What are they?
Several times in the New Testament a disciple of Jesus is described as an athlete running (1 Cor 9:24-27, Phil 3:12-14, 2 Tim 4:7-8, Heb 12:1). As we run it’s important to have other runners alongside us to help, encourage and sharpen us. Running partners are when three or four people gather together to run alongside each other for a season.
The key building blocks
We’re Open and Accountable to one another.
We Read the Bible & Learn from it together.
We Pray together and for one another.
We Encourage & Challenge one another on mission.
Some helpful principles
Connect with a LIFE Group first.
They’re organic. Not imposed or organised by the church.
They have lifecycles. You may just run together for a season and then multiply and gather others. This is essential for discipling new people.
They’re about fellowship. Friendship may come in time but it is not a pre-requisite. It is our unity in Jesus that brings us together.
Groups of three of four is ideal. Less than three can be too intense and more than four can stifle authenticity and openness.
Have a structure. Sometimes using a book of the Bible, or a Christian book can be helpful to give a framework for discussion and discipleship.
They may be mutual, ie. you run at the same pace, or someone further ahead may choose to run with those less mature for a season.
Ask each other “where do you want to grow?”
A vision for Running Partners
Steve Hope takes 30 minutes to communicate the vision behind running partners and some of the practicalities for making it work.
Other resources for running partners
Stef Liston (Revelation Church, London) is a dear friend of King’s Community Church. He unpacks Running Partners at their church over three talks. They are well worth watching.
David Holden - Battle for the Mind
Jen Wilkin - Women of the Word
Gordon MacDonald - A Resilient Life
Paul Miller - A Praying Life
Beth Redman - God Knows My Name
Mark Stibbe - The Father You’ve Been Waiting For
Craig Groeschel - Struggles
Jen Wilkin - In His Image
Gene Getz - The Measure of a Man
Elaine Getz - The Measure of a Woman
Arterburn and Stoeker - Every Man’s Challenge