Together on mission: a biblical model

April 3, 2019

The Southern Baptist Convention has a rich heritage of cooperation. As we move forward in God’s mission, we must be reminded of our biblical foundation. As pastors across the state and nation lead their churches to give sacrificially through the Cooperative Program, we can point to both what the Scriptures tell us and the example of the early church – a clear portrayal of multiple churches supporting and sharing in the missionary advance. Here are a few examples of cooperation to consider as we lead our own churches today.

Finances
Almost any time someone thinks about cooperation in missions, the primary emphasis is financial. The New Testament contains clear evidence of multiple churches jointly supporting Paul’s missionary work financially. For example, at the conclusion of his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote, “For I hope to see you when I pass through and to be assisted by you for my journey” (Romans 15:24). Paul let the Christians in Rome know he was planning to visit them on his way to Spain and that their financial support was necessary for the success of the next phase of missionary advance. Today, just like in the early church, our finances are a key indicator of where our priorities lie. For missions and ministries to be effective, they must be funded out of the generous hearts of worshippers who prioritize God’s mission as first priority.

Prayer
In almost all of Paul’s letters, he reminded the churches he was praying for them (Romans 15:30-32 and 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2). Paul requested prayer as a means of missionary support. Through prayer, these new churches served as partners in the mission. Even though Paul was a seasoned missionary, he realized success depended on God’s blessing. He also knew the mission of the church required every church to participate. Through prayer, new believers and churches partnered together for the sake of God’s mission. One way to lead your congregation to pray through what God is doing through cooperation is to utilize the 52 Sundays resource.

Building missionary teams
Another way churches partnered together was in supplying workers for the missionary teams (see Epaphroditus, Epaphras, and Aristarchus). Each of these men made a significant contribution to the mission. One might assume new churches need to keep all available mature believers in the church. In these young churches, however, this was not the assumption. Cooperation is portrayed as a normal component of God’s mission. They were willing to give their best away for the sake of the greater mission.

When Southern Baptists participate in the cooperative ministries of the convention, we are following a pattern established in the Bible. While many of the structures and mechanics that we see at work today in the convention are subject to change, the priority will remain the same. We all have a place where we are needed in God’s mission, together.

Editor’s Note: This content was adapted from Hildreth’s book, Together on God’s Mission.


by Scott Hildreth 
/  Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

What makes Good Friday good?

Have you ever stopped to consider why Good Friday is described as “good” if that’s the day Jesus was crucified? On the surface, “sorrowful” may appear to be a more appropriate description of the day that the sinless God-man Jesus the Christ was crucified in our place on a cruel...

People of the Book resource now available

We, Baptists, are known as people of the Book. What book is it? It is the Word of God, the Bible. What a wonderful nickname we have! By God’s grace, we have lived, and will continue to live, up to our nickname. Southern Baptists have been proactive in preaching the gospel and...

Robersons receive 2019 Heritage Award from BSCNC

Richard and Doris Roberson, longtime managers of Truett Camp and Conference Center in Hayesville, N.C., have received the 2019 Heritage Award from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC). The award is one of the highest forms of recognition among North Carolina...

Is neglect stealing your joy?

“Pay Attention!” These are the words that stop us in our tracks — children, athletes, students and employees alike heed these infamous words. In the letter to the Hebrews, the author calls the recipients to “pay much closer attention to what [they had] heard” because they were in...

Planning for college

How do we stop losing young adults in church? It seems part of the answer lies in our focus during high school, as well as the transition from high school to college. In a survey released by Lifeway Research, new data shows that the number one reason for not attending church for...

Cultivating meaningful conversations with your kids

The Guardian, a New York newspaper, ran an article entitled, “How new words are born.” It was reported that “around 5,400 new words are created every year; it’s only the 1,000 or so deemed to be in sufficiently widespread use that make it into print.” Seeing these large numbers...

Intentional prayers for your family

One of the greatest things we can do as parents, spouses and Christ followers is to pray for our families. Psalms 127:1a says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Below are some specific prayer points with accompanying Bible verses that you can pray...

5 ways to serve guests this Easter

You probably have heard the fact that more guests attend church on Easter than any other Sunday of the year. There is a related fact that you may not have heard: More churches miss the opportunity to connect intentionally with guests on Easter than any other Sunday of the year....

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest news and event information by signing up for the N.C. Baptist newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!