ALL ABOUT MINISTRY PARTNERSHIP AT THE PUBLIC CHURCH
Ministry Partnership is our language for membership, for belonging to the Public Church as your local church. We call it Ministry Partnership because we see belonging to a church as being just that: a frequently gathering, committed group of followers of Jesus, together on mission. The individual partners with a body of believers and the body of believers partners with the individual.
Formal commitment means you have through the official Ministry Partnership process: completed our online application, met with a Lead Team
Why become a ministry partner?
For the Good of Others in the Church
By becoming a ministry partner you accept responsibility for a group of fellow believers. By "just attending" you stand at a distance from the kind of commitment that accepts responsibility for a group of fellow believers. Hebrews 10:24-25 puts it this way, Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.
Part of what Ministry Partnership does is say, "I'm committed to encouraging a particular group of people week in and week out". Opportunity exists to lovingly work through difficulties, disagreement, and hardship when a commitment has been made. Depth is built through that. Lack of commitment makes leaving easy. Just like marriage. Someone who is married is still able to leave but the covenant made leads to a greater attempt to work through differences and see reconciliation take place.
Ministry Partnership, therefore, flies in the face of expressive individualism and our age of authenticity (defined as: above all, I must be true to myself and whatever I desire and feel inside I must do). Ministry Partnership is an antidote to that toxic societal norm. It swims against the current of consumer Christianity that only thinks of self.
Ministry Partnership speaks of sacrificial commitment to others and establishes a commitment where we can be counted on to be reliable and caring for others. It's committing to each other, to be there for each other when life is hard, when suffering comes, and to walk with each other week in and week out to encourage one another in the faith.
Your belonging to a local church is for the good of others in the church.
For Your Own Good
Just as your commitment to the church is for the investment and good of others, that same care and commitment from others towards yourself is a good thing for you.
The people who will care for you best are those who are willing to commit to you. And not only your close-knit (likely very similar to each other) friend group. But a diverse, multi-generational and cultural community of fellow believers committed to your good.
For example, someone older and coming from a different station in life may see your blind spots and support you in a way a close friend can't. Diverse, broad, committed community is important for your faith.
To paraphrase Galatians 6:1-2, as all are committed to restoring one another away from sin and towards Christlikeness with gentleness, you yourself become accountable to mature brothers and sisters in Christ. That culture creates spiritual growth and the New Testament places a major emphasis on the need for Christians to be accountable to each other for it.
Belonging to a local church is for your good.
For the Good of Your Leaders
In short, church leaders (Elders) are instructed to shepherd the flock that is among them (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2). The New Testament's use of the term flock always refers to a local church. The early church always understood who the flock was. Typically, the Christians in each city made up each local church. Now, two thousand years later, our cities are bigger and our church options are diverse. At least in our context.
So, practically speaking, who is it that Public's leaders are to shepherd? Any Christian in the Capital Region? Those who have attended Public Church once? Those who have introduced themselves to a pastor? Our practical method for knowing who the flock of God among us is that we are to shepherd are those who become Ministry Partners, and thereby declaring, "I'm in. This is my church family. I want to be a part of Public Church".
Your Ministry Partnership helps your leaders be more faithful shepherds.
For the Good of Those Outside of the Church
Making a commitment makes a powerful statement in a low-commitment culture. Most sports beer leagues and cell phone providers, not to mention Costco, require more of their members than our churches do. That should not be. In the midst of a consumer culture that is tailored to meet our felt needs and preferences, becoming a committed ministry partner in a local church makes a counter-cultural statement.
A committed community of people who love and invest in one another and a common mission of making disciples, pooling our resources, vibrantly flourishing in our varied gifts, is a powerful witness (Ephesians 3:8-10; 1 Peter 2:9-12; John 13:35). That contrast, if we commit to living as a contrasting community, shines a bright light to the watching world.
Your belonging to a local church is for the good of others outside of the church.
What is The Public Church's Vision, Mission?
Everything we do is to HELP PEOPLE CONNECT TO GOD AND OTHERS.
Our mission is to take our personal relationship with Jesus public by sharing His love with everyone, everywhere.
We live in a region and a world that is far from God and needs desperately to know Him. We are committed to doing whatever we can do to be within reach of people to reveal His love.
How does The Public Church do this?
For us here at The Public Church, discipleship is not just something we do, it’s who we are. We believe that when Jesus invited us into the amazing challenge to “go and make disciples,” He meant it.
When we say “discipleship” what we mean is an apprenticeship or being a student. It is the process of apprenticing under Jesus to be more like Him and teaching others to do the same.
We use three words to help us model the life of Jesus. Our strategy for discipleship starts with UP/IN/OUT. This is a lens we use through which to view our lives and church, and something we actively strive to live out. God is a god of relationships. His desire is not that we simply follow rules, but that we grow in intimacy with Him. When we look at the life of Jesus, we see His life lived out in three relationships, UP with His Father, IN with His chosen followers, and OUT with the world around Him. Here is how we as a church define UP/IN/OUT.
LOOK UP - Our relationship with God (Being worshipful)
As Jesus followers we start here, a place where identity is formed, and you learn to know God for yourself. To nurture our personal relationship with God, we need to have a practice of hearing from God through His Word, the Bible and respond in worship and prayer, stillness, sabbath, and other spiritual disciplines.
Remind our people often that the only way to become like Jesus is to prioritize being with Jesus daily. The most mundane, ordinary, and common spiritual practices like Bible reading, prayer, and life in transparent community are at the center of this. If a person remains in me and I remain in him, then he produces much fruit. But without me he can do nothing (John 15:5).
