By Lucy Oliver
As Arizona Southern Baptists focus on intentionally multiplying leaders, disciples and churches, they do so with three key, mutually beneficial partnerships.
Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries, the Arizona campus of Gateway Seminary and Christian Challenge AZ — Arizona Southern Baptists’ ministry on college and university campuses — all receive funds given by Arizona Southern Baptist churches through the Cooperative Program. The three also assist in fulfilling Arizona Southern Baptists’ Centennial Vision, which has the mission of “working together to make disciples of all peoples in Arizona and around the world.”
“It takes all of us working together, because the body of Christ has different members with different callings, gifts and geographic areas they serve in,” says Michelle Clements, vice president of development and communications for Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries.
Partnership extends the physical reach of a ministry and its financial ability to increase opportunities to minister, and it helps Arizona Southern Baptists in their efforts to fulfill the vision of Centennial Vision 2.0: “By 2028, we dream of 1,000 churches working together to share the life-changing message of Jesus Christ so that the lives of individuals, families, and communities are transformed by the gospel.”
Christian Challenge AZ has experienced the many blessings of partnership.
“As of this fall, we are joining with several new church partners to launch 10 ministries on new campuses across the state, for a total of 23 ministries,” says Brad Schneeflock, Christian Challenge AZ state collegiate strategist. “Our church partners are embracing the college campus as a strategic missions emphasis, and some are committing financial resources to help see the mission accomplished. They are vital to the fulfillment of our mission and vision.”
Working together as believers who are dedicated to the Great Commission makes intentional multiplication of leaders, disciples and churches a common and core value throughout the state. This ability to create strong partnerships must come from dedicated leaders who are continually building their relationships with Christ.
“God does not call a select few to ministry and mission,” says Steve Hanna, ABCS president and executive director. “Everyone at ABCS is serving God’s purpose for their lives and the ministry. We’re grateful for the opportunity to affirm our people in their calling and to help them grow in their walk with Jesus as they face hard things in ministry and in life.”
According to Dallas Bivins, director of Gateway Seminary’s Arizona campus, “Gateway Seminary helps to grow and multiply leaders who develop into disciples and disciple-makers who serve in their local churches as pastors, staff and laypeople. We shape leaders who expand God’s kingdom around the world.”
He adds, “We recognize that healthy churches produce healthy churches, and so our goal is to produce healthy leaders who in turn produce healthy leaders for whatever mission God has called them.”
Together, with like-minded organizations, ministries, leaders and churches, God’s love can reach many more ,and the gospel of Jesus Christ can be heard by countless numbers who otherwise would not hear the good news.
“It takes all of us working together to meet the needs of ‘the least of these’ in the communities we serve,” adds Clements. “Our hope is that we can help guide those we serve to a local church where they can be a part of a community that loves, disciples, and challenges them to grow in faith.”
Intentional multiplication through partnership.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations …” Matthew 28:18a.