Frequently Asked Questions
Does Grace Partnership Act as a Governing Body?
Grace Partnership participating churches are governed locally and autonomously. There is no outside authority over a local church. The focus of the partnership is on the shared mission, mutual care, and equipping we see in the New Testament. While a participating church agrees to the above commitments as a foundational statement of shared values and beliefs, the governing affairs of the local church are local. Through the partnership other elders and representatives are available for counsel and support to another eldership, but it is non-binding, and each local church commits to providing local mechanisms for local accountability and local response to crisis and care. We see in the New Testament that influence flows from relationship, and we build and serve accordingly.
There are many acceptable forms of church government expressed in the broader body of Christ. Grace Partnership does not exercise authority over a participating local church. Local church authority is expressed in a local church plurality of elders, while Grace Partnership churches also value the wisdom and grace that comes from a multitude of counsel expressed through the partnership.
How Is Grace Partnership Structured?
Grace Partnership has a Partnership Board comprised of seven board members. The Board is comprised of:
- Partnership Director (1)
- Partnership Coordinators (2)
- Partnership Council (4)
A Partnership Director is appointed by the partnership elders to a four-year term of service. A director can be re-appointed. The Partnership Director’s responsibilities are:
- Coordination and oversight of retreats and equipping contexts for Grace Partnership
- Regularly scheduled phone calls with Grace Partnership Churches
- Church Visits
- Development of domestic and international mission efforts
- Quarterly meetings with Grace Partnership Coordinators
A Partnership Coordinator (PC) works closely with a certain number of churches for mutual encouragement and care in a four-year term. A PC can be re-appointed. A PC also builds relationships with churches interested in partnership and works with the Partnership Director. A PC accomplishes this through:
- Twice-annual visits to the churches
- Regularly scheduled phone calls
- Regular phone calls with Partnership Director
- An annual retreat for planning and prayer with Partnership Director
- Annual review of Partnership Director
Finally, the Grace Partnership Council is comprised of four elders from Grace Partnership churches. Grace Partnership Council responsibilities are:
- Participation in annual partnership retreat
- Input and Affirmation of Partnership Director and Partnership Coordinators
- Oversight, input, and approval of annual budget
No level of extra-local leadership replaces or acts as a de facto eldership for any local church. In the same spirit of interconnection we see in the early church, the leadership team serves to promote the interconnectivity of Grace Partnership. Relationships may influence, but they do not usurp local authority established in a plurality of elders.
Additionally, an independent Financial Oversight Committee serves to ensure the appropriate use of any funds, in keeping with the stated mission of Grace Partnership.
How Does a Local Church Become Affiliated with Grace Partnership?
- Agreement with Affirmation of Faith
- Verified plurality of elders in the local church
- Participation in contexts with other Grace Partnership Churches
- Financial Support
- Affirmation by Grace Partnership Churches
Why Give Financially into a Partnership?
Numerous churches expressing interest in Grace Partnership have been affiliated with other church partnerships where they gave upwards of 10% of their local budget into the partnership. While Grace Partnership does not set a percent of giving into the partnership, we do see the wisdom and effectiveness of a consistent and planned giving from the local churches for the function of the partnership. Each church is requested to prayerfully commit 3-5% of their local budget, more if they feel led to do so and are able. What is the purpose?
Planned support vs. reactionary support – Each church giving enables the partnership to serve others in the partnership in a streamlined fashion as needs arise. As well, anticipated opportunities or needs can be addressed in a planned way. Examples of this would include:
- Support for international mission, some of which is expressed on a monthly basis
- Opportunities to respond to needs that arise in local churches
- Conference/retreat planning
- Administrative support
- Web development
Other functions of partnership giving are:
Church Planting/Mission Support
- Church plants that arise from an existing Grace Partnership Church
- International relationships
Equipping and Care
- Site visits to partner churches (this is a practical way “larger” churches can support “smaller” churches)
- Site visits for developing relationship
How do you allocate funds?
Mission – 40% of giving
- Church Planting
- International Support and Opportunities
Equipping – 40% of giving
- Church Visits
- Retreats, including teaching opportunities
- Stipends for Grace Partnership administrative staff
Care – 20% of giving
- Benevolence opportunities to partnership church
- Special occasions within a partnership church