At our Members’ meeting In April the elders announced our intention to move into partnership with Advance, a church planting and strengthening movement of 120 churches around the globe. To that end we gave some key reasons why a small church like Reservoir would value partnership at this level and the importance of moving our mission and engagement within the kingdom beyond our four walls.
Over the next few months the elders will be sharing in person the reasons for this move to alignment with Advance. We will host several opportunities to ask questions and look forward to hearing from members of Reservoir. Please reach out to an elder or email all of them via firstname.lastname@example.org to convey questions or thoughts.
As we get rolling toward partnership, let’s be reminded of the reasons why outlined in April.
While the Lord has been very kind to us, and we have a good structure in place for any eventual difficulty in the church, we know we would greatly benefit from the accountability affiliation would allow. Truth is, pastors need pastors, and by taking this step we are availing the church with spiritual care and challenge.
We also recognize that as a small church there are holes in our abilities when it comes to leadership development and equipping of the Saints for ministry. A network could provide these resources, assisting us and lending expertise where we lack it by training and encouraging both our leaders and members of the congregation.
Beyond care and resourcing, it is multiplied impact that makes affiliation desirable. Where we can only do so much with a limited budget and vision for our ministries, the combined resources of many churches can move more quickly to plant churches and increase the worship of Christ across the globe.
Advance prioritizes planting and strengthening churches. In those areas where we desire help and multiplication Advance seems to flourish. Already in our relationship with churches in the region, we have seen a willingness to coach leaders and serve the church. As we desire to learn more and reform our church DNA into a planting church, Advance brings experience, training, and resources to bear in these efforts. And they have a record of equipping and sending church plants continuing the missional spread of the church.
And perhaps above all is the doctrinal alignment with Advance. While many churches or even networks maintain statements of being reformed and continuationist, Advance has evidenced a thorough pursuit of both. Churches are Jesus-centered, proclaiming the gospel as their great treasure, and they desire to see the Spirit move for the glory of Christ. This has been such an encouragement to our elders and what lends to the feeling of being “home” when we are with Advance church leaders.
Partner churches commit 3% of their budgets to Advance, so there is a financial commitment. If we determine as a church to affiliate we can expect that our weekly experience of being the church together won’t change all that much. We may, however, notice the benefit of equipping of our leaders, increased opportunities to interact with those seasoned in ministry (as through workshops and visiting preachers). And we will surely realize the shared mission of strengthening and planting churches in our efforts in San Diego and beyond.