“Better together” is a phrase that is growing in popularity. While it is sometimes attached to agendas we might disagree with, the thought behind it is biblical. In fact, we can find this thought in several passages of Scripture. One of the more well-known passages is Ecclesiastes 4:9–12. This passage reminds us that two are better than one because they have a greater return for their labor, and a cord of three strands is not easily broken. In other words – we are better together.
Here are five simple reasons to network with other churches to advance the gospel, the most important message we will ever deliver.
There are plenty of examples in Scripture where we see people praying together. Acts 2:42–47 is one of my favorites. These new believers “devoted” themselves to praying together. There is nothing that tells us specifically what they prayed for, but I think the results give us some indication: “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” This seems to indicate they were praying specifically for the advancement of the gospel. The early church found praying together to be important. Praying together unites us for a common cause, and God has chosen to work through our prayers. Get involved with a network that prays with a specific focus on advancing the gospel.
We can often feel alone as Christians, but those of us in ministry can be even lonelier. Scripture regularly instructs us to encourage one another, and Hebrews 10:25 is one such passage. Sharing our faith and trying to encourage our students to do the same can be discouraging. The Hebrews passage reminds us to encourage, or exhort, one another. We can and should help each other keep moving forward in our effort to share the gospel. The Ecclesiastes 4 passage referenced earlier makes it clear that if one of us falls, another can help us up; you’re in trouble if you fall and there is no one to help you up. Getting together can help all of us stand strong.
I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by a great group of people who help generate ideas for ministry. Creativity is not one of my strengths. When we get together as a group, however, we can effectively brainstorm. We not only come up with new ideas on how to spread the gospel, but we also improve on ideas we already have. You may be extremely creative, but none of us have all the ideas or the best ways to implement them. Together, we can generate great ideas to advance the gospel.
Have you ever brought your students back from a camp or conference and seen them on fire for God? You ask them what the speaker said that impacted them, and they inevitably reply with a message you’ve been telling them for years. What’s the difference? Sometimes, this happens because someone conveys the message differently or students are in an environment where they’re more ready to listen. Or maybe it’s simply because the Holy Spirit chooses that time to work. We may not know why these special events produce lasting impact, but it’s a good reason to let our students hear another voice. Networking can bring you that voice.
There are many advantages to serving together. The ability to share resources, gifts and talents is a huge benefit. However, one thing that may be overlooked is the opportunity to be an example of unity to our students. Psalm 133:1 reminds us of how good it is when God’s people dwell in unity.
Our students often hear messages of how the church is divisive. Sadly, that is sometimes what they see in our churches. But when our students see different churches, unique in some ways but united by their core beliefs, coming together for the cause of the gospel – that is a great example.
Let me encourage you to find a network of believers who are focused on advancing the gospel – and then, get involved.
Steve Oswald is the regional coordinator of the Midwest region for Word of Life Youth Ministries. He and his wife, Sue, live in Ohio, and have been serving with Word of Life for nearly 25 years.