Dr. Paul Borden
Rocky Mountain Church Network
Taken from Growing Healthy Churches June 2014 E-Newsletter
One major reason for the creation of denominations and church associations was that congregations realized they could often do more together then they could individually. The sending of missionaries to foreign countries is often used as the best illustration of the benefit of churches grouping together. I want to share another way in which church groupings are today allowing individual congregations to see the benefit of being in partnership with other churches.
As many congregations throughout the nation decline in attendance and money, while increasing in age, and as a result lose their ability to bring much if any influence for Jesus Christ in the communities in which they exist, a new phenomenon is occurring. The few congregations that are growing are seeing as both a need and a responsibility the obligation to help those congregations that want to change, grow and become effective again. These larger congregations are not interested in aiding and helping the congregations that do not want to change, which is wise. However, if smaller congregations are willing to become intentional about making new disciples for Jesus Christ a number of larger congregations, often within individual denominations, are willing to offer assistance.
I know of several smaller congregations that are now led by boards made up of pastors and key lay leaders from larger congregations nearby. Others are seeing staff and lay leaders from larger congregations taking up key leadership positions in these smaller churches. Other churches are entering into partnerships with smaller denominations and taking solo pastors from the smaller congregations and adding them to their own church staff, while allowing that solo pastor to continue to serve her/his home congregation. Finally, some are even taking on the smaller congregation as a campus of their church, which enables the larger church to be a multi-campus church while serving the smaller churches as though it was one of their own congregations. In all of these cases the larger churches are offering the smaller congregations, coaching, mentoring, leadership, and key resources such as volunteers, expertise, leadership, people to attend services and in some cases even dollars.
The pastors and boards of larger congregations understand that the issue is the growth of the Kingdom of God. Smaller congregations often have property, buildings, locations and even historical influence in communities that need again to be leveraged for God’s honor and glory. These leaders realize it is not about each church doing its own thing and sinking or succeeding on its own. Our nation is becoming more and more secular and as a result there are more and more people who need to be reached with the good news of the love of God in Jesus Christ.
As I am watching this phenomenon take place it again demonstrates that the Body of Christ is not about individual Christians or even individual congregations. The Body of Christ is the living breathing army of saints that are on a mission to reach the lost for Jesus Christ. We really can do more together then we can on our own.[/vc_column][/vc_row]