The Working Basis for Regional Gospel Partnerships
In addition to our shared doctrinal convictions, we share the following core ministry convictions that enable us to form and motivate us to commit to working partnerships in our regions:
1. That establishing, securing and growing healthy local churches is central to God’s saving purposes in the world.
2. That the verbal message of the gospel of Christ and him crucified is the only foundation and the essential means of growth and multiplication of healthy local churches.
3. That the Word of God (the Bible) must have a real, practical and ruling centrality in the daily life of the local church.
4. That biblical exposition is the primary ministry of the word which sustains and promotes all other forms of healthy ministry (including the full range of speaking and serving ministries).
5. That working regional partnerships between local churches (that transcend denominational and other divides on the basis of core doctrinal unity) are not only possible without sinful compromise, but positively valuable in advancing the gospel and growing the church.
Churches and their leaders are prepared to invest time, energy and money in regional gospel partnerships when they see the potential value of the partnerships for the progress of the gospel. Included in this is a recognition that the partnerships provide:
1. A means of sharing good practice in healthy gospel ministry in the regional contexts, including disseminating good practice from national and specialist bodies.
2. A means of cooperating (coordinating activities and sharing resources) in their gospel mission in the region (for example in training leaders, evangelism, and church planting).
3. A means of creating and sustaining ownership of responsibility for gospel advance in their regions.
4. A means of promoting and sustaining relationships of mutual support and accountability between leaders (and to some extent churches) that counter isolation and isolationism and help to keep people (and churches) going in healthy gospel ministry.
5. A means of affirming an identity that clarifies and communicates where churches and ministers stand and what they stand for within British Evangelicalism.
6. A means of demonstrating a visible and active unity between churches that commends the gospel before a watching world.
The extent and manner that these beneficial outcomes are realized will vary between gospel partnerships and change over time. Similarly, the extent to which different churches and church leaders contribute towards and benefit from these things will also vary within gospel partnerships. Not least this is because some of these things may be available to them from other networks to which they belong.
Nick McQuaker/May 2016