The term Ubuntu articulates an African understanding of our need to connect to one another in order to be complete. Likewise, A Common Mission offers a description of churches that connect with one another through the growing phenomenon of mission partnerships. The word "common" indicates something shared among equals. The word "common" also suggests something present in all parts of an organism, production, or narrative, such as a common thread. These two aspects of commonality provide an important orientation for contemporary mission.
Since 2008, congregational partnerships emerged so quickly and spontaneously that very few researchers originally noticed this groundswell. Partnerships remain present in over 80 percent of United States mega-churches and are prominent in a large number of smaller US churches. This should not be surprising. Mission exists as an expression of the church's identity, an evangelistic expression that crosses frontiers and goes to the ends of the earth. In our globalized context, however, mission also crosses neighborhood "frontiers" to the immigrants within our own communities. Mission expresses its Christian witness as congregations love those separated from the church by ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, religion, or fear.
A Common Mission provides a framework of healthy patterns for churches to live into this mission identity.