A New Partnership
We all love to celebrate what God is doing through us. This is the case for every Christian, every church, and every ministry. But it can become too easy for us to find our sense of worth in our achievements and to build our identity on what makes us different from others. Thus, the idea of letting go of our independence can frighten us.
In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul writes: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). It’s a beautiful verse, which many Christians have memorised. But it is not so easy to put in practice.
This verse comes just before the great apostolic hymn of the Incarnation – the self-humbling of Jesus:
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men… “
Lowering Ourselves to Look Like Him
When I consider Jesus, the God-man, divested of his divine privilege, I am amazed at his humility and courage in undertaking such a “mission” for our redemption. Before even considering the cross, the ultimate stripping of privilege, one is speechless at how Jesus lowered Himself in his incarnation. He went from all-powerful God to obedient servant. From eternal Word to speechless infant.
Most of my life I have sought to ground my very identity in my own achievements and reputation. How can I now lay aside this hard-won self-worth?
Thankfully, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” When we give God control over our life and ministry, He can do something wonderful and surprising.
What should we do to bring the gospel to today's students?
This is what the leaders of Mouvement Jeunesse (formerly JBEQ) and Power to Change (P2C) have come to terms with in recent years. These ministries both have beautiful past successes to look back upon. They are grateful to God for this. But they have also experienced some lean years, which led them to be open to new possibilities.
For both ministries, the lean years were marked by unsuccessful efforts to reach Quebec students. Low participation in P2C student groups and the decrease in the number of GEEs (Evangelical Student Groups) of the AEBEQ led both groups to seek God and ask, “What should we do to bring the gospel to today’s students?”
United to obey
“Stop thinking that you are up to the task on your own. It’s time to partner with others to whom I have given different gifts than yours.”
While this was not a direct oracle from God, it was clear to the leaders of both groups that this is what God was saying to them. Indeed, recent experience had prepared both groups for this step. God, who likes to lead by walking ahead of his people, had for some years been laying the foundation for a beautiful relationship to be built between the two ministries through the Paradigm Conference. The relationship of trust that has thus been shaped has allowed them to build strong connections, both in heart and in practical ministry.
It was already obvious to both groups that they shared the same passion to see students and young adults in Quebec know Jesus and give themselves to his mission. It was now time to move on to the next step: the convergence of their respective dreams to bring out a new approach to reach young Quebecers with the Good News of Jesus.
But they had to answer a crucial question: “Are we ready to work closely together so that we may move forward?”
In the past, P2C team members in Montreal organized groups on college and university campuses in the city. But they realized that students were often already involved in groups organized by their church. In order to avoid any “competition” between these groups, they decided to stop organizing groups unless it was in partnership with a local church. The first of these groups, run jointly by Église 21 (É21) and P2C, now exists near the University of Montréal.
This partnership has many advantages. The students benefit from more resources, are blessed by the prayer support of E21 members, and church members have the opportunity to evangelize the university student population alongside the students involved in P2C.
This new partnership (which for now goes by the name “Coalition Convergence”) also aims to encourage the creation of content for readers and listeners in the province. The ConvergenceQuebec.com website carries articles by Quebec writers as well as videos and podcasts of the Paradigme Conferences, Convergence Conferences and the Socratic Pub. It is a platform for “fostering reflection, dialogue, and collaboration for the common good”. They hope to model sincere listening and a healthy curiosity through both their resources and their events. They want to see lives changed and initiatives undertaken for the good of the whole society.