In the years we have been doing outreach—lots of years now—we have consistently seen that the most powerful moments have come when several churches were working together to the end that lots of people were served in the city.
It is an amazing thing to come together on a large-scale basis as we serve our cities.
While there are a few challenges involved in serving with other churches, the price we end up paying is always rather minimal when compared with the abundant fruit that comes to those who serve in this way.
There is no telling what amazing things can happen in your locale as you team up with other churches and aim beyond yourselves into the city that God loves.
Why should churches partner together to impact their city?
There are several reasons for serving together. Here are a few:
To serve in this way is very pleasing to God.
Jesus had lots to say about the power of altruism—of doing things for others with no strings attached. It is easy to get caught up in serving for the wrong reasons. I’m not saying that your serving is being done for the wrong reasons, but it is easy to fall into the routine of serving in order that our particular church will become well known.
God’s hand is upon us in a strong way when we serve with other churches.
It is clear that we will never get all that far in reaching our entire city until we link up with other churches in the area. It is just impossible to serve a significant percentage of your city with your lonesome church, but when we team up with others who are devoted to reaching the city lots more can be accomplished. It is possible to do significant works of outreach when we team up with other churches.
It’s fun to serve with other churches.
The more time we spend with other churches in the area the more we come to realize just how similar we are to them. When we do our individual activities alone it is easy to think we are normal and everyone else is odd. Nothing could be further from the truth, however.
How do you even begin to connect with other churches to partner together?
There are a number of practical steps you can take to get the ball rolling.
1. Begin by praying that other churches will catch the vision for reaching your city together.
It is ultimately up to God to stir people’s hearts to outreach. You can talk all you want and seek to connect with others but God’s Spirit can accomplish an amazing level of excitement. Pray that as you connect with others they will be already convinced of the importance of outreach. That way when you do share with them they are more likely to be influenced by God’s Spirit.
2. Look across the lay of the land–so to speak—of other churches in the city.
Go to the churches initially that seem to be the most open to outreach. You might be surprised in your ventures. You may discover there are some churches who are eager to do outreach but they don’t seem that way on the surface of things.
3. Don’t insist that you deal with the senior leader(s) only.
You might well find that the people you want to work with are actually the movers and shakers of local congregations, but aren’t necessarily the ones who are in charge of things—at least they aren’t in charge of things on paper.
4. Outreach cards to give out are important.
I recommend you settle in on cards that are unique to each church doing the outreach. Put a fairly generic, consistent look on one side so all the churches are presenting the same look. On the opposite side put the map of that specific church. It is possible that you can give away a LOT of connect cards in the course of a couple of hours of outreach. Connect with each person you come in contact with during your outreach. Give away lots of cards. Those you serve will remember you because you gave them a card—not because you were nice or smiled a lot (both good ideas but it is essential that you give away cards with each contact you make). I recommend that you as the sponsoring church pay for the cost of cards for each participating church.
In part 2 we will share examples of the preparation and the overall logistics of such an event.