LEAN IN - Our relationship with Christians (Being relational)
Jesus invites us to not live life alone but to have those with whom we ‘do life together.’ This is where you grow and are shaped by community. This life-on-life growth is where discipling takes place. Specifically, these are relationships where you are authentic, open, and honest – where there are a few who know us really well so that we can be real with each other. Having a community to which we belong is vital, as is finding a way in which our particular gifts and skills can contribute to the service of the family of the church.
Encourage life together among the people of Jesus (LEANING IN) — the kind that leads to mutual support, the sharing of goods and space, confession and accountability, and participating in one another’s encouragement and character growth.
REACH OUT - Our relationship with unbelievers (Being missional)
Jesus never lost sight of His Father’s vision, to reach out to a lost world. That is the same vision God has for us: to reach OUT and love those around us into a relationship with him. We do this by having a missional zeal in all we do! Often this can be serving others, meeting needs, praying for those around you, knowing your neighbors, loving the poor, teaching, feeding, healing, and comforting. We hope we are then prepared to share what we know of His love and forgiveness and can invite others to know Him for themselves.
Our life in the world is meant to be an expression and extension of our worship. In other words, worship moves out from Sunday into our Monday through Saturday lives as well. As carriers of heaven’s DNA and the salt and light of Jesus in his world, we want to carry his grace, truth, and beauty into all of the places where we live, work, and play — primarily through:
· Parties. We want to live hospitable, life-giving, and celebratory lives by opening our church, homes, and lives in such a way that strangers become friends, and friends become family.
· Loving friends and neighbors well. We want to be intentional, thoughtful, and creative about being the ‘first responders’ wherever opportunities exist to extend the kindness, love, support, and hope of Jesus to people who are hurting, lonely and alone, and feeling ashamed. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. (Matt 22:39)
· Public forums and conversations (some church-sponsored and others in living rooms and public spaces) about things that matter to us and also to friends and neighbors who do not believe as we do. Subjects of common interest like sexuality, race and class concerns, family-related issues, the arts, politics, loneliness, and anxiety/depression are a few examples of subject matter. So if you eat, or if you drink, or if you do anything, do everything for the glory of God. (1 Cor 10:31)
The Partnership Commitment
A Partner in the mission of The Public Church is committed to:
1. Being a follower of Jesus Christ and believing the fundamental truths of the Bible.
- The Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:15-16)
- In one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son & Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 3:16,17; Mark 12:29)
- In the virgin birth, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 7:14; Romans 8:34; Acts 1:10-11)
- In the forgiveness of sin through Jesus (Isaiah 55:7; Romans 4:23-25; 2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
- In water baptism as a public declaration of faith in Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:19; Romans 6:3-5)
- In divine healing (Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:16-17; James 5:13, 14)
- In the power of the Holy Spirit to help us live a holy life (Hebrew 12:14; Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 15:8-9)
- In the second coming of Jesus Christ (Acts 24:15; Matthew 24:30,31; Revelation 20:11-15)
2. Regularly attend The Public Church.
3. Participate actively in church community life and serve in a ministry of The Public Church.
4. Regularly support The Public Church with your finances, understanding the biblical principles of tithes and offerings.
We believe that giving is an integral part of our relationship with God. It acknowledges God as the giver of everything we have (James 1:17). It reflects our trust that God will provide for us. It is our way of refusing to allow our possessions to consume or define us (Matthew 6:19-24). It allows us to be a part of His work here on Earth (2 Cor. 9:6-7). And it’s a way for us to follow through on what God has asked us to do (Malachi 3:8-12; Proverbs 3:9).
5. Strive to have a lifestyle and behavior that is aligned with biblical principles in a way that represents Jesus Christ and partnership with The Public Church (outlined in the Ministry Covenant):
- Be growing spiritually as evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit.
- Read your Bible regularly, and pray on your own and corporately.
- Refrain from acts or attitudes such as sexual conduct outside of biblical marriage, occult practices, dissensions, gossip, criminal activity, and abuse, or any other behavior that doesn’t align with biblical principles or would improperly represent Jesus Christ.
Participate in the life of the church or a Ministry Team. We want all of our Ministry Partners to be active in the life of the church. Therefore, the first step in Ministry Partnership is to become active in participating in church events or serving in a ministry position.
Submit your application. Please take your time reading through all the Partnership information before completing your application. Once you’re ready, you can submit your application online using the link found at the top of this page.
Meet with a Lead Team member. Your application will be forwarded to the Pastor or a Lead Team member who will meet with you to review the information and get to know you a little better.
Await confirmation. If you are not yet able to commit to the expectations of Ministry Partnership, (ie: you still need to commit to a ministry team, or you haven’t yet given financially), the Lead Team member will let you know how to get started and will return your application for you to resubmit once you can fulfill the expectation.
Once the board member confirms that you are committed to the expectations of a Ministry Partner, your application will be included in the next board meeting agenda for approval. Within a couple of weeks of the meeting, you can expect to receive a welcome email.
Recognizing that people’s situations change and that it’s easy to forget to update the church leadership on your new contact info or situation, The Public Church has a partnership renewal process in place. Aside from it being a method of accountability, it helps keep our quorum accurate at Annual Business Meetings and it keeps our records up to date for ongoing communication.
At the beginning of the new year, every Ministry Partner will be sent a simple renewal form. An online form will be sent to those who have an email address on file, and the rest will receive a form by mail. All you need to do is answer yes or no to the five statements, and submit them by the end of January. If your information and situation have stayed the same, so will your Ministry Partnership status. If you aren’t able to commit to one or more of the expectations, your Ministry Partnership will lapse, and you’ll be invited to chat with someone from the leadership team about your situation.
If you have questions about Ministry Partnership you can contact our Lead Team at email@example.com.