Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Last year, my wife, Freida, and I celebrated 40 years of marriage. All through these decades, we both fully embraced God’s command to love him and obeyed his call to ministry. Working side by side in partnership for God’s glory enabled us to strengthen each other and build each other up in love. The Bible is replete with examples of partnerships and exhortations to work together in all things. For Freida and me, our life is better because we lived it together.
I know that not all of The Banner’s readers are married. I pray, though, that all of you have experienced this lesson in your life. Whether it is with family members, roommates, friends, or colleagues, I hope that you have had the blessing of being able to share your burdens with another, to have a partner in tackling something challenging, and to have had someone to celebrate successes with.
I believe these same lessons apply to our church families. In fact, I think this is one of the key reasons the Bible urges Christians to “not give up meeting together.” Our churches are where we worship, disciple each other, discipline each other, and discern God’s will. While our individual faith is important, our membership in the body of Christ is also essential.
One way the Christian Reformed Church in North America lives out this principle is through an innovative program known as ministry shares. Over the years, as our denomination recognized certain needs or identified different priorities, we decided to start ministries together as a way of working in partnership. We fund these initiatives—whether they are related to global missions, Sunday school curriculum, pastor training, or any other CRCNA ministry—by pooling our resources.
In this way, no one person or church needs to cover the full amount of any ministry. At the same time, every member of every church in the CRCNA is able to say that these ministries are part of how they, individually, are living out their faith.
In these pages are a few examples of ministry shares at work. To tell the stories in a fun and interesting way, we’ve decided to share them in graphic novel form, but they depict very real ministry taking place all around the globe thanks to support like yours. Thank you for being part of this partnership.