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

5 reasons your pastor should take a sabbatical

The word “sabbatical” has different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. It has one meaning in the academic community, another meaning in its biblical usage, and still another in many secular settings. For the purpose of this article, I define sabbatical in...

Baptist state convention to host community blood drive

In response to critically low blood supplies in the region, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is hosting a community blood drive at its offices in Cary on Thursday, June 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Following is more information about the drive. WHAT:The Baptist State...

Grandparenting: Embracing a God-sized vision

“Isn’t it great to be a grandparent? You get to spoil them and give them back to their parents!” This is a common response when people find out I am a grandparent, but it reveals an incorrect and incomplete view from a biblical perspective. My wife and I are enjoying this phase of...

How to create a comprehensive disciple-making strategy for your church

As summer arrives in full force, it may be difficult to think about fall ministries. Planning, recruitment, schedules and programming lie ahead, but have you ever asked the question, “What if our preschool, children’s, youth and adult ministries were viewed as layers in one...

11 fun ideas to serve children (and families) this summer

One area of concern school teachers have noticed about children returning to school after months of virtual schooling is the delay or regression of social skills. Time away from in-person interaction has caused a lag in the social and emotional development of many children. With...

Twitter hashtag focuses on the good work of Southern Baptists

On a website that often makes social media look terribly anti-social, many Southern Baptists have been sharing some positivity with the Twitter hashtag #ThisistheSBC. As the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting looms, social media posts and conversations about the...

A ‘Revelation 5’ vision for North Carolina

Near the end of his life while exiled on the island of Patmos, quarantined if you will, the Apostle John was given a foretaste of the future. Part of John’s vision recorded in Revelation 5 includes a picture of thousands and thousands of people from every tribe and language and...

On mission through the Cooperative Program

For almost 100 years, the Cooperative Program (CP) has been the primary way Southern Baptists “do” the work of ministry together both here and abroad. Standing on the firm ground of the Great Commission, the CP is an effective tool that galvanizes the missionary zeal of our...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

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

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!