What partnerships do you have in your ministry? How are these partnerships challenging you to live out the mission of your ministry and the mission of the Church?
The theme of last week's Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers (ECCC) gathering was "Pathways to Partnerships." Partnerships are critical to the life and mission of our ministries. Without the help of others, we are alone in our work and become overwhelmed. Working with others under a common mission is crucial to our ministries' survival.
The idea of missional partnership was at the heart of Bishop Brian Prior's keynote during the Wednesday morning session. This session was special because not only were ECCC members sitting in the chapel at Camp Allen, but members of Forma were there, too. Coming together for this day of Episcopal Partnership, we were all challenged to partner in a common mission, all while forming the faith of all God's people in our ministry contexts.
What is this common mission? Bishop Prior (from the Episcopal Church in Minnesota) told us these three things:
- We need to help people understand that they are uniquely created in the image of God.
- We need to help people understand that they are uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit.
- We need to help people use their gifts to follow in the way of Jesus and engage in God's mission.
Then, when we come together under these three things, we can form missional, innovative partnerships to carry out these ideas within the Body of Christ.
What are missional, innovative partnerships? According to Bishop Prior, it is through mission that we engage and send out individuals and families into the world, knowing God's love and equipping them to use their gifts in mission and service. Through innovation, we imagine, implement, and reimagine ideas, programs, and practices that engage people in our mission and purpose. Through partnerships we move out of the "silos" that keep us isolated in our ministries and use the unique gifts of our communities in order to partner as communities of faith, united in a common mission. These partnerships bring us together as we work to proclaim the Gospel of God's love and grace for all people.
What missional, innovative partnerships do you have in your ministry context? Perhaps you partner with other parishes in your area for youth events. Perhaps you partner with a network like Forma for resources or networking. Perhaps you even partner with us at the Diocese of Pennsylvania by using our events and resources to further your ministry with children, youth, young adults, and families. No matter the partnership, we all come together as one Church to proclaim the good news of Jesus in everything we do.
At the end of his session, Bishop Prior challenged both ECCC and Forma to strengthen the partnership between both organizations. Together we were encouraged to partner with each other so that together we can help people know and understand that they are lived, gifted, called, and sent.
May we all form and engage in one common mission. May we all strive to create missional, innovative partnerships in each of our ministries. May we all work together to show God's love, grace, and hope in the world.