In Philippians 1:3-5, Paul writes, “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.”
I love that phrase, “partnership in the gospel.” Missionaries and their supporting churches should exchange more than just a check and a couple of emails each year. The idea of a “partnership” demands more, that we as a supporting church might GIVE sacrificially, GO serve alongside them, and live worthy of the GOSPEL.
The Philippian Church gave sacrificially to Paul’s missionary efforts while he was in Corinth, Thessalonica, and finally, in Rome. They were so generous in their financial support of missions that Paul began to brag about just how committed they were.
He writes in 2 Corinthians 8:1-3, “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord…”
Paul writes, “Their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity…they gave beyond their means.” Who are these people?! The Philippians gave sacrificially to see hope spread around the world.
When Paul was in Corinth they came to him and helped to meet his needs. When Paul was in Thessalonica they sent him aid. And finally, when he was imprisoned in Rome, Epaphroditus risked his life to help provide him the basic necessities of food and clothing.
If you want to cultivate a partnership with a “Philippian Approach”, is no substitute for refreshing the souls of others through serving alongside them. Sure, in the digital age in which we live you can send someone a message or even money without physically visiting them. Do we underestimate the transformational effect of fellowship?
But perhaps the biggest source of Paul’s joy in their partnership was that the Philippians truly believed and lived out their faith in the midst of suffering! Christ’s life, death and resurrection, the hope of the Gospel, had a transforming effect on their lives and the culture of their community.
In order to cultivate genuine partnerships with the 36 missionary families we support, we must GIVE sacrificially, GO serve alongside them, and live worthy of the GOSPEL.
And we hope that those of you in the TCC community might consider serving in May with our Haiti team, alongside missionary partner Gladys Thomas, president of the US Foundation for the Children of Haiti. (Click here for more information)
*To find out more about our missionary partners, click the missions and outreach tab on our homepage.