Partnership, You Can Count On Me!

When it comes to Turning Point Church, I've heard you guys begin to talk about partnership rather than membership.  What's that about? (check out our last blog if you didn't get a chance.  This will connect a few dots to this conversation.).  

Let's start with the idea of membership.  Membership at its heart says, 'what do I get for belonging?  What are my rights?  Certainly that is our approach in our HOA's, getting a Netflix account or belonging to the local gym.  Right?  Membership says, 'I'll give you this, and you do this in return for me.'   It works for me when it comes to my Starbucks membership. But that begs the question.  Should that be how the church operates?  Is that mentality that Jesus gave his life for?

Instead, what if being a part of the local church was seen as being a part of something bigger than myself? What if we looked at it as a way of giving myself away rather than getting for myself?  What if we approached it as a partnership?  Consider these words that Paul wrote to the early church.    

I thank my God ever time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now..
— Philippians 1:3-5

Paul was thanking them for their partnership in the gospel!  (You can read the rest of Paul says here in Philippians and this passage in Philemon is great as well).  

What is clear is that Paul was grateful for their partnership.  Now, I don't think any of us are naive enough to think the early church was perfect.  It wasn't!  All you have to do is read the rest of the New Testament to see what challenges they were faced with.  But clearly, there are some things they nailed!  Paul was grateful for their partnering in spreading the good news.  They clearly fed the hungry and cared for their communities. They valued one another and stuck together.  They lived out the love of Jesus with boldness often at the risk of their own lives.    

Which brings me to this big question.  What is the difference between membership and partnership in the local church today?  How about commitment?    When I'm a partner in the local church I'm committed no matter what.    I'm committed to seeing the vision succeed.  I'm committed to resolve conflict rather than run. I'm committed to playing my part in spreading the gospel.  I'm committed to attending and serving when I don't feel like it (yes, we ALL have those days).  Commitment says, 'I'm here.  Count me in!'   

What about this word?  Responsibility!  When I am a partner, I carry the responsibility of the local church with me personally.  I want to see it succeed so I will do what it takes.  I want to see the gospel reach people so I'm engaged.  I'm praying!  I'm serving.  I'm doing.  I'm feeling the 'pressure' of what it takes to point people to Jesus because it is an eternal decision.  Responsibility says, "I'll do my part no matter what."  

When I think of partnership, I think of sports.  That's the way that I'm wired.  When we are playing a game of hoops, I want to know who is on my team.  You would too.  Who is going to give their all?  Who is going to come in when one of the guys rolls an ankle?  Who is going to defend the rest of the team if some guy gives a cheap shot?  Who wants to give everything?  Who is going to hang in there when we are winning and when we are getting smoked?  Who wants to win?  That is partnership!  That is the joy of sports!!!

Which brings us to this conclusion.  Why can't the church be that kind of place?  Why can't it be those kinds of people?  Why can't it have that kind of focus?  It can!     

I want Turning Point to be that kind of church!  I want us to be a group of Christ followers that can, in spite of our differences, look at each other and say, 'you can count on me'!    

The question then rests as this.  Do you see yourself as a member or a partner?

Till next time.  


Join us for our first partnership class on June 5th. Details are here.  




Steve GillComment