Partnership. It is at the center of all we do, and it is one of our core values. Both practical and philosophical reasons encourage us to place such emphasis on partnership.
We’ve taken great care to frame partnership in the context of relationship, believing that Church Partnership is a complementary relationship between two churches guided by a common, Gospel-centered vision and sustained by an equal willingness to learn, serve, grow, and to extend grace to one another under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
We also partner with other like-minded organizations to accomplish our goals and pursue our mission. We believe this provides a better platform for serving the needs of children, vulnerable families, and churches. I would argue that partnership reflects God’s very nature, as it demonstrates Christian unity and ultimately draws people to God.
Without question, we believe we are more effective when we work together rather than alone.
Encouragement is an aspect of partnership that I have increasingly come to appreciate. Nothing compares to being in conversation with a peer, sharing experiences, challenges, strategies, or dreams, and hearing the other person say, “me too,” “We’ve struggled with that, too,” “Have you tried this?” or “We should do that together.” It is a boost in confidence; it’s an encouragement that you’re on the right track, a feeling that you’re not in the fight alone, and a confirmation that others share your passion, beliefs, struggles, and aspirations. C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”’
Several years ago, I began conversing with Chad Smith of AMG Guatemala about at-risk children, poverty, crime, the church in Guatemala, and possible partnership between World Orphans and AMG. We shared our visions, passions, and mutual desire to see the church engage in caring for orphans and vulnerable families. That was the beginning of a great partnership and friendship. As we’ve worked together in Guatemala and have grown to know each other better, we’ve spent a significant amount of time talking about the joys and challenges of cross-cultural ministry, family, adoption, communication, and leadership. Through the highs and lows of ministry and orphan care, Chad’s friendship, partnership, and discussions with me have been a source of encouragement that has been a breath of fresh air.
I was recently talking to Billy Ray, World Orphans Middle East Director who oversees The Refuge Initiative, about our partnership with Bob Goff of Love Does. He mentioned the source of encouragement that Bob has been to him. Bob has visited Billy in Kurdistan many times, and his mere presence, combined with the way he has loved and cared for Billy and his family, has been a tremendous morale boost. When we see the impact multiplied by our partnership together, we cannot help but be encouraged. For Billy, having someone like Bob Goff in his corner not only offers encouragement, but it has been a confidence boost as well.
Through partnership, we have a great opportunity to encourage one another, to carry one another in times of struggle, to celebrate with one another, to commiserate with one another, to see impact multiplied, and to remind one another that what we are doing matters.