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Better together

In 1966, Peter Scholtes, a 30-year-old priest from Chicago’s South Side, penned a song that would later become known as the anthem of the Jesus Movement.

Based on John 13:35, the song ‘They Will Know We are Christians by Our Love’ connected young people who were disillusioned with the culture around them with their responsibility to participate in God’s Kingdom work together.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a partner as ‘someone who participates in an activity or game with another person. ‘Partnership’ therefore occurs when two or more people come together in order to accomplish something that they couldn’t achieve alone.

It reminds me of the old adage which says that a team of horses can pull more weight collectively than the same number of animals can pull individually.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 tells us that two are better than one and, in Luke 10, we see Jesus send His disciples out in groups of two. In Exodus 17:8-15, we read how Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands as he prayed, which in turn enabled Joshua and the Israelites to overcome their enemies.

As believers, we are called to partner with Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9) and with one another (1 John 1:3) to see God’s Kingdom come. Everyone brings their own individual skills and giftings to the mix.

The apostle Paul illustrates this in Romans 12:4-5: ‘A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use. That’s how it is with us. There are many of us, but we each are part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another’ (CEV).


If we are thinking about the body, perhaps a more connective term for partnership is ‘collaboration’. When we collaborate, we are purposely co-operating with others.

MAF’s integrated ministry is a collaboration with some 1,400 organisations to help bring help, hope and healing to remote and isolated communities across the world.

It is through this collaboration that those who are in desperate need can experience what is known as the ‘Five Marks of Mission’ — ‘marks’ which were first developed by the Anglican Consultative Council in 1984.

I’ve paraphrased them below:
• To hear the Good News of the Kingdom (evangelism)
• To be taught, baptised and nurtured as new believers (teaching/discipleship)
• To have our human needs met by loving service (compassion)
• To have advocates seeking the transformation of unjust structures in society and to challenge violence of every kind — pursuing peace and reconciliation (justice)
• To experience support in safeguarding the integrity of creation and the sustainment of all life on earth (care for creation).


Based on the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), these five marks of mission reveal God’s love and missionary heart for all of His creation. They show that partnership goes beyond ‘us and Him’ or ‘you and me’.

According to Christian author Vinoth Ramachandra, the verses also highlight the ‘being’ and the ‘doing’, the ‘spiritual’ and the ‘physical’, the ‘individual’ and the ‘social’, ‘justice’ and ‘mercy’, ‘preaching truth’ and ‘practising the truth’.

Jesus made a way for us to be reconciled to Him (John 3:16), and He invites us to partner with Him — and others — to share that redemption through our evangelism and social involvement.

This invite extends beyond organisations such as MAF — it is also for you!

As you embrace the call to ‘love your neighbour’ in a time where polarisation seems at an all-time high, consider the marks of mission mentioned above and try to do all you can to collaborate with other believers, celebrating what others can contribute. Remember, we are better together.

And let’s pray that, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we will be as one, just as Jesus and the Father are one (John 17:22). By doing so, we’ll bring glory to the Father and be a witness to others.

May they know we are Christians by our love.


Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 illustrates the strength and benefit of partnering with others. What does partnership look like in your life? Would anyone observing you know that you are Christian by your love? What steps can you take to intentionally collaborate with others to see God’s Kingdom break forth here on earth?

Unity within the body is often contested and isn’t easy. Too often, there seems to be a ‘scarcity mindset’, with people and organisations afraid that — in partnering with others — they might somehow ‘lose out’.

Differences around theology and expressions of worship can also prevent us from stepping over the denominational line to stand alongside other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Take a moment to reflect on any barriers you might be experiencing that are hindering any partnerships for God’s Kingdom. Apologise to Jesus for any way you might have avoided partnering with other believers because of cultural or theological differences, or the fear of losing out.

Ask the Holy Spirit to open a door of opportunity for you to partner with others in prayer and service, extending your reach and effectiveness as you show others the goodness of God.