My fondest memories in ministry are rooted in partnerships. I still remember the joy when our church and school came together to raise $2.5 million so we could expand our facilities and double the size of our school. Hundreds of people pulled together to make that possible, and thousands of students benefited from their sacrifice.
A few years later, I was thrilled when our church partnered with five other congregations in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to train 30 pastors and church planters in Ivanovo, Russia. Dozens of churches now stand as a gospel witness in a region that desperately needs Christ.
In 2012, I was shocked when I returned to a church in Kathmandu, Nepal, to do leadership training, and discovered the church met in a new location but in the same building. Because the church’s land lease had been revoked, the 100 or so members took the building apart brick by brick, carried the materials in knapsacks for more than two miles, and put the building back together in a new location. A few months later, they would have to repeat the process when their new lease ran out. That’s when 70 churches in India gave $5,000 to match the $5,000 the Nepali church had raised. My church matched the total with a donation of $10,000, and this church in Nepal was able to rebuild on its own piece of land in a growing area of the city.
Partnerships work. They allow us to do what we could never do alone. This is what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:14–17.
“Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.”
Successful church plants don’t happen in a vacuum. They are the result of healthy partnerships—churches coming together to expand the impact of the gospel in a given region. The GARBC has developed that kind of opportunity for our association of churches. Regular Baptist Church Planting is designed to bring churches and agencies together to plant new churches committed to evangelizing communities for God’s glory. It’s not enough to verbalize support. This partnership won’t work without you; we need to pull together in a tangible way.
How you can you help? Sign up for the “From Our Knees” 30-Day Prayer Challenge. Ask your people to participate in an offering that will help fund five new church plants in 2017. You can get the details you need at www.rbChurchPlanting.org/prayer.
Don’t settle for fellowship when you can engage in a significant partnership. As Paul said in Philippians 4, “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.”
National Church Planting Coordinator
for Regular Baptist Ministries