In his book, Barking at the Choir, Gregory Boyle says,“choosing to be fearless for the other awakens in us a courageous heart and fosters a selflessness where true joy is born.”
It is intent of partnership to inspire an awakening—an awakening of that which already dwells within us. Those gifts of hospitality, cooking a good meal, framing a wheelchair ramp with precision, having a childlike faith, are awakened when we enter into a partnership. Being fearless for the other gives the space for those gifts to be used without reservation. When we do so, we start to understand joy in a new way; we start to understand ourselves in a new way.
Partnership allows us, perhaps even requires us, to be fearless for other. Through partnership, we are given the space to be courageous, whether we are the ones reaching out for help or responding to a request. It can be an intimidating thing as we extend a hand, especially when we don’t know what kind of response we’ll receive. Will our request for help be ignored, shamed, or dismissed? Will our response to help be enough, received, or appreciated? However, when we choose fearlessness, we can hold the door open for compassionate understanding and true joy.
This report captures a few stories of courageous partnership. Behind the numbers are individuals who courageously extended a hand, tried something new, made a change, took the lead. Behind the short quotes of appreciation are grander narratives of lives that are perhaps healthier, bolder, and more connected to their community. As we celebrate the partnerships and progress made in 2018, we pay special attention to how we can continue to answer the call of following Jesus faithfully and courageously.