As passionate as I am about our goal to plant 100 neighborhood churches and see south Florida transformed by the gospel, I have to admit that I don’t have a master plan. As you have read, God has orchestrated the expansion of the Family Church Network and church revitalization has been a key component. We are often approached about our partnership “strategy” and so we took the time to write up our 3-tiered approach to partnership with other like-minded, gospel-centered churches.
Family Church will be a friend to any church that shares our mission of spreading the gospel in south Florida and beyond. We have no organizational link with our friends. We have a mutual friend, Jesus, to whom we want to introduce everyone we meet. Our friendship involves:
- I meet regularly with Lead Pastors of other gospel-centered churches.
- Our church staff regularly collaborates with other church staffs for prayer and to share good ideas, communications strategies, etc.
- We attend quarterly meetings with church staff from all over Palm Beach County.
Family Church may enter into a courtship-type relationship with another church so we can get to know each other better. This is done with an eye toward formal partnership. Questions we are asking and answering during this time are: Do we align theologically? Do we have a shared vision and leadership culture? Are our methods compatible? Our courtship involves:
- Shared staff meetings and/or retreats.
- Shared preaching retreat.
- Joint children/student camps, mission trips and retreats.
- Collaboration on sermon series and promotional pieces.
- Reading and discussing Better Together by Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird.
Family Church may “marry” another church if it’s determined during the courtship that the two churches can advance the gospel better together than we could separately. This is based on our common theology, vision, methods, and leadership styles. Our marriage involves:
- Formal name change.
- Shared leadership focus.
- Shared mission and vision.
- Staff unification.
- Merging of assets and liabilities.
This isn’t a detailed list of all that’s required for partnership, but it’s some food for thought as you consider your own partnerships. Gospel-preaching churches are on the decline in America so it’s time that we stop competing and begin cooperating for the sake of the Kingdom. Who can you partner with today?