All About Partnership at Central
Central is full of passionate followers of Christ who are dedicated in giving their tithes and offerings, serving faithfully, and active in a LifeGroup. So what is the difference between a regular attender and someone who does the same thing but is called a Partner? And does this even matter?
Partnership tells us you are formally committing to the mission and vision of Central Community Church and are mutually accountable with the Leadership. It tells us you are willing to take ownership of, and responsibility for, our church family by giving your time, talents and treasures each year.
Formal commitment means you have gone through the official Partnership process: attended Next Steps, filled out the application, met with a board member, and received confirmation by the board that your application was approved.
Through mutual accountability, Partners and church leadership are held to a Biblical standard of living and leading by Biblical principles and the church’s values and guidelines. Leaders submit to the established decision-making process, part of which happens through voting at the Annual Business Meeting. Partners use the annual renewal form to let the leadership know they are carrying out their commitment. This accountability sharpens us individually and strengthens us as a church.
Partners take ownership and responsibility because they see a mission that is critical to the lives of the Niagara Region; a mission which will suffer it they don’t do their part. As a Partner, you are someone who shows your ownership by giving of your time, talents and treasures. Your example demonstrates generosity through giving tithes and offerings, joy through serving the church, spiritual growth through LifeGroups, and life in the Spirit by living God’s way (outlined in the Ministry Covenant).
What is Central’s mission?
Everything we do is to produce passionate followers of Jesus Christ. We live in a region and a world that is far from God and needs desperately to know Him. We’re committed to doing whatever we can to be within reach of people to reveal His love.
How is Central doing this?
Values – How we move forward in our mission is guided by our Core Values (Christ Centred, Excellence, Non Threatening, Training, Relevant, Accountability, and Life in the Spirit), which you will understand more by attending Next Steps.
Proclaim – We will boldly proclaim the Word of God in our weekend experiences. We will do so with straightforward truth communicated through a heart of grace, inviting the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us through His work and our repentance. We will do whatever it takes to see people experience God’s presence in a way that impacts them at their point of need and in daily living.
Care – We will do our best to equip followers of Jesus to study the Bible, pray, and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit. We will also equip them to teach others to do the same through LifeGroups where people are mentored and cared for.
Serve – We will strive to consistently serve the real needs of people in our community, by being present with those who are far from God in order to reveal His love.
The Partnership Commitment
A Partner in the mission of Central is committed to:
1. Being a follower of Jesus Christ and believe the fundamental truths of the Bible
- The Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:15-16)
- In one God, eternally existent in three person: Father, Son & Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 3:16,17; Mark 12:29)
- In the virgin birth, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 7:14; Romans 8:34; Acts 1:10-11)
- In the forgiveness of sin through Jesus (Isaiah 55:7; Romans 4:23-25; 2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
- In water baptism as a public declaration of faith in Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:19; Romans 6:3-5)
- In divine healing (Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:16-17; James 5:13, 14)
- In the power of the Holy Spirit to help us live a holy life (Hebrew 12:14; Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 15:8-9)
- In the second coming of Jesus Christ (Acts 24:15; Matthew 24:30,31; Revelation 20:11-15)
2. Regularly attend a Central location.
3. Participate in a LifeGroup or actively serve in a volunteer ministry of Central.
4. Regularly support Central with your finances, understanding the biblical principles of tithes and offerings.
We believe that giving is an integral part of our relationship with God. It acknowledges God as the giver of everything we have (James 1:17). It reflects our trust that God will provide for us. It is our way of refusing to allow our possessions to consume or define us (Matthew 6:19-24). It allows us to be a part of His work here on Earth (2 Cor. 9:6-7). And it’s a way for us to follow through on what God has asked us to do (Malachi 3:8-12; Proverbs 3:9).
The Bible teaches us that our baseline standard for giving is the tithe (Lev.27:30) – contributing 10% of our income to the church. At Central, tithing has been a turning point for many people to experience the blessings of following Jesus. When God stirs us to give beyond our tithe, it’s referred to as an offering.
If you’re considering partnership and are still unsure about tithing, please contact Mike Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our 90 Day Challenge or different ways in which you can give.
5. Strive to have a lifestyle and behaviour that is aligned with biblical principles in a way that represents Jesus Christ and partnership with Central (outlined in the Ministry Covenant):
- Be growing spiritually as evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit.
- Read your Bible regularly, and to pray on your own and corporately.
