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Stronger Together

By Aaron KauffmanAaron M. Kauffman

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

—Romans 12:4-5

Partnership is one of our deeply held values at Virginia Mennonite Missions.

First, we partner with the church in mission. From our founding in 1919, our purpose has always been to undergird the missional impulses of local congregations. This year alone, we have joined hands with 92 churches as they added their people, prayers and funds to the task of making Christ known among the nations. We can do more together than we ever can on our own.

In addition, we work with other sending agencies to mobilize mission workers around the world. Partners include other Anabaptist agencies like the Evangelical Mennonite Alliance of Brazil, Eastern Mennonite Missions, Rosedale International, Mennonite Mission Network and Mennonite Central Committee, as well as organizations in the broader Christian family like Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor, Pioneers, Impact Middle East, and Every Nation Campus. We’re all on the same team, regardless of the logo on our jerseys.

At the personal level, we believe we belong to one another in the body of Christ. There is no such thing as a solitary, self-sufficient Christian. It takes all of us, men and women, young and old, single and married, to be faithful to the call. We need each other to live a life worthy of the gospel.

One way to practice our interdependence is to make a realistic inventory of our gifts. There are any number of tools for this. Spiritual gift tests. Personality assessments. Work style profiles. All of these can be useful, as long as we allow them to illuminate the range of abilities and interests we have rather than lock us into some rigid typology.

Such inventories tell us something basic yet profound. We should neither pretend we’re good at everything, nor believe the lie that we’re no good at all. We all have something to offer, something to contribute to the cause of the kingdom of God.

Our job is not to try to do it all or become a superhero for Christ. Rather, we embrace our unique mix of God-given gifts and limitations, and together, we witness to the all-sufficiency of Christ our Lord, to whose body we belong. As leadership expert John Stahl-Wert says, “There is no such thing as a well-rounded individual. Only well-rounded teams.” We truly are stronger together.