Mission Asia: Practical Models in Mission Partnership

Author: Dr Patrick Fung, General Director of OMF International.


‘Partnership’ is a strong New Testament concept, and occurs in a number of contexts. James and John were ‘partners’ with the sons of Zebedee (Luke 5:10) and Paul can speak of ‘partnership in the gospel’ in Philippians 1:5. Biblical models of partnership include:
• Paul’s partnership with fellow-workers such as Prisca and Aquila (Romans 16:3) or Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25)
• Partnership with already planted churches (Philippians 1;5, 2
Corinthians 1;7) ‘…because of our fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now’
• Partnership with sending churches (Acts 13:1-3)
• Partnership in sharing support (Acts 20:34) ‘…supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions’
• Partnership with the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:9) ‘…for we are God’s fellow-workers’
• Partnership in suffering (2 Corinthians 1:7)’…as you share in our sufferings’.
Luis Bush has defined partnership as ‘an association of two or more autonomous bodies who have formed a trusting relationship, and fulfil agreed-upon expectations by sharing complementary strengths and resources, to reach their mutual goal’. [1]
The danger of this definition is that it refers only to a task-based relationship. The Biblical model speaks first and foremost of a oneness in Christ and is both a horizontal and a vertical relationship.

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