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“Impossible things are only impossible alone.”

Though I was shaving and only halfway paying attention to the radio advertisements that were droning on in the background, that line caught my attention. I stopped and listened carefully to learn the company’s name, then I searched online and discovered an Australian company that was promoting its collaborative software.

On its website, I found videos with fast-paced music and images that included space rovers, electric trucks, windmills, skyscrapers, and rockets—presumably from some of the industries they serve with their software. The most surprising image was a simple lead pencil, about which they observed, “Even something as simple as a pencil was once impossible.”

I wrote down several quotes from those brief videos: “Sorry, geniuses, but everything in this world requires collaboration. Few things are actually accomplished alone. We are at our best when we put our heads together, in order to take the big swings. When was the last time you accomplished something big? It was probably by working together.”

I especially appreciated the good-natured jab at geniuses and the idea that very bright people sometimes fall into the trap of thinking they don’t need the help of others.

When is the last time you took a big swing?

If you are an informed Southern Baptist, you don’t have to be a genius to know that the true genius of our worldwide, Great Commission efforts is cooperation. Some very bright men and women have come and gone and risen and fallen in SBC leadership over the years. It’s all of us steadfastly working together through good times and bad that keep missionaries going, churches multiplying, and the gospel spreading throughout the world.

That cooperation also means that your church is never alone, and that no pastor, however brilliant or however discouraged, should choose isolation. Our International and North American Mission Boards are rightly focused on sending missionaries and multiplying churches into the unreached and underreached areas of the world.

But in your community, your church is the missionary! And just as our mission boards would never leave a missionary or a new church on its own, your state and local associations are eager to assist your church in fulfilling its mission.

Here in Illinois, we currently have over a hundred churches engaged in an intentional revitalization process, each seeking to renew its health and refocus its mission. About 150 churches are engaged in a “next step” consultation process designed to give its ministries new traction and advances. Churches of similar sizes and contexts are convening regularly to pray together and to share ideas for more effective evangelism and missions.

One of those churches went from baptizing no one the previous year to baptizing more than ten the next year. Another went from having very few men in their church to having a thriving men’s ministry. Yet another engaged in missions in a way that brought new life to the church.

That’s why the words from the software company resonated with me: “When was the last time you accomplished something big? It was probably by working together.”

Just as there are unengaged people groups at the ends of the earth, there are also churches that are unengaged in the power of collaboration and cooperation with other churches and leaders. And the more isolated a church becomes, the more impossible its mission probably feels. It may not be from self-confident genius or from discouragement, it may simply be from busyness or unawareness or personal distractions.

If that describes you or your church, let me offer you some encouragement from an Australian software company and from the Bible. Collaborate and cooperate with other churches in the network! Impossible things are only impossible alone.

    About the Author

  • Nate Adams