A Partnership of Giving and Receiving [Philippians 4:15]

March 08, 2024 Brian W

"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." [Philippians 4:15 ESV]
                 
Churches often neglect to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for their missionaries that are working around the world.

Missionaries extend the reach and ministry of the church in profound ways that the congregation does not always appreciate. We sometimes let our relationships grow emotionally distant. The missionary becomes a “they” and "we," the church supports "them", the missionary. That is not the language of partnership.  

One way to break that cycle of emotional distance is to make a big deal of what the missionary gives the church. Take time to explain the spiritual blessing of the church ministering, through their missionary, on the field. Ask the missionary to cultivate prayers for the church among the believers the church serves on the field as another way to create a sense of fellowship. Reading letters from fellow pastors and elders from the people your church serves speaks to problems and challenges in the church. Reaching out to the missionary to gain insights from the field that might illuminate a passage of Scripture in a new light for an American congregation can be surprisingly effective. Remind the church of the missionary’s valuable ministry at the church the last time they were there. Asking for the missionary to bless the church and allowing them to do so makes that last part easier.

Reminding the church what they gain, to their credit, for supporting a missionary creates a feeling of gratitude in the church that leads to action to show the missionary their appreciation for what they do and how they sacrifice. It can also challenge the church to think more deeply about building genuine partnerships of giving and receiving. In cross-cultural situations, are we willing to ask advice from our fellow elders and pastors overseas? Might we learn how to give in our wealth if we share examples of how our brothers and sisters give in their poverty?