I’m the sort of person who, when faced with the task of putting together flat-pack furniture, brazenly brushes aside the accompanying instruction sheet that clearly indicates a second or third set of hands will be necessary. Consequently, I’m also the sort of person who at best ends up with wobbly bookcases or, more frequently, sits fuming on the floor surrounded by bits of wood, screws and discarded Allen keys. You’d think I’d learn that my prideful self-sufficiency is misplaced when the task at hand is best suited for collaboration!

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”

(1 Corinthians 12:12)

As Christians, we have been called to be bold participants in the missio dei, God’s mission for the world. This great commission is not about personal initiative, but rather an invitation to be God’s partner in expressing His love in and for the world. To be partners in the gospel requires humility and prayerful discernment. It is God who empowers us to be present with others in need and to use our gifts in service.


Fellowship with Christ is fundamentally about living into the fullness of who God created us to be. Just as God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is relational, so too are we. The church, as the body of Christ, is blessed by diversity in purpose, context, and gifts. It is also interconnected, meaning that when one part of the body suffers, all parts suffer. It is for this reason that we simply cannot ignore brokenness, injustice, or pain whenever we see that in our local community or another part of the world.

Placing partnerships at the heart of mission is an acknowledgement of our relational and interdependent nature as human beings and the church. By recognising and appreciating the way God is at work in others, we learn more about our incredible Creator and even about ourselves. We can begin to see our calling in relation to others and discover how partnership can bring the diversity of gifts together for more intentional discipleship and impactful mission.

We are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”

(1 Corinthians 3:9)

For World Vision UK, partnership has become an intuitive way of theologically understanding what God calls us to be as an organisation and practically implementing what God has called us to do with others. Our founder prayed that his heart might be broken by those things that break the heart of God. As a global partnership working together, focused on those most impacted by the brokenness of our world, we seek to participate in mission as God’s fellow workers.

World Vision serves children, their families, and communities in the most fragile and difficult-to-reach contexts in the world. Our work is community-led, fully in partnership with local leaders who know the grassroots needs for economic security, nutrition and healthcare, safety in places of conflict, education, and more. Because we do not have all the specialised resources and expertise required to maximise human flourishing, we also partner with international, regional, and local organisations, numerous churches and other faith communities. Most importantly, we know that we are working as partners with those whom we serve to together discern God’s mission and bring about collective transformation.

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

(John 17:20 – 21)

Working with partners in any kind of mission and outreach – at local community level or globally – enables greater impact to be achieved and more people to be reached. Churches acting together fulfil the scriptural vision of the one diverse but unified body of Christ. Each part of the body brings its own gifts and strengths to the whole. The credibility of the gospel in this hurting world is strengthened when we respond to Jesus’ will that we all may be one. We do this every time we choose to see mission through the lens of partnership and not individual endeavours.

Reflecting on the ministry of your church or organisation, who are your partners? With whom might you develop partnerships? How could this help you have greater positive impact for the people or causes you have been called to serve? How could partnership teach you more about your fellowship with Christ? And how could learning from the gifts of other parts of the body of Christ teach you more about God?