- Refrain from acts or attitudes such as sexual conduct outside of biblical marriage, occultspractices, dissentions, gossip, criminal activity and abuse or any other behaviour that doesn’t align with biblical principles or would improperly represent Jesus Christ.
Attend Next Steps. This two-part class gives you the opportunity to hear the heart and stories behind the mission, values and strategies of Central Community Church directly from Pastor Bill. You’ll even have the chance to ask him your questions about why we do what we do at Central. Next Steps takes place each month starting on the first Sunday of the month. To register, you can fill out the application form online.
Submit your application. Please take your time reading through all the Partnership information before completing your application. Once you’re ready, you can submit your application online or at Central Connect at any location.
Meet with a board member. Our GroupLife Team will forward your application to a board member who will meet with you to review the information and get to know you a little better. This is often done during Sunday mornings.
Await confirmation. If you are not yet able to commit to the expectations of Partnership, (ie: you still need to join a LifeGroup or commit to a serving team, or you haven’t yet started tithing), the board member will let you know how to get started and will return your application for you to resubmit once you can fulfil the expectation.
Once the board member confirms that you are committed to the expectations of a Partner, your application will be included in the next board meeting agenda for final approval. Within a couple weeks of the meeting you can expect to receive a welcome email.
Recognizing that people’s situation’s change and that it’s easy to forget to update the church leadership on your new contact info or situation, Central has a partnership renewal process in place. Aside from it being a method of accountability, it helps keep our quorum accurate at Annual Business Meetings and it keeps our records up to date for ongoing communication.
Early each year, every Partner will be sent a simple renewal form. An online form will be sent to those who have an email address on file, and the rest will receive a form by mail. All you need to do is answer yes or no to the five statements, and submit by the end of the month. If your information and situation has stayed the same, so will your Partnership status. If you aren’t able to commit to one or more of the expectations, your Partnership will lapse, and you’ll be invited to chat with someone from the leadership team about your situation.
Does Partnership matter?
Absolutely! Without Partnership, the government would not recognize Central Community Church as a charitable organization. Without that designation, Central would not be able to function as it needs to.
Do I have to be involved before I apply for Partnership?
Yes. We won’t be able to process your application if you aren’t committed to the expectations of a Partner, including joining a LifeGroup or serving on a ministry team. You can start either process by filling out a LifeGroup or First Serve form online or by filling out a Connection Card and bring it to Central Connect at your campus.
Do I have to be a Partner before I start volunteering?
Nope. You can start the First Serve process as soon as you want to. In fact, we want you to! While there are leadership positions that require Partnership as a prerequisite, there are also many serving opportunities for those who are not Partners. You can get started by attending the next monthly Next Steps class !
Do I have to be a Partner if I want to be a LifeGroup or Ministry Leader?
Yes. We’re entrusting LifeGroup Leaders and high level Ministry Leaders with people who matter deeply to us. Because of the level of influence you have and trust required as you lead and disciple people, these individuals need to be confident that you are accountable to Central leadership. We as leaders need to be assured that you represent Central well.
Can I transfer my church membership from my previous church?
Sort of. We encourage you to let your previous church know you are attending a new church, and we will gladly receive any transfer of membership letter as a recommendation and reference. However, it is important to us that you understand what Central is all about and that you are committed to the expectations of Partnership specific to Central. Therefore, we will still ask you to attend Next Steps and follow the partnership process.
I used to be a Partner; how can I renew it again?
If your Partnership has lapsed for more than 3 years, you will need to attend Next Steps before filling out a renewal form.
If your Partnership has lapsed for 3 years or less, just contact the church office for a copy of the current renewal form. Submitted renewal forms that confirm that you are currently meeting the commitments of a Partner will be forwarded to the next Board meeting for review, after which you will receive notice of your Partnership status.
Why do we call this Partnership instead of membership?
Like with everything we do, we use the word Partnership intentionally. Membership is often associated with things like gyms and golf clubs: you pay your fees and you get the privileges. We don’t believe that’s the case here. This is partnership. This is linking arms and walking side by side together toward a common goal. We’re in a spiritual war and we’re partners together in that.
Are there any privileges or responsibilities that a Partner gets that I wouldn’t if I weren’t a Partner?
- As a Partner, it is your privilege and responsibility not only to attend Town Hall Meetings and Annual Business Meeting, but to participate in the voting process for major decisions and board of deacon elections (usually once a year).
- As a Partner, you may be called upon for higher leadership positions that may arise.