When churches in a geographical region choose to affirm a shared identity and strategically collaborate for gospel mission, there are many benefits that may result. In this article, we consider a few of the most foundational benefits:
One the one hand, regional groups of churches can greatly benefit from sharing resources of all kinds, as Paul instructed the Galatians to do. (Gal. 6:10) The kinds of support that existed between churches in the New Testament is articulated well on the main website of Advance Movement:
“In the past, partnership happened between individuals and churches, and churches and churches. They helped each other out in terms of doctrine and practice (Acts 8:14-25; Gal. 3), they relocated leaders to strengthen other situations (Acts 11:19-23, 25-26, 12:25, 16:1-3), they sent individuals and teams on short-term strengthening visits (Acts 11:27, 19:21-22; 1 Cor. 4:15-17; Phil. 2:19-29; 2 Tim. 1:18), they sent money to help each other and bless the wider society (Acts 11:28-30), and they helped advance the gospel together and plant churches (Rom. 15:24; 2 Cor. 10:15-16).”
The evidence of this kind of collaboration is evident all over the pages of the New Testament. When churches in a particular geographic region take on a sense of shared identity and mutual responsibility as a group, resourcing opportunities for all involved are exponentially increased.
In addition to resourcing, relationships are another natural outworking of intentional regional church identification and collaboration. In this author’s network of churches (Calvary Global Network/CGN), one of the most common struggles voiced by cross-cultural gospel workers is the routine experience of isolation and a sense of loneliness. This is common in the community of cross-cultural missions workers outside of CGN as well. As one author described, church planters around the world are starving for, “relational, spiritual, and intellectual support.” Though it is admittedly not always possible to adequately meet these needs in every way, these kinds of legitimate hardships that missionaries face can be helped if the missionaries themselves are part of meaningful regional church partnerships.
Another strategic benefit of intentionally identifying and collaborating as a regional expression of the church is mutual coaching. The Vineyard family of churches reports this outcome of their approach to regional church partnerships, which they call, Triad: “Together, they flesh out vision, set specific goals, identify shared resources and coach each other.”
Accountability & Encouragement
Regional church thinking promotes relationship, and relationship is a source of accountability and encouragement. Individuals in the body of Christ are designed to depend on the edification of the Holy Spirit as it is received through other Spirit-gifted Christians. (1 Cor. 12:7) The more intentional Christians and churches are about collaborating and identifying with each other, the more opportunity there is to receive the nourishing work of the Holy Spirit for all involved. Again, these are the kinds of dynamics that can be exponentially increased through intentional identification and collaboration in regional expressions of the church.
What about You?
way of application, what would happen if churches in your area would band
together regionally to overtly model this kind of unity, which is so absent in
culture at large? One wonders how the kingdom impact of the church might be
expanded across the nations.
 Advance Movement. Partnership. http://www.advancemovement.com/about/2-the-power-of-partnership/
 Botsian, Will. How Churches can Partner to Reach the Nations. June, 2018.https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/churches-partner-reach-nations/
 Multiply Vineyard. Church Planting Partnerships: What is a Church Planting Triad?. https://vineyard-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/MV-Partnerships.pdf