“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” Phil 1:3-5
While I was on vacation, it was a good time to revisit some books on my kindle that I hadn’t finished. One I read was “True Community: The Biblical Practice of Koinonia” by Jerry Bridges. There is one chapter in this book that was perfect for this week of vacation when we visited two churches — one in Portland and one in Lubbock, Texas. This chapter was about how we need to be partners in the gospel with Christians in other locations.
Bridges describes the meaning of the word used for “partnership” in Philippians 1, “koinonia,” as a commercial business association. He said that Paul, “considered those dear friends in Philippi to be actively engaged with him in the spreading of the gospel to other cities, even though most of them never left Philippi.”
Bridges pointed out that most of us just think of fellowship with other believers like a sort of social interaction and spiritual edification, but we don’t think of ourselves as being in partnership with them. The thing that struck me was that Bridges pointed out that we all have the great commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel. But most of us will never make it our of our hometowns.
Yes, we need to reach out to those in our area, but we also have a responsibility to participate in the great commission by building partnerships with sister churches.
- We need to give materially to support other churches. Paul wrote, “when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only.” (Phil 4:15) The Philippian church teamed up with Paul and supported his missionary work through their gifts to him. The cool thing about this is that when we do this, we are assured of a spiritual return on our investment! “Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.” Phil 4:17
- We need to pray for other churches. The Philippians were praying for Paul. In joy, he told them, “I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” (Phil 1:19) In several of his letters Paul pleaded for prayers for his ministry. “Brothers, pray for us.” (I Thes 5:25) “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” (Eph 6:19) “If we are truly to be partners in the gospel, we must commit ourselves to pray for missionaries. . .in a consistent, meaningful way,” said Bridges. He encouraged us to pray specific prayers for ministries, not just general “bless them” prayers.
So I have started praying for other ministries around the world more. The perfect place to start is by praying for the churches we visited — those in Portland and Lubbock. Both churches had great people who were so passionate about God. I was inspired, and filled with excitement to see these churches grow and be used by God!
I have been coming across things in Facebook involving ministry needs to pray for. Here are a couple of pictures I’ve printed out and put on my refrigerator as a reminder to pray. One shows the sending off of five disciples who will be giving themselves to do the One Year Challenge in Beirut. The other shows a church in the Philippines that is going through struggles.
Amen! I love this new focus. I love thinking of my brothers and sisters in churches around the world who are pouring out their heart to others in the hope that they will become Christians, who are joyfully enduring challenges because they want others to know how wonderful love and Lordship is. May we all exemplify the spirit of what Paul wrote in Romans 15:30:
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.”