destructive. There are much better arguments for the practices of worshiping and assembling, don’t you think?

  3. Unfortunately I must disagree with Brad, and agree to a minute extent with Don.
    Brad, the someone that saw Paul do those things was inspired by the Almighty to record the things that he saw. If you use your logic on anything else pertaining to the church why even assemble and worship together?
    As for Don, I agree with the fear part of your comment, but could you imagine if we asked our own brethren with whom we worshipped weekly without that fear? In other words we will not ask our closest brothers and sisters in Christ to help us when we see a problem.
    Mr. Spivey, I believe the congregation that follows the NT teaching to the best of their ability will agree that they are one with another congregation that is doing the same, although they are shepherded by two separate elderships. On the other side, to imply a congregation should be run like a business without considering the souls of others is dangerous territory to stand on.

  4. This whole autonomy business I believe is a lie from the Devil to accomplish the very thing you mentioned in your post – to keep believers apart and stifle the good works of God’s people. That’s not saying no good works are taking place, but your point is correct, we could do much more if we could partner together.
    Scripture does not support autonomy. Someone saw Paul appointing elders in “every church” on his way back from his first missionary journey and thought, “Hey, each church with their own set of bosses. That must mean that one church can’t have anything to do with another church.” Good one, Satan.

  5. Powerful idea.
    I don’t think the church prizes autonomy as much as it FEARS becoming an organized national body with centralized control.

  6. Agreed. I’ve always been impressed by how the Baptist men always show up in an emergency with their trucks, supplies, and manpower. Why haven’t we been coordinated like this? Because we’re autonomous!