Cru17: WITH--Partnerships: When God’s Children Play Together Nicely

We are just finishing an amazing week at Cru17—the biennial staff conference of Cru/Campus Crusade for Christ. It was an amazing time with lively worship, great diversity, creative approaches—all around the theme of WITH.

We have talked about WITH God and WITH others in our ministry. And WITH others in God’s Kingdom. We invited friends, pastors, ministry leaders, donors to join with us at Connection Weekend. The Partnership theme was a great way to end our gathering.

Many connections were expanded, new ones begun, possibilities explored. A combined effort between InterVarsity and Cru was announced. In cities and nations, people and ministries joined hands for the gospel. The Global Alliance for Church Multiplication is seeking to plant 5 million churches, especially in places where there are few churches. And many more!Sometimes I think God has just been waiting for His children to learn to play together nicely.

Jesus was pretty clear in the expectation:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.…that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)

He wants the world to know that Jesus came to redeem them.  The evidence, the proof of that:  oneness among His followers.

In my early years of ministry (it’s been more than 50 now), there was not much of that oneness.  Ministries and churches were more often marked by competition and suspicion.  When I was writing an article about another ministry for our magazine, the leaders questioned my motives:  Was I trying to criticize or disparage them?  No, I wasn’t.

Gratefully the Spirit of God has done some wonderful transforming in recent years, and God’s children have truly learned to work well together, bringing their different strengths together to accomplish so much more than they could individually.

One of the most remarkable examples of this kind of oneness is Table 71. My husband and leaders from Wycliffe, YWAM and Cru led a workshop to share what God has done through Table 71 and demonstrate how others could initiate similar partnerships.

What, you ask, is Table 71?  Perhaps you’ve never heard of it.  Yet this group of Christian leaders have come together to accomplish some amazing things in the Kingdom.  Partners include: Youth with a Mission, International Mission Board of Southern Baptists, Walk Thru the Bible, Wycliffe Bible Translators, The Seed Company, The Jesus Film, Cru and others.The primary focus in on ZERO.  That someday soon there would be ZERO unreached, unengaged people groups in our world.  Each partner commits to do their part to make this happen.

Translation and evangelism have been accelerated.  Orality and storying strategies are getting the gospel to those who don’t read.  Thousands of new missionaries and church planters have been sent to places that have never heard of Jesus.

In the 12 years since the Table 71 partnership identified 639 unreached, unengaged groups of over 100,000, all but six of them now have someone committed to going to introduce people to the Savior, make disciples and plant churches. Others are working to reach smaller language groups.

This brief video tells the stunning story of how this began. My sweet husband was there—and tears come to him every time he watches this. I think it will astonish you to see the humble cooperation among God’s servants. And oh the stories that have emerged as a result.

I know it makes Him happy.

The History of Table 71

What about you?  Where are you partnering for the Kingdom?

C2017 Judy Douglass