The “where” and “how” and “with whom” of mission is of God’s initiative, sovereign action, and redeeming grace.
As Presbyterians we do mission in partnership. With the maturing of the church and nations around the world, we have in recent decades sought to be more intentional in our mission through “partnership.” We understand Partnership in Mission to be that disciplined approach that assumes the goals can best be accomplished by joining hands with those who share a common vision. Partnership in mission involves two or more organizations who agree to submit themselves to a common task or goal — mutually receiving and giving and surrounded by prayer so that God’s work can be more faithfully accomplished.
Theologically and biblically, partnership is based upon the fundamental belief that God’s desire for the world is greater than any one church can possibly comprehend or envision. God’s purpose for us in mission is fulfilled as different and differing communities — Christian, secular and other faith communities-find common ground and are brought together in mutual submission and commitment to serve the people and world God created (Philippians 2:5-11).
In mission there must be an awareness that partnership demands all partners seek:
* to answer God’s call in mission, not serve our own needs by “doing good”;
* opportunities for initiatives in mission by any partner, not one-sided efforts;
* mutual respect, not paternalism;
* to be independent (self-propagating, self-supporting, self-governing) church partners with a mission vision, not dependent churches focused on survival;
* interdependent partnerships that are of benefit to all partners, not one-sided dependent relationships;
* mutuality, not one-way mission;
* opportunities and recognition for “the least of these,” not exploitation to the benefit of the more powerful;
* a growing web of partnerships, not exclusive sets or private domain;
* to move to action together in ecumenical partnership, not simply to establish an “ecumenical relationship”;
* to meet the holistic needs of churches and people(s), not serve narrow agendas;
* open dialogue, prophetic challenge and mediation of differences, not coercive or manipulative imposition of solutions;
* to honor the integrity of the church context, structures and social dynamics, not to subsidize another’s central church life nor exert undue pressure to change or conform; and
* we seek the day when Christ’s Church in all its diversity may show its unity for the sake of the gospel, not promoting or being content with division.