In partnering with other organizations, I have come to see that the word 'partner' means different things to different people. There are actually multiple 'levels' of partnership:
Level 1: Having business together
It is in our mutual interest to share resources or to provide services to each other. i.e., sharing a building.
Level 2: Symbolic acts of ecumenicism
Public declarations of Christian unity and affection. i.e., worshipping together.
Level 3: Enjoying relationship
Private fellowship, trust, and intimacy.
Level 4: Strategic partners
Strategizing together, giving each other 'veto power' over each others decisions.
Level 5: Organizational Union
Merging together and becoming the same organization.