We all probably know the story how a small, young David killed the large, powerful Goliath. We look at this from the competitive aspect of the story. The good guys vs the bad guys, which is how it was then, but let me throw a spin on this familiar story.
Let’s look at David as the “small/medium” church/club and Goliath as the “large/mega” church/club. Frequently they “battle” each other looking to increase their numbers and grow their ministries. Seldom may they work together. Though they have a common goal, they treat each other as competitors. The “Goliath” may look down upon “David” and wonder what is wrong with them, why aren’t they growing? Likewise, “David” may look up at “Goliath” enviously and wonder why they aren’t being blessed in the same way.
So what would happen if David and Goliath worked together? One reason that I like Awana so much is because it breaks down denominational, and other, barriers among believers/churches. I am in a “David” (small) church and I strongly believe in partnering with other churches in ministry to more effectively reach children for Christ. While you may think that requires us to partner with larger churches, that is not always the case. For a summer camp, we currently partner with three other larger churches in the area. We are the “small” church, yet equal, and working together to run a quality camp for kids. I am commited to the camp, no matter how many children our church may have attending. Over the last few years, this has proven to be a valuable partnership. There we joined with Goliath Churches, following their lead.
Other partnerships are with another smaller church for VBS and then this year, we partnered with a larger church and brought Awana to them. “David” is running the club for this “Goliath” (not mega, but larger than us) church!! Not that we’ve slayed them, but partnered with them to reach children and it has been a blessing to both churches.
Now, here is an irony that I love to share. I was a member of a large church (600 – 800 people). One year, the Worship pastor and a few others went to visit a mega church in the area to see how they ran a contemporary service, trying to prepare for the next level for the church. About the same time, I also went to this same church, not to learn, but to assist them in running their first Awana Grand Prix – which they still run today. Now, I really don’t know if the worship team talked to anyone there, or just went and experienced the service, but the point of this is that whether another church is bigger or smaller, we can (and should) work together for the Kingdom and learn from each other. We should not be in competition with each other – except Bible Quizzing and AwanaGames – but rather, working together as able. As we work together, I truly believe that God will do great things through those partnerships. I experience it frequently.
So what do you think? Have you worked with other churches to reach the community? If not, why not, and if you do, how have you done it and how has it worked?