When I first heard the word “synergy” I wondered if it was talking about my special capacity to sin dynamically! The old man always seems to have reserves of energy to sin. However, on closer look at a dictionary, I found a more suitable definition. From the Greek sunergiā, cooperation, from sunergos, working together, synergy means:
“the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.”
“cooperative interaction among groups, especially among the acquired subsidiaries or merged parts of a corporation, that creates an enhanced combined effect.”
Synergy is when the result is greater than the sum of the parts. Synergy is created when things work in concert together to create an outcome that is in some way of more value than the total of what the individual inputs is.
There are many verses in the Bible that show how God’s covenant with Israel was meant to create the blessing of “synergy”. Leviticus 26:8 is one of many examples.
“Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.”
Simple mathematical multiplication means it needs 500 to chase 10000. Synergy gives us five times more power.
Do our projects seek simply to multiply the same, or are we discerning the opportunities of synergy with others? Are we only looking to “survive” as “five”, or are we looking to take the step of faith to become a “hundred”?
I believe that the Lord is asking us to lift up our eyes and seek out “synergetic” partnerships. It is only our fear, unbelief and “sin energy” that can stop us.
I’d like to give you three domains for synergy.
- The synergy of nations.
God’s heart is “all nations to reach all nations.” In 1 Chronicles 12:22&38, we see the model of many tribes coming together at Hebron, “fully determined to make David king over all Israel.” We need to recognise our own particular “Hebron” in this world’s global village. Standing shoulder to shoulder with different nationalities, and indigenous mission movements we can endeavour to make Jesus the true “King over all the earth.” Revelation 5:9 and 7:9 gives us a glimpse of the redemptive beauty of many tribes and cultures worshiping in glorious diversity in a “synergetic celebration of the nations.”
- The synergy of generations
The Apostle’s Creed talks about the “communion of saints”. What are we in communion with? Surely not just a superstitious offering to the dead, but more a taking up of the living baton of a previous generation’s love for Jesus expressed through their prayers and dreams.
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17
An old man with a dream but without the next generation is doomed to frustration and sterility. The young man with vision but without the discipline of the “dream” of the past will be “rootless”, wrongly ambitious, superficial and lacking direction.
“See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6
If you are a young man (or a young mission movement), be rooted in the living “dreams” of the fathers. If you are an “old man”, attempt to disciple a few young men with your dream.
- The synergy of denominations.
We inherit our ecclesial history which is unfortunately filled with schisms and separations. There are no superficial solutions to healing such deep wounds of division, but the Apostle Paul encourages us to “keep the unity” of Biblical fellowship. Even if we are used to playing our various instruments in different orchestras we can always come together to find another missionary harmony as the Body of Christ moves into corporate action. We read in Matthew 18: 19-20 :
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
The word “agree” is “symphoneo” in Greek which takes us back to the idea of the beautiful symphony of synergy. Let us make every effort to keep the unity, to express a powerful missional thrust by praying across our denominational divides.
We are all called to share the joy of Jesus together.
“It was not men’s grief, but their joy Christ visited, he worked his first miracle for men’s gladness…And indeed, was it to make wine abundant at poor weddings he had come down to earth?” (Brothers Karamazov)
True joy is found in sharing Christ together. Change our water into wine Lord!