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

Being the church after a disaster

The year 2018 will be remembered by many N.C. Baptists as a year of disaster, and many churches are still without a place to meet. This circumstance provides a unique opportunity to reflect upon the difference between going to church and being the church. The simultaneous...

How churches and families can partner in making disciples

“When I get home, I am going to talk to Jesus!” my redheaded preschooler son called out as we pulled out of the church parking lot after another robust Sunday at church. My husband and I glanced at each other. I responded, “Yes, little love, you can talk with Jesus anywhere at...

Why discipleship works best when churches and families work together

Today there are more resources and programs focused on teaching God’s inherent truth than ever before. More than any time in history, the church is well-equipped with the resources it needs to make disciples. It is certainly true that pastors, leaders and teachers are directed by...

NCMO supports partnerships

There are many parts of Scripture that may seem confusing to readers, but there is one message, spoken time and time again, that couldn’t be more clear — love one another. The message whispered from Genesis to Revelation is to love God and love one another. So what does it mean to...

9 reasons to attend the 2019 NC Baptist annual meeting

“God’s Great Work” is the theme for the 2019 Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) Annual Meeting and will focus on the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. This year’s event is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 11-12 at the Joseph S. Koury Convention...

How you can benefit from church planter training

Planting a church is not an easy endeavor. It’s not for the faint of heart. Church planters face a variety of challenges and pressures that are often unique to your calling. There’s emotional pressure, financial pressure and not to mention spiritual pressure. These burdens can...

Celebrate ‘God’s Great Work’

It’s hard to believe, but this year’s annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) is only three months away. Planning for this year’s meeting has actually been going on for many months as a group of North Carolina Baptists who make up our Committee on...

NCMO Disaster Relief: Here to help

NCMO Disaster Relief: Here to help Hurricane Florence struck North Carolina in September 2018, leaving a sea of destruction in her wake. The storm’s heavy rains caused widespread inland flooding across the state as major rivers spilled over their banks. Roadways and highways...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

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

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!