partneringThis is the first in a 3 Part series on Partnering For A Change by Glen Forsberg. We will complete this series over the following 2 Thursdays. This series is taken from a message that was given on the opening day of the 2006 FCA International Convention in Monterrey, Mexico.
The oil bonanza in our region of Canada is a modern-day economic wonder. In the mid-twentieth century, Premier Ernest C. Manning of the province of Alberta and President Howard Pew of the Sun Oil Company in the United States entered into a partnership to extract billions of barrels of oil from the sands of northern Canada. Both were men of Christian faith. This rare partnership between government and private industry resulted in the successful mining of the Athabasca Oil Sands, which is now attracting huge investments of finance, innovation, and manpower from all over the world. Everywhere you go these days around our city, you feel the pulsating throb of heavy industry.

But back at the beginning, many frowned upon such a partnership and warned of the possible risks for future generations. These two leaders saw possibilities greater than the risks. The partnership venture has resulted in the economically viable extraction process of a natural resource that may serve the world for more than two hundred years. The key was visionary partnership.

This illustration from the business world has a message for us today. Governments, companies, nations, culture, values, and perspectives are changing due to something we call globalization. Technology has made this a reality. Independence and provincialism are nearly impossible in today’s world.

Whether we realize it or not, the changing face of our world is changing the methods of even our churches and our Fellowship. The question is whether we will simply respond to change, or initiate it.

The valuable resource of God’s priceless humanity is awaiting release from the sticky sands of secularism. People are God’s highest creation and have been given God’s greatest priority. In order for the power and beauty of God’s resource to be realized, partnership between God and his human servants is a must.

A Bold and Necessary Venture
I firmly believe the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies needs to grow in new dimensions of partnership. I am not talking about faith without creed, or a pitch for syncretism. I am talking about an attempt to understand the heart of the God of the Prophets and the Christ of the New Testament. One of God’s great leaders mentioned that he always prayed with joy over the Philippian believers “because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:5).

God is stretching us these days in ways that align with his kingdom goals. During the summer of 2005, a spiritual revival visited the “First Nations” people of northern Saskatchewan. The time was right, the people were ready. Evangelist Mark Ramshaw and associates have ministered in these northern regions for years. Now God came in power and glory to touch the hearts and lives of hundreds of people.

In several communities, gospel preaching was accompanied by signs and wonders. Cancers disappeared, ears were opened, canes and wheelchairs were abandoned. God got the attention of people he loves. Scores of people confessed Christ as Savior in many villages and towns.

That winter, a carload of people from this revival traveled several hundred kilometers over snowy roads to be baptized at our church in Alberta. Through modern technology and personal mentoring, potential Christian leaders are beginning to be trained in their own communities. Many believe that a new partnership is forming in our nation among the various ethnic groups.

But, Can Siblings Get Along?
For some reason, Christians often welcome partnership with God while, at the same time, resisting partnerships with his people. “Sibling partnership” often causes problems among us. We are like the children on Art Linkletter’s old show, “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” who were often terribly honest. Here are a couple of their prayers:

“Dear God, thank you for the baby brother. But what I prayed for was a puppy.” Signed, Joyce

If the truth were told, many times we have prayed for puppies, but God gave us babies instead. What we really wanted was a new pet, a new project, or a new venture of some sort that we could easily control. God gave us a living baby that requires ongoing attention and care.

Another prayer: “Dear God, maybe Cain and Abel wouldn’t have killed each other so much if they’d had their own rooms. It works with my brother.” Signed, Larry

So insightful! It seems that we humans have a desire for our own turf. The truth is, it is all God’s turf!

Our church motto for 2006 was simply “I Belong.” What that meant was this: I belong to God, to his family, and to his plan.

In the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies, how are we faring in the “belonging department”? Do you belong? Do you feel you are a brother-or a stepbrother? Do you believe you belong not only to God but to your Christian siblings as well? Are you at home, or do you suffer from a sense of institutionalism or aloofness? Can you accept other kinds of people into your church and to this Fellowship, or must they all be your type?

What are some things that we can do to better connect to advance the kingdom of God by the power of the Holy Spirit through the local church? Join us the next 2 Thursdays as we look at this more closely!


Pastor Glen Forsberg, is pastor of McMurray Gospel Assembly, Fort McMurray, Alberta, and  has served as Chairman of the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies Canada and now serves as an Executive Member of the FCA in Canada.

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