The task of mobilizing churches and leaders for the sake of Jesus to our world is huge! Yet it is simpler today than in other eras because of: 1) globalization – the world is smaller (via technology, travel and social networking) and 2) collaboration – the atmosphere of work is in teams and groups together.
In my role with Encompass World Partners, we want to leverage a new model of engaging our world. We want to see leaders, churches and ministries working together to get the Gospel to the least-reached on our globe. Below is a brief outline of what we are calling coalitions.
A model for meaningful engagement
A coalition is covenant group of churches, leaders or ministries
cooperating in joint action together for a common purpose.
1. Focus on Collaborative Mission
Coalitions are created to meet needs, whether spiritual or material. Members of coalitions understand that they are a joining an action group that shares a common commitment to pool resources to achieve a specific purpose. While reflection and discussion are an important element in developing appropriate responses to needs, members understand that they are working together to do ministry in viable and meaningful ways.
2. Submit to the Guidance of the Holy Spirit
Above all, Coalitions recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the vital role of the Holy Spirit. Toward that end, the members of Coalitions commit to prayer that leads to vision that leads to risk-taking faith. Coalitions must be birthed in prayer, their goals must be forged in the crucible of prayer, their members must be selected as a result of prayer, and their actions must arise from an ongoing commitment to prayer.
3. Build upon Mutual Trust
“Can two walk together if they are not in agreement?” asked the prophet Amos. Teamwork is essential to any meaningful spiritual endeavor, and building the trust needed for effective teamwork requires a ongoing commitment to walk in the Spirit, to listen to our brothers and sisters, and to submit to one another out of love for Christ. Members of Coalitions are willing to invest the relational time required to develop mutual trust.
4. Organize around Gifts and Experience
When Christ places us in his body, we acknowledge that he is our head, and that we flourish in an interdependent relationship in which unity and diversity are encouraged and valued. In the same way, Coalitions embrace the fact that their members come to the table with a variety of gifts and ministry experiences. Coalitions should define the roles of leaders and members in such a way as to value experience and provide opportunities to exercise spiritual gifts.
5. Commit to Sound Missiology and Cross-cultural Sensitivity
In the crucible of its successes and failures, the modern missions movement is creating a wealth of principles and practical resources. Coalitions should build upon this reservoir of knowledge and experience to ensure that their efforts reflect ‘best practices’ in the mission world and sensitivity to local cultures. Since most Coalitions will consist of partners from more than one cultural context, it is essential that members avoid superimposing their cultural values on others.
Here is a fuller document for download: Coalitions: Definition & Values (PDF)