Synergy, 29 August 2021

Series—Getting to the Core (values)
Matthew 18:19-20; John 17:20-23; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Series Big Idea:
Our core values guide us in our mission of family restoring God’s masterpieces for His glory.

Big Idea:
We collaborate for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Why are you here? Why are we here? That’s really the question we’ve been asking for the past several weeks in our series Getting to the Core. As we reboot and prepare for a post-pandemic reality (which is taking longer than any of us expected!), what is God’s unique call for First Alliance Church?

In week one we said one of our core values is

Equipping…the next generation to fulfill the Great Commission

Pastor Donald challenged us to

Faithfulness…to prayer, the Word of God, and following Jesus

We talked about how we are a

Family…a mosaic of people loving God and doing life together

Then Pastor Donald talked about the value of

Generosity…trusting God with open hands and open hearts

Last Sunday we said we are

Missional…taking faith-filled risks in launching new ministries to love our neighbors

And sixth and final word, our final core value in no particular order is

Synergy…collaborating for the sake of the Kingdom of God

The word synergy is derived from the Greek word sunergi which denotes cooperation and is based upon the word sunergos which means working together.

Synergy is
the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. For all of you mathematics scholar, synergy can be summarized in the following equation:

1 + 1 > 2

Our world is filled with examples. Hydrogen (two unites) plus oxygen equals…water.

Milk plus Nesquik equals…yummy chocolate milk.

If you’ve ever made stew, you know the combination of ingredients is certainly better than eating them one at a time.

Is anyone else getting hungry?!

Before we get into the ways in which we collaborate for the sake of the Kingdom of God, let’s state the obvious:

God + anything > anything without God

That’s the ultimate synergy. Paul famously said,

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

God plus broken masterpieces like us is greater than anything the world can offer. I find it totally amazing that Almighty God wants us on His team, that He chose us to be His sons and daughters, and that He has entrusted His Kingdom to us! After three years of earthly ministry, Jesus passed the baton to His small group of followers who have continued to pass it over the past two thousand years to us. One of the core values of our global family, the Christian & Missionary Alliance, says,

Without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish nothing.

We collaborate first and foremost with God. When we say the heart of our mission is to “
restore God’s masterpieces,” it’s not a work we do, but a work we do with God, with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, supported by the prayers of Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father. I said it last Sunday, the work we’re trying to accomplish we cannot do…without God. He is the great Restorer, Redeemer, Transformer.

For 133 years, we’ve been collaborating with God to make disciples of Jesus Christ. We’ve seen broken marriages restored, physical bodies healed, addicted people set free, and the lost found. Hallelujah! But we’ve often done that in partnership with others.

One of my favorites quotes says,

It is amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares about who gets the credit. - Robert Yates

I actually care who gets the credit, but it’s not us. It’s Jesus!

Synergy: We collaborate for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

It’s not for our sake. Our mission is not to be the biggest church in Toledo. You might say that our mission is to serve
the Church in Toledo, the capital C Church. Our competition is not The Tabernacle, the Vineyard Church, Westgate Chapel, or Harvest Lane Alliance. Our competition is the pillow, the screens, and the golf course. We need other churches and ministry partners to bring in the harvest.

Without partnerships with others, our impact will be limited.

We can only do so much as a local church, yet when we collaborate, synergy is the result.

A few weeks ago when we talked about the diversity of our local church family, we said we’re a
mosaic of different, interdependent parts, drawing from 1 Corinthians 12.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)

Every part is important. Some are more visible than others, but each is essential, and each needs to be connected to the body. Years ago my uncle sliced off a part of his finger and though it was a small part, the pain was immense, and once it was detached from his body, it was no longer useful.

I used to think Paul’s metaphor of the body meant one person is the elbow, another is the big toe, someone else is an ear, etc. I still believe that’s what he meant, but what if the body was not a local church but rather a community? What if First Alliance Church is the nose, First Church of God is an ear, Washington Church is an eye, and Cedar Creek is the knee? We need one another. We can’t disciple a city or region on our own. We have different styles and traditions, but one LORD, one faith, and one baptism.
Acts 1:8 is a favorite verse of our Alliance family. Jesus says,

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Acts 1:8 describes the expansion of God’s Kingdom. We are to be involved in making disciples in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. We have partners in each realm.

Our Jerusalem is obviously Toledo. It’s our epicenter, our base of operations. One of our partners here is a group of pastors and ministry leaders called MERGE.

Jerusalem First Alliance and MERGE

Our Judea is beyond our immediate neighborhood and includes the Great Lakes District of the Christian & Missionary Alliance as well as our Home Missions partners.

Judea : Home Missions Partners and the Great Lakes District of the C&MA

You will hear from five of our ten Home Missions partners in two weeks, but I want to say thank you on behalf of the Toledo Public School teachers who have been impacted by your generous Showers of Blessings contributions to the Teacher School Supplies Pantry and the support of Rosa Parks Elementary teachers. This past week, Sue Trumbull had an amazing time of prayer and conversation with several of them. One teacher was considering quitting and had asked God for a sign and felt our coming to her room to pray for her was her sign!

If we stayed huddled in this building waiting for people to come to us, that never would’ve happened. In the Great Commission in the last chapter of the book of Matthew, Jesus said to “go” and make disciples. We do ministry with the Great Lakes District and our Home Missions partners all across our city and region. It’s a joy to participate in the Kingdom of God with groups such as Cherry Street Mission, the Pregnancy Center, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Water for Ishmael.

Samaria: Faith Missions Partners

Ends of the Earth: Alliance Missions

Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17 was unity.

“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. I have given them the glory that you gave 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)

We have a real enemy who loves to divide and conquer, and he has done a great job, especially during this pandemic. When we all argue, fight, and cancel each other, nothing productive can be accomplished. A dismembered body can accomplish nothing. A house divided cannot stand.

But when we come together, beautiful things are created. Sure, it’s messy. It’s challenging. It takes time and communication. But it’s worth it. Jesus said,

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19)

There’s an old saying that if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.

One of our core values and something that makes us distinct from some churches is

Synergy…collaborating for the sake of the Kingdom of God

We play well with others! One of my favorite recent examples of this was our Sports & Arts Camp last month, done in partnership with The Tabernacle. Pastors Dr. Calvin and Christine Sweeney sent me a note which says,

Thank you so much for your friendship and for your partnership not only for this past month, but for this past year. Through your generosity and the generosity of your congregation, we have invested countless hours of love, attention and assistance to more than 150 children and their families. The effects of our efforts, I believe, will yield an eternal return and we’re so thankful we could do it with you. We love and appreciate you!

It's been said that a single draft horse can pull up to 8000 pounds. You would think two draft horses together would be able to pull 16,000 pounds, but it’s actually 24,000 pounds. When they’re trained together, they can pull 32,000 pounds! That’s synergy. That’s the value of collaboration.

Synergy: We collaborate for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.

You can watch this video and others at the First Alliance Church Video Library