While on my way to the airport very early in the morning recently I was passed by an ambulance, lights flashing — on its way to a nearby hospital.  The incident got me to thinking —

Imagine a city with no streets, no lights, no phone system, no public water supply, no sewers and no police or fire protection systems.  It would be pretty hard to build hospitals where people could be healed, schools where children could learn, businesses where people could be productively, creatively employed, or construct performing arts centers and art galleries where music, drama, and other esthetic delights were displayed.  In short, it’d be pretty hard to call it a city.

Worse yet, imagine a city where you had competing, un-coordinated water systems, fire departments, and street planners!

I was reminded that morning that the infrastructure of communications and well-lit streets in good condition made it possible for a family in critical need to make a telephone call; connect with the ambulance service then for the ambulance service to get to the scene of the emergency and get the needy person to critical care in a timely manner.

Now, imagine a variety of Christian ministries whose intent is to reach a major city or unreached people group.  The ministries are all well-intentioned, many have talented team members, their vision is bright, and faith is strong.  But none of the ministries are talking with each other.  There’s major duplication of effort, huge gaps exist in the necessary spiritual strategy, and the lack of communication and coordination, and apparent competition confuses the very people they are trying to reach.

It’s a very simple picture.  But the fact is that in helping fund or in some other way support development of strategic partnerships and networks you help “pave the streets and light the lights” for evangelism among people who possibly have never heard of Jesus.

These partnerships and networks provide a powerful infrastructure for holistic evangelism and the formation and strengthening of local fellowships.  Ministries for the first time can identify and cooperate on critical, basic elements of evangelism.  If it’s an unreached people group it may involve Scripture translation, literature production, evangelistic radio, TV, or social media plus, of course, personal follow-up.  In a great city it may be youth, the homeless, employment issues, mass media, or other forms of witness and service.

Working together in partnerships or networks light will ignite hope and the streets of coordination become powerful channels of Jesus’ grace.