Here is a fundamental problem in churches: self-sufficiency. Or instead of self-sufficiency, maybe we should say “omni-competency.” Or perhaps “empire building.” What I’m getting at is the sense that each church, in each community, no matter how far apart or close together those churches are … each church thinks it has to do everything, by itself, on its own, and find budget and time to do it all — on its own.
But Chip Sweney, with Kitti Murray, have now produced a pastorally-informed and pastorally-suggestive book that challenges this mindset. Their book, New Kind of Big, A: How Churches of Any Size Can Partner to Transform Communities, calls churches to collaborate, to partner, and to work together along common missional goals. Costs can be shared, volunteers and labor can be shared, ministries can be shared … and what happens?
Let’s pause right here: What is your local church doing with other churches? How much cooperation is there in your community between churches? Even more: Are there church with whom you could partner?
The church, in the whole community, makes an impact though one might not know “which church” did what or which church gets the credit.
Another way of saying this is that you don’t have to be a megachurch to partner together enough to put together the resources to be a church of big influence in a local community. Chip Sweney is at Perimeter Church in Atlanta and is part of Unite!, an organization of more than 150 churches.
Together, they’ve coordinated over 6000 volunteers from more than 60 churches. Unite! has partnered to deliver 30 welcome baskets, repaired things at a dozen homes, gave away thousands of Bibles and delivered 800 “encourage a teacher” baskets … 20 block parties in low-income apartment communities and worked on 65 food drives that collected 2500 pounds of food.