One of the key elements in anything to do with Church growth is the making real the oft proclaimed desire of working together. The problem is that whilst this is a great idea in concept the minute anyone starts to do something in, near, or around someone else's patch the barricades appear.
Now, where I am, we are rather blessed with people who are into the Kingdom stuff and are looking at ways of working together. So far this year we have closed our church and taken the congregation to other places and the message it sends is worth its weight in banana chips - we are there to serve the people around us as one Church with many expressions of church.
Of course there are some who will go to great lengths to explain how they need to do this, that or the other because they don't get 'everything' paid for like we do ('we' in this case being Anglican of course). I've had this reported to me and seen it first hand so I know this to be true. The reality is that the active encouragement of transfer growth (AKA 'sheep stealing' if they're leaving you for somewhere else) from some does happen and although this makes people appear successful on the surface the harvest it reaps is poor and the growth short-lived.
When we do something in our church we need to ask who else we could be doing it with and then, having identified others we could act in partnership with, we do it: Or at least invite them because they might not be in the right place or time to come on board at that time - and if so we leave the door open for later. Where I am I am blessed to find myself in partnership with the local Methodist church and have shared ALPHA, and continue to share a joint house group, with them.
So if you're reading this please have a think about what opportunities there are for mission and ministry in the place where you are and then step back and ask yourself the all important question. Who can I do this with?' - for when you do you're not only opening the door to Kingdom thinking but opening up you and those who travel with you to be blessed and be a blessing.
And there's little to eclipse that reality is there?