By Pierre Bergeron, the EFC’s Quebec director. Adapted with permission from a 2 October 2015 post on his personal blog (aussi disponible en français).
From the launch event of the Réseau des Évangéliques du Québec, Oct. 1, 2015
This partnership aims to open new areas of reflection, dialogue and co-operation in matters that affect Evangelicals in Quebec. (The REQ began to form in June 2013 in Montreal and also includes the EFC as a special nondenominational member.)
This new Quebec network is also an vivid application of the principle of “unity in diversity” that’s described in the Gospel of John chapter 17.
There is a growing awareness and practice by leaders in various fields of expertise, whether in Christian circles or the business world, who acknowledge that partnerships are no longer optional. They have become a necessity.
Here are five principles that demonstrate why all spiritual leaders should promote the creation of partnerships.
1) Christianity is based on relationships while religion is based on rituals and rules. Our relationships have an eternal value.
2) God grows us through partnerships, and He grows our ministry through projects. The partnership becomes the root that nourishes the project which is the fruit. Our personal growth and development always takes place in our relationships with others. The Bible describes this process as follows: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
3) Authentic spiritual leaders always raise up emerging leaders and increasingly share their authority with them. They multiply their leadership by mentoring emerging leaders. Romans 16 demonstrates this principle as we see the Apostle Paul ending his epistle greeting 26 people who were his friends and partners in ministry.
4) There is no perfect partnership on earth. Therefore, each partnership will have its share of challenges and fun. We live in an imperfect world, so there is no partnership without challenges and, in some cases, pain. But partnerships that are based on mutual respect always result in more pleasure and benefit than pain. Why? Because the power of great partnership stems from our love for each other which is then demonstrated by collaboration despite our diversity.
5) Communication is the “air” that relationships breathe. When communication breaks down, relationships break down. As Jeff Laurin said last night, “Authentic communications are essential.” To have genuine relationships, it takes authentic conversations that are transparent, sincere and based on mutual trust. Without this trust, it is impossible to achieve the kind partnerships that are ordained from God and will be transformational.
Here’s what I’ve discovered working in both church and military environments. Partnership multiplies our capacity and efficiency and allows us to reach a wider public. It also becomes a great witness of the hand of God on every church member.
There is no doubt about it, the power of Christian partnership is in our diversity, not in our uniformity or conformity.