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Part 6: Becoming a Partner Church

04.23.15 | Advance Global | by PJ Smyth

    Becoming a Partner Church

    A church will be ready for partnership when there is sufficient alignment with the four aspects of partnership (doctrine and values, shared mission, genuine relationship, recognized leadership) and a genuine desire to align in aspects that are not yet sufficiently aligned. Here are some helpful questions for eldership teams to work through and discuss with an Advance leader:

    Doctrine and Values 

    1. Are we comfortable with the Statement of Faith and Values of Partner Churches in Document 4 Doctrine and Values 
    1. Are there any doctrines or values where we are not aligned?
    1. Are we willing to re-align? 
    1. What steps can we take to align?

    Shared Mission

    In terms of planting churches, are we willing to: 

    1. Take responsibility as a local church for this great endeavor, working strategically with Advance? 
    1. Work to recognise, raise up and release planters?
    1. Promote and participate in Advance training and gatherings?
    1. Promote Advance resources in and beyond our church?
    1. Contribute through finances and prayer?

    In terms of strengthening churches, are we willing to: 

    1. Be shaped in terms of eldership, doctrine and values?
    1. Help strengthen other churches?
    1. Promote and participate in Advance training and gatherings? 
    1. Promote Advance resources in and beyond our church?
    1. Contribute through finances and prayer?

    Genuine Relationships

    1. Do we feel sufficiently relationally connected with Advance leaders, and other partner church leaders?
    1. Are we eager to deepen and widen relationships within the Advance family?

    Recognised Leadership

    Are we comfortable following the Advance leaders, within the bounds of our mutual submission to Christ?


    1. Do we believe that God is connecting us to Advance? 
    1. Do we have a sense of faith and excitement about this partnership?
    1. Is our eldership team fully convinced? 
    1. Is our congregation aware and supportive?
    1. Are we able to trust God for Rom 1:11-12 style reciprocity in partnership?

    2. What other networks or denominations are we part of? Would those be in conflict in anyway with this one?

    Frequently Asked Questions 

      1. How do we work through alignment issues? In a brotherly, relationally way.
      1. Is becoming a partner church a moment or a process? Both. Relational connection and alignment takes time, but there will come a moment when both parties acknowledge their mutual conviction about our partnership. 
      1. Do we sign anything when we become a partner church? No, but it is mutually agreed and publically spoken about. A letter can be provided if a church requires that for constitutional or legal purposes.
      1. How does a church leave Advance? By notifying Advance in writing, although in keeping with our relational ethos, that would no doubt be right at the end of brotherly face-to-face discussions.
      1. How can a church be removed from Advance? Imagining a worst-case scenario where a church needs to be removed from partnership, Advance would notify the church in writing. In keeping with our relational ethos, that would no doubt be right at the end of brotherly face-to-face discussions. 
      1. What levels of connection are there with Advance other than partnership? A church might walk with us for a season, whether to explore partnership or simply to glean. We could refer to this as an engaging church. Then, churches might collaborate with an Advance initiative in an ad hoc way for certain events or projects such as a social action project in a city. We could refer to these as neighbourghly connections.
      1. Can a partner church also partner with another group? Certainly, although probably not in the sense that we are using the word “partnership”, i.e. referring to a primary relationship. But there is room for secondary connections. Think of partnership with Advance as primary but not exclusive. 
      1. How many visits will a partner church receive?  Firstly, it depends on the needs of the church.Churches without elders, or in crisis, or in transition, will need more input. Secondly, it depends on the ability of the church to receive input through other vehicles. Churches need be able to receive at Advance gatherings (2 Tim 2:2) and through resources. Thirdly, it depends on the availability of people and financial resources. Fourthly, it depends on the size and effectiveness of the hub.
      Where to now?

    Continue the journey towards partnership with your Hub Leader by going to your nation's page, your Hub Leader's contact information will be there.