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Developing Strategic Relationships: Lesson 1


Developing Strategic Partnerships

Without a global vision today, no one can hope to reach their potential. No church or ministry can go it alone and be successful. Today more than ever before, the opportunity and personnel for world evangelization are in the hands of the two-thirds church in developing nations. Partnerships aren’t an option; they’re a necessity. “You are the body of Christ.” (I Corinthians 12:27)

Three Stages of Growth

Dependence – This is the infancy stage.

Independence – This is the adolescence stage.

Interdependence – This is the mature stage.

A partnership is a complementary relationship which is driven by a common purpose and sustained by a willingness to learn and grow together in obedience to God.

Giving can be a risky business. The story is told of a man driving a new car. He was approached by a young man who complemented him on his car and he told the boy that his brother had given it to him. The boy responded by saying, “Wow, I wish…” and before he could complete his sentence the man finished by saying, “that you had a brother like that.” “No,” the boy responded, “I wish I could be a brother like that.”

True partnership can be summed up in one word, “brotherhood.” In today’s global village, we must learn to deal with each other as brothers while obeying God and advancing His gospel. Partnership raises some good questions:

Do I know if my brother needs a new car?

Does he want my help?

Can my brother drive?

Can my brother afford the expense of driving a new car?

These are type of questions we must ask in forming a partnership. Have we contributed to the self-developing capabilities of our partners? Are we helping build their capacities or just relieving their needs?”

A complementary relationship requires that each partner is independent of each other. It requires that they are compatible in doctrine and values and that they must know and be willing to exchange strengths.

Development happens when people learn, grow, and change. It’s both a process and a result. The process is growing in Christ, and the result is people living out Kingdom of God values. We can’t make a person grow anymore than a farmer makes his crops grow. The farmer works with the laws of nature and growth is the result.

Three Characteristics of Developmental Relationships

  1. RESULTS describe the accomplishments the relationship will be able to deliver. Both giver and receiver should emerge from an alliance stronger and more effective than before they entered it.
  2. RELATIONSHIP is the means by which trust, communication, and collaboration are possible.
  3. There must be clear VISION. Without vision relationships will always lead to disappointment. Vision is a compelling picture of what the relationship will accomplish and how it’s going to get there. Vision is what gives the ministries the incentive to partner. It shows how the partners can be more together than they will be separately.

It’s similar to the human body. The body is worth more than its individual parts.

The question is, “Can we act like brothers should act?” To do so, we must come alongside ministry leaders, listen to and respond to their agenda, and together find ways to help which results in growth and success. There is no formula for the practice of genuine brotherhood. It requires constant attention, open dialogue, mutual support, prayer, persistence, and large doses of forgiveness.

The four stages of a partnership are: friendship, formation, function, and fruitfulness.



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