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2017 Sep EDN

Partnership for the Gospel
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel” (Philippians 1:3-6).
A “partnership” (κοινωνία) is a close association of individuals, a fellowship. Contemporary English uses the word “partnership” with the sense of a business friendship, or sometimes as a verb for a ministry asking for money (they want you to “partner” with them by giving money), the use of “partnership” (κοινωνία) in the first century was more complex. It is often used for close participation, where Scripture exhorts us to “participate” in the suffering of Jesus (Phil. 3:10); believers “participate” in the blood of Jesus (1 Cor. 10:16); and the mention of “participate” in sending famine relief (2 Cor. 8:4).
Applying this principle to churches today, and in particular, the Baptist Churches, which zealously uphold the concept of “autonomy” to the extent of going “solo” or “exclusivity” in fulfilling the Great Commission. While autonomy implies a church’s independence in decision-making (and direction), none of us can disagree with the truth that the Baptist’ autonomy is subsumed to Scripture. The church (bride of Christ) is pictured as a body, working in harmony (1 Corinthians 12). Believers are admonished for laziness (1Thess. 5:14). For Paul, and for all of us, as believers in the Gospel (Good News), it is crucial that the church(es) work together in mutual partnership through participation, not merely lip service.
A proper and true understanding of partnership calls for the Baptist churches to partner one another for the advancement of the Gospel the way the Philippians did; to use our various gifts in order to advance the gospel in the most effective way possible. Such a vibrant partnership and participation demonstrate an active gospel. The “better-resourced” member churches should come alongside and partner the “less-resource” churches.
We are one Baptist Family, comprising of more than 37 member churches. Embarking on the journey of partnership for the Gospel begins with pastors and lay leaders, working together to lead their flock, as well as to encourage the flock of another church(es). And what better and visible way to demonstrate this “oneness” is through the Baptist Pastor’s Pastors’ Day Appreciation Dinner!
Let us resound the Call for Partnership for the Gospel! And see you all at the Baptist Pastors’ Appreciation Dinner: “Rooted in the Past, Reaching for the Future!”
Blessings on behalf of Co-Labourers in the Convention,
Rev. Dr. Bobby Lee
Executive Director