4 ways churches can work togetherby Trent DeLoach, Lead Pastor, Clarkston International Bible Church
The Bible supports the concept of teamwork throughout Scripture.
Moses developed a team to help him govern. David surrounded himself by a team of brave soldiers. Even Jesus formed a team of disciples to carry out His mission. The wise words of Solomon remind us, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up… A cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes. 4:9-12).
Almost every church adopts a team-based approach to ministry whether it realizes it or not. Working together is biblical, better and just makes sense.
So, what if established churches and new ethnic churches worked together as a team to engage their diverse community?
Far too often churches in close proximity work independent of each other even when they come from the same denomination. Now, we know that teamwork doesn’t come easy. It requires intentional communication, planning and perseverance. However, the challenges of reaching diverse neighborhoods with the gospel should cause us to pause and consider the strategic advantages of established churches and new ethnic churches working together.
One of the greatest untapped resources for kingdom advancement among the nations hinges on this conversation. Therefore, here are several ways that established churches and new ethnic churches could work as a team to engage their diverse community.
Share worship space.
Established churches can share worship space with ethnic churches. Worshiping in close proximity increases the likelihood of working together. Unfortunately, the phrase, “out of sight, out of mind,” is true in church partnerships. Sharing space ensures there are constant reminders of each other’s needs.
Established churches can worship with new ethnic churches in periodic joint worship services. Worshiping together helps strengthen the relationship between the churches. These times of worship can be pretty special when they include praying together, singing in multiple languages, and celebrating communion and baptisms together. Worshipping together is an easy first step toward working together as a team in the community.
Determine strengths and weakness.
Both types of churches can come together to determine each other’s strengths and weakness. Perhaps the established church lacks relationships in the communities they desire to reach. Imagine the benefits of discovering several families from their partner ethnic church already living in the area. Perhaps the established church lacks the language skills to engage certain diverse neighborhoods. One can easily see how a partnership with an ethnic church that speaks the various languages of the community could be a huge asset for effective community engagement.
Identify common goals.
Both types of churches can come together to determine areas of common interest and concern. Perhaps both churches have a desire to engage the younger generation or provide food for families in need. Perhaps both churches have a passion for prayerwalking or door-to-door ministry. Discovering these common ground issues provides direction for working together. Working together in these areas of concern should lead to more people being reached.
These are just a few suggestions, and the possibilities are endless. The need to reach more people in diverse communities in our country has never been greater. Teamwork between established churches and new ethnic churches could and should play a strategic role in North American missions.
If you are interested in taking further steps in this direction, seek out other churches that already have these types of partnerships. The leadership of Clarkston International Bible Church would be more than willing to share insights from more than 15 years of partnering with new ethnic churches to reach a diverse community.
Teamwork is biblical, better, and just makes sense. How can your church apply these thoughts?
Editor’s note: Trent DeLoach serves as the lead pastor at Clarkston International Bible Church, in Clarkston, Georgia, and has worked among refugees for more than 12 years. If you would like more information on any of these ideas, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.