Are You Helping Or Partnering With Your Church?
I want to use the following illustration to distinguish the difference between helping and partnership.
Just about everyone can relate to moving from one house or apartment to another.
When a person moves they try to enlist helpers. Many times, different people can help for different amounts of time, depending on their schedules. One might be able to help for one hour, another for three, etc. When you’re moving you’re thankful for whatever help you can get, because the more help you get, the better it usually goes.
A helper works for a set amount of time, sometimes under certain conditions (“I’ll help if there’s donuts there.”), and then leaves. If after all the helpers leave, there is still more to move, the home owner/renter has to finish on his own.
If you’ve ever moved you can probably relate to this.
But have you ever had partnership during a move?
Partnership is different from helping.
Partnership commits to keep working as long as the home owner/renter keeps working – sometimes longer. Partnership doesn’t give a time limit.
Partnership takes the same responsibility as the home owner/renter. A partner doesn’t have conditions because he knows that the mover doesn’t have conditions. He knows that whether it rains or shines, whether there’s help or not, donuts or not, he has to get all the stuff from one house to another by the end of the day.
A partner stays after everyone else leaves. A partner isn’t concerned with the clock; he’s concerned with finishing. A partner is setting up beds after everything is moved because he knows how tired the home owner/renter is and he doesn’t want him to have to do it alone.
Partnership doesn’t let someone do it alone.
Now I want to relate this to the church.
The church, at least in America, has very many consumers, some helpers, but few partners.
- Helpers use they’re gifts when it’s convenient for them. Partners use their gifts whenever they can, regardless of whether it’s convenient or not.
- Helpers help when asked or if signed up for something. Partners are always looking for opportunities to help out.
- Helpers help when they’re around but make out of town plans with little or no regard to how or if it will affect the church they’re apart of. Partners check to see what’s going on during the time of the planned trip and ask the question of whether or not it’s a good time to be away from the church.
- Helpers only believe they’re presence matters at a gathering or meeting when they are signed up to do some help, otherwise they believe that they’re presence doesn’t matter. Partners see themselves as part of a body where every part matters and their presence is important.
- Helpers only give money if there is some left over after coffee, restaurants, movies, trips, and debt payments. Partners give first before all other expenses.
- Helpers fulfill tasks regardless of relationships. Partners fulfill tasks because of relationships.
- Helpers show up as long as something else doesn’t come up. Partners refuse to do things on nights that they’re committed to being with the church. Instead they ask if they can do what they’re being asked to do, another night.
- Helpers minister to others at planned events and church meetings. Partners minister to others whenever they get the chance, regardless of whether it was officially planned or part of an event.
- Helpers serve in the nursery because it’s their week to do it. Partners serve in the nursery because kids are important and because they value parents being able to hear the word of God preached without distraction.
- Helpers come to prayer meetings. Partners come to prayer meetings with faith and expectation.
- Helpers show up, but not necessarily on time. Partners are on time or early so that they can do what needs to be done and so that they don’t miss anything.
- Helpers give money sometimes. Partners give money regularly and are inquisitive about the state of the church’s finances, so that they can take care of needs.
- Helpers help when they’re not tired or frustrated. Partners help even when they are tired or frustrated.
Are you helping or partnering with your church?
(Image Credit: Scott Vandehey)
About Josh Christophersen
Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.