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by Toronto City Partner, Luke McNeely of Stonegate Fellowship (Midland, TX)

For a college basketball fan, there is no better time of the year than March Madness. The excitement of the tournament is enough to motivate even the casual basketball fan to fill out a bracket. For the 64 teams who are invited to participate, win-loss records and athletic budgets no longer matter. It’s do or die. Win or go home. Fans sit in front of massive televisions hoping to witness an underdog knock off a front-runner. In the end, only one school comes out on top. There is only one champion. Even in a tournament full of the world’s best amateur basketball players, no single player can triumph alone. Every team knows that in order to be the best, each individual player must put the team above themselves so that together they can accomplish something special.

This same principle applies in all walks of life—political parties, non-profits and businesses are all more effective when people are willing to partner together for a common purpose. Strong partnerships enable organizations to bring their dreams into existence.

Partnerships are equally important to the body of Christ as we seek to make disciples of all nations. Throughout Philippians, we see a great example of the partnership between Paul and the church in Philippi. Paul not only thanks them for their partnership (Phil 1:5), but he encourages them to stand together, striving side by side (1:27), and to join in imitating the work he is doing (3:17, 4:9). Paul understands the importance of a partnership. He knows the potential impact if both sides are equally committed and work together.

Partnering allows us to extend our influence to areas where we previously had no access. I am on staff at a church in west Texas (Stonegate Fellowship), and we see daily how a partnership can extend our influence. Our church exists to see God completely transform lives. We work diligently, day in and day out, to see God transform lives in our cities. We are truly blessed that we have been able to see God do just that. Unfortunately, as a single church, our influence will never extend as far as we would like. Our heart’s desire is that God would completely transform lives on a global scale, but we are just one church. Can we really expect to have a global impact? Because of local, national and international partnerships with kingdom-minded Christ followers, we can! Our influence extends much farther than our little community in west Texas.

Through our partnerships with Toronto Church Planting, we get the benefit of mutual training, as we are able to gain wisdom and experience from the church planters we work with. We get to participate as the gospel is shared with people from all over the world who have migrated to the greater Toronto area. We get to celebrate as new churches are planted in areas that desperately need the gospel. We get to rejoice as we hear stories of God’s faithfulness. These are some of the reasons we value partnerships at Stonegate Fellowship. Most importantly, we value partnerships because we know that when Kingdom-minded Christ followers come together with one common purpose, God is glorified and life change is the result.

Partnering in Toronto will be a blessing for you, your church and the church plant…don’t miss this opportunity to be involved.  To learn more about joining in the partnership in Toronto, please connect with Brett Porter, Toronto Send City Missionary, here.