Church Collaboration

How Congregations Can Work Together for Mission

Option 7. Church-to-Church Partnerships

What are church-to-church partnerships?

A hundred years ago Messiah Lutheran Church was started by immigrants from Sweden who lived in the neighborhoods just south of downtown Minneapolis. Messiah grew rapidly and became strong enough to plant a new church, St. Stephen's in the suburb of Bloomington. During the baby boom years Bloomington grew rapidly while Messiah's neighborhood evolved into the troubled "inner city". It didn't take long for St. Stephen's became bigger and more prosperous than its mother church. Several years ago St. Stephen's and Messiah became partners again. St. Stephen's provides volunteers and funds to help with Messiah's programs for the low income people in its neighborhood. For several years St. Stephens funded the jazz musicians who played at a second service each Sunday at Messiah. In turn, Messiah helped the suburban members of St. Stephen's understand the diverse cultures in the city and provided opportunities for St. Stephen's adults and youth to learn and serve.

There is an interesting side note to the story of Messiah. In early 2009 Messiah became a "church without walls." It moved from its long-time building to a nearby multiuse building called "Center for Changing Lives."

There are dozens of examples like this in almost every city. Members develop rewarding personal relationships and better understandings. The "giving" church enjoys the rewards that come from serving, and the "receiving" church gains much-needed resources to serve its neighborhood.

Share your resources and inspiring case studies

ChurchFuture has not had direct experience with church-to-church partnerships and, so far, we haven't been able to identify other resources that might be helpful. Please let us know of any good books or articles on the subject--or write an article based on your experience. See the Contact Us page.

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