Last week we hosted the Indigitous Session “Get Off Your Island” with Arjo de Vroome of Jesus.net. During the informative webinar, Arjo shared key principles of strong ministry partnerships, how to build new partnerships, and how to grow existing partnerships. He also gave two practical next steps that you can take right now (you’ve done your homework, right?):
1. Think of one or two steps that would take you towards either new partnerships or strengthening existing partnerships.
2. Identify which principle resonates with you the most and which principle motivates you the most toward a specific action point to “get off your island.”
If you haven’t viewed the entire Session – either live or by watching the YouTube video – we strongly encourage you to do so. However, for this post I’m going to share the 10 key principles for strong Kingdom partnerships that Arjo talked about:
It’s not your kingdom; it’s His Kingdom.
Keep the focus on God. Find out where God is at work and seek to join Him in that work. “At the end of the day, it’s God who’s working 24/7,” Arjo says. “We should be seeking not to build our own kingdom, but we should be first seeking God’s Kingdom.”
Look for ways to complement each other.
Finding ways in which you compliment a potential partner will help you avoid duplicating efforts, help both parties fill gaps where they are lacking, and more. An effective partnership will make each party stronger.
Work on the basis of trust and accountability.
You must have a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, and strength” of your partner. At the same time, both parties have to be able to take responsibility for their parts of the partnership.
Ensure you have compatible DNA.
Just as God designed people with unique DNA, each organization has a fundamental makeup that defines it. Before partnering with an organization, make sure your DNA is compatible.
Be transparent about your motives and expectations.
If you don’t share the same motivations, it won’t be a strong partnership even if you are otherwise compatible. Likewise, if your expectations are different, you will become frustrated by the results as well as steps taken to achieve those results. Being up front will reduce conflict and determine whether expectations are reasonable.
Define a common dream, set goals, and measure outcomes.
What does success mean for your partnership? How will you know when you have achieved success or when you need to try something new? Defining what you want to accomplish, setting realistic and measurable goals, and then measuring those outcomes help you determine whether you are making progress.
Operate on the basis of WHY, HOW, and WHAT.
Why do you want to work together? Why are you on Earth? Why do you get out of bed every morning? How do you progress? How do you move forward and work together? What are the practical things that you should be doing? Answering those questions will help you build a solid foundation for Kingdom partnerships.
Deal with problems while they are small.
Remember when you were a kid how your parents always told you that if you cleaned up your room regularly instead of waiting until it got out of hand, it would be a lot easier? The same can be said for problems with your Kingdom partnership. Problems that start small will end up much bigger and more difficult if left unaddressed.
Have crucial conversations when needed.
Often times we avoid crucial conversations because we want to avoid conflict, and as Christians, we feel that we should avoid them in order to be nice. “Don’t sweep them under the rug,” Arjo says. “Dealing with them will help you more forward as a ministry and strengthen your relationships with other partner ministries in the future.”
Have a sense of urgency.
“There is a world to save out there,” Arjo says. “There are a lot of people out there who don’t know Jesus yet.” Take action and never forget how important your mission is.