Do you remember Batman and Robin, Abbott and Costello, Cagney and Lacey, Lennon and McCartney, Timon and Pumbaa, Laverne and Shirley, and Chip and Dale? Forever tied together, the names of these dynamic duos connect us back to favourite memories. They fought crime, wrote the soundtrack of a generation, made us laugh, celebrated friendship and did life together. Partnered together they have left an imprint upon our hearts and minds.

Since returning to the Canada and Bermuda Territory in October, Commissioner Tracey and I have visited every division to connect with officers, soldiers, employees, volunteers, youth and children. We have appreciated, once again, what Paul referred to in his letter to the Philippians as a “partnership in the gospel” (see Philippians 1:5). We have heard the stories of partners in the gospel sharing the love of Jesus and meeting human needs, and have seen the evidence of communities being transformed one life at a time. What a profound imprint is being left upon the hearts and minds of thousands of our neighbours and friends.

As Salvationists, our partnership in the gospel extends beyond the national boundaries of Canada and Bermuda. We are partners in mission with Salvationists around the globe. Over the course of our recent years serving and visiting overseas expressions of The Salvation Army, we have experienced the dynamic and privilege of being partners with others from different countries, speaking different languages yet declaring one message. From the rural communities of the northern highlands to the urban slums of its capital, The Salvation Army is on the ground and active within the life of Papua New Guinea. We joined the march of thousands of Salvationists in the countryside of Zambia as they gathered for a congress to worship and hear from God’s Word. We have witnessed the power of life transformation through education for young girls in Indonesia. These and so many other similar moments of shared experiences have fortified our understanding of the power of partnership.

Being partners in mission not only allows us to be stronger together, but we are individually better for participating in the partnership opportunity. Sharing resources to support and encourage others around the world blesses us with a different perspective and challenges us to be a stronger Salvation Army at home.

Studies have shown that partnerships that make a difference have common traits.

  1. Supportive partnerships are strong and effective. The collaboration that takes place brings a sense of optimism and provides a fresh and sustaining hope. When people are supported through partnerships, they become inspired and are enabled to achieve the goal set before them.
  2. Effective partnerships serve as a catalyst to bring about growth and success that would not be possible without them. Something in the working together causes a new thing to happen. This type of partnership creates an environment that supports innovation, invention and greater achievements.
  3. Partnerships that make a difference are based in service, not selfishness. No one partner does all the work, nor works for their interests alone. There is an intentional focus and action directed toward the other partner. The collaborative effort offered by each partner enables the other to be more and do more than what would be possible without the partnership.

As we approach this year’s emphasis on Partners in Mission, remember that we are stronger together. We have the opportunity to participate with other Salvationists in a supportive partnership that enables a worldwide Salvation Army to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs without discrimination. As partners in mission, we can help create new opportunities in the life and ministry of our partner territories, and open our eyes to new possibilities in our own faith communities and neighbourhoods.

I challenge us all to consider what it means to be a true partner in mission. How will we contribute this year to the Army’s worldwide mission? How can we be a part of the “new thing” that God wants to do as we actively and sacrificially partner with others? May our commitment to the partnership opportunity before us leave an imprint upon hearts and minds for eternity, both here at home and around the world.

Commissioner Floyd Tidd is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory.

Feature photo: Mark Yan

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