The Key to the Window is the Ring of Partnerships
Boeing’s latest aircraft is the 777. It is a very complex machine with many different parts. Boeing has 35 000 subcontractors in about 25 countries producing parts for the Boeing 777. That takes great coordination skills to make it work. It requires that every person and company involved share the same goal, relate to one another, and do their utmost to deliver the best of their specific product. Many different players, doing different things, but the end result flies. Why? Because there is a common goal, and the efforts to reach that goal are being coordinated.
The great challenge before the Church today is to establish a church for every people. More than 90 percent of all the unreached peoples are found in and around the 10/40 Window. How are we going to reach that goal?
In December 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a fireside chat that was broadcast on the radio to the American people. The world was at war. Freedom and democracy were threatened all over the earth. The USA was about to enter the war. The President said: “We have the men, the skill, the wealth, and above all, the will.”
But he also emphasized that that was not sufficient. An increased productivity in the war industry and ultimately a victory on the battle field required something extra. “And this can be accomplished only if we discard the notion of ‘business as usual’.”
God has given the Church the necessary resources to accomplish the Great Commission. We may say with President Roosevelt that we have “the men, the skill, the wealth and the will.” God has above all given us the Holy Spirit who empowers us to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to all peoples. Victory is thus assured. But it takes an extra effort. We cannot go about doing mission with a “business as usual” attitude.
Just like it takes many parts to build an airplane, it takes a multitude of ways to build the Kingdom of God. Boeing must integrate steel, electronics, plastics, rubber, computers, industrial design for a single objective—the construction of an airplane. If we want to see
a church for every people, we must integrate Scripture translation, medical work, small business development, broadcasting, short term teams, relief and development, etc...
An integrated partnership, built on Kingdom principles, is the “ring” that keeps key ministries together. And many keys are needed to open the doors of the unreached peoples. There are several reasons why partnerships serve a strategic role in world evangelization. The Gospel is primarily a gospel of restored relationships. How can we as Christians claim credibility for our message if we don’t have restored relationships with one another?
If we are to invite people to join God’s family, we must come and act as a family of God. The medium is the message. The majority of the people in unreached peoples live in community-based cultures. Western individualism is both a distortion of the Gospel and an anomaly to the people we are trying to serve.
The ear is unique. But it can only reach its fullest potential when connected to the body. It would be foolish and utterly unproductive for the ear to claim independence from the rest of the body. But that is unfortunately what we Christians often do. Your gift and my gift can only be fully utilized and beneficial if it is connected with others. We must understand our interdependence. Only when different churches, agencies and ministries, relate to each other and coordinate their activities, will the full potential of each group be realized.
We are to take the whole gospel to the whole world. We need an holistic approach. That means, again, that we need one another—the Bible translator and the medical expert, the church planter and the businessman and more. We need to constantly seek to develop and improve our gifts and talents, in a sense to be competitive. At the same time, we must cooperate. There are well known examples of such collaboration in the secular business world. Boeing has already been mentioned. Many airlines have formed strategic alliances with other airlines. Another example is the recent alliance between Microsoft and Apple.
The Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Cooperation, Bill Gates, writes in his book, The Road Ahead: “It is increasingly important to be able to compete and cooperate at the same time, but that calls for a lot of maturity.”
World evangelization is too vast and involves too many complex issues for anyone to do it alone. We need to stand side by side. It is quite easy to adhere to unity and to profess the necessity of cooperation. But how do we actually do it?
Today there exist many strategic evangelism partnerships. Some cover a region, others a country or a people. They involve many denominations and para-church agencies, Koreans and South Africans, Baptists and Charismatics. These types of international, inclusive and integrated partnerships are found in many places in and around the 10/40 Window. More than 30 are in operation and more than 30 are in an emerging stage. These partnerships involve hundreds of different agencies from all over the world. There is a common purpose: To see the Kingdom established in a particular region, country and people group.
Partnerships don’t come easily or free. But you and others are invited to be a part of the existing partnerships and support the development of new ones. You can play an important role in these partnerships and in meeting the great challenge before us: a church for every people.