Saturday, May 19, 2007

To Partner or Not To Partner that is the Question!

Recently I have come across some interesting discussions. So, I figured since I know several missionaries frequent our blog, I decided that I would throw out that discussion to you guys and ask you what you think about it.

Let me paint a picture for you; one that I know many of you have experienced before—or, at least, some variant of it.

You meet with a fellow missionary working in your area for coffee to discuss partnering in evangelism. He tells you he met a man who would like to do some evangelization in your area and wanted to partner with you. Now, he's not of your denomination. Would you partner with him?


Well let's speak a little more about this man whom you have been asked to partner with by your missionary friend. You actually have read something he wrote before and you know that there he advocated inclusivism at least, maybe even pluralism. Now, would you partner with him in doing evangelism and planting churches?

Let me know why or why not and then I'll respond with a later post. PLEASE! PLEASE! PRETTY PLEASE! RESPOND!



dwmiii

8 comments:

dwm III said...

Alan,

Thanks for the heads up about the comments.

Dougald

Alan Knox said...

Dougald,

The same thing with the comments happened to myself and another friend. I hope blogger corrects that soon.

You offered us a scenario and asked, "To Partner or Not To Partner that is the Question!" I understand what you are asking, and I understand that this is a blog about missions. However, I think you will agree that missions is about discipleship. Yes, there are different dynamics involved in making disciples "cross-culturally", but it is still discipleship.

Thus, I think the first thing we should think about is discipleship, not partnership. If they are both believers (that is, both missionaries in your scenario) then they are already partners in the gospel. (Yes, I know that this is not exactly what you mean, but I'm trying to think through this.) If one believer thinks that another believer is in error, we should not begin by questioning whether or not to partner or work with them, but we should be seeking ways to disciple them (much like we see Priscilla and Aquila doing with Apollos).

Certainly this will probably have to be handled with gentleness and humility (just as Paul tells us in 2 Tim. 2:24-25). Probably both "missionaries" will feel that they are already spiritual. Thus, they will need to relate to one another as brothers before this type of discipleship can take place.

I believe this step is very important before we decide not to "partner" with another brother in Christ.

-Alan

dwm III said...

Alan,

Excellent point. And, I agree with you on that the first step should be discipleship.

Although, I suppose we don't always have that opportunity if the question is put to us for an immediate answer.

But thanks for thinking outside the box on the question! It is a true reminder that we are with our brothers and sisters to encourage them in their walk with Christ FIRST. (And by encouraging I mean sometime correcting, forgiving, confessing our own sin and struggles etc.) :)

Thanks,
Dougald

Arnau van Wyngaard said...

On the hypothetical question you raised I would answer that I would first of all try and find out in what way this different viewpoint would influence the church. It would be of little help if you proclaim that you are partners in missions while figthing about doctrinal issues for example.

I am intending to touch on this topic sometime in the next week or so on my own blog: http://missionissues.wordpress.com/ but for the moment I would say that we should not be naive to think that all spiritual people are unselfish and will truly accommodate each other. To become partners means that relationships will have to be built first of all and it must be determined if the same vision is being pursued. Otherwise the partnership may cause more harm than good.
Arnau

dwm III said...

Arnau,

That is the first question that came into my mind as well. What would the implications of this partnership have on the church? Might we even add planted?...as a result of this partnership.

I think Alan has brought up a good point to help balance as well. So, not that anyone has accused me of this, but to lay the backdrop for this. I am not speaking about rejecting the person, or not loving the person. I am speaking of partnering in evangelism or church planting.

Also, Arnau, I haven't visited your blog since you commented last. So, I wouldn't forget I added it to the links here. Do you mind?

Dougald

Arnau said...

I've started writing about the partnering issue on my blog. These are just some first thoughts. I'll see how things develop. You can check it out on http://missionissues.wordpress.com/2007/05/24/partnering-in-missions/
Thanks for including a link to my blog on your page. I've returned the compliment.
Arnau

Amy Downey said...

I came to your post in relationship to your comment to me on Tim Rogers'. I think we are both right ... unfortunately.

Also like your unreached people groups emphasis. Let me ask have you done one of the Jewish people?

Amy

dwm III said...

Amy,

I have not done one on Jewish people yet. Though, Jewish evangelism is very important to me.

Thanks for stopping by.

DWMIII