part·ner [ páartnər] noun (plural part·ners)… collaborator; an associate in an activity or endeavor or sphere of common interest.
The word “partner” continues to define a wide array of organizational connections and relationships. We think of an individual making partner in a law firm. I think of our spouse as my partner of 35 years. We think of business partners that help a company to grow and do well. We think of our vendors and supporter as partners in helping local congregational administrative leaders to be effective in their ministry.
At NACBA we are pleased to have a partner relationship with three other 501(c)(3) organizations that support the work of congregational ministry. This partner relationship will allow us to support each other in new ways and to introduce our network of influence to each other. These are not new organizations to our world, but we have worked to articulate better ways to affirm and support our mutual work. We hope if you do not already know them and use their resources and contributions you will spend time learning about the value they bring to our common task.
The Alban Institute is located in Herndon, Virginia. Alban’s mission is to build up congregations and their leaders to be agents of grace and transformation to shape and heal the world. Alban began more than thirty years ago as a major resource for American congregations facing the challenges of a changing society. With strong roots in mainline Protestantism and a central focus on congregations from the mainline denominations, Alban embodies the mainline’s specific interiority (the faith traditions of American Protestantism) and special openness—growing out of the biblical command to love one’s neighbor—to those who do not share fully its set of faith commitments. Today the opportunities have never been clearer for congregations to be vital communities of faith, health, and leadership. As an independent center for learning and collaboration, crossing boundaries of denominations and faiths, Alban is helping shape the strong congregations of tomorrow. Alban consultants and their outstanding educational opportunities are among the best resources for local congregations. For many years NACBA has been a reseller of Alban books. Their Congregations Magazine is always a helpful read and resource to administrative leaders.
Consultation and Education for Today’s Congregations
Before Neil Chafin, Dewey Hobbs and Roy Smith opened the doors to the Center for Congregational Health in 1992, struggling congregations had no where to turn for in-depth assistance. It was Chafin, then director of the North Carolina Baptist Hospital School of Pastoral Care Foundation in Winston-Salem, and Hobbs, director of the hospital’s Department of Pastoral Care, who prayerfully devised a plan for a ministry to faith communities. When they collaborated with Roy Smith, Secretary General of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, their vision took off.
Today the Center for Congregational Health provides ministry and/or training for hundreds of faith communities, lay leaders and clergy annually across the United States and in several foreign countries. It has trained thousands of interim ministers.
Key to the Center for Congregational Health’s success are our excellent staff, a commitment to creative thinking and continuous learning, and a passion for helping congregations and their leaders attain health and wholeness. These elements are undergirded by a trust that God has something wonderful in store for the Center and the faith communities whom we serve.
Christianity Today International (CTI), a not-for-profit communications ministry located in Carol Stream, Illinois., is committed to equipping local church leaders with trustworthy resources to faithfully manage their ministries. Evangelist Billy Graham started Christianity Today magazine in 1956, the same year NACBA started, with a focus on providing pastors with a strong, energetic voice for evangelical leadership. Today, CTI creates content and resources focused on serving the thought leaders and church leaders who are committed to building the global church. As the publisher of Richard Hammar’s Church Law & Tax Report and Church Finance Today, sister publications to Christianity Today and Leadership, Christianity Today International (CTI) is a significant contributor to the resources and educational needs of local congregations. It also publishes ChurchLawandTax.com, ChurchSafety.com, the annual Church & Clergy Tax Guide, the Compensation Handbook for Church Staff, the Essential Guide to Church Finances, the Essential Guide to Copyright Law for Churches, and Reducing the Risk: Keeping Your Ministry Safe From Child Sexual Abuse, all of which underscore the ministry’s ongoing commitment to contributing providing trustworthy, quality resources to administrative leaders in the local church.
NACBA has enjoyed a long relationship with Rich Hammar and now looks forward to even more opportunities to work with the full Christianity Today International team. Many of these resources can be purchased in the NACBA resource store at a discount to national members.
MinistryCOM is located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The organization seeks to provide recognition and support for ministry communications professionals. Their programs and conferences are designed to provide encouragement, education, resources and networking opportunities to communications professionals from churches and faith-based nonprofits. Although young, they are quickly networking with communications specialists to build a comprehensive offering of resources and training to the local church.
At this year’s national conference a number of the workshops are direct contributions of these partners. You will find in the Ledger exciting contributions by these partners. We are excited about the possibilities these new relationships will bring and look forward to learning and supporting each other. If you are not familiar with these groups make time to check them out, attend one of their workshops and introduce yourself. They are all here at the national conference. Like NACBA, they stand ready to support you in the work you are doing in local congregations.
The Columbia Partnership [TCP] is a Christian ministry organization that seeks to transform the capacity of the North American Church to pursue and sustain vital Christ-centered ministry. The ministry of TCP, a non-profit religious organization, focuses around five emphases: Coaching Leaders, Funding Ministry, Sharing Knowledge, Transforming Congregations, and Transforming Denominations.
Twelve ministry colleagues comprise the TCP Ministry Community. These twelve consultants/coaches have consulted/coached within more than 50 denominations throughout North America. A key relationship between TCP and NACBA has been with the Funding Ministry Team. Members of this team, led by Ruben Swint, have written for NACBA and spoken at NACBA events. Information about the services of this team is found at www.FundingMinistry.org.
TCP has a publishing venture with Chalice Press of St. Louis, and has released 24 books with half of them focusing on the area of Transforming Congregations. The most well-known of these books is Reaching People Under 40 While Keeping People Over 60 by Eddie Hammett and Randy Pierce. This book series may be found at www.ChalicePress.com.
To learn more about the ministry of The Columbia Partnership check out their web site at www.TheColumbiaParnership.org, send an e-mail to Client.Care@TheColumbiaPartnership.org, or call 803.622.0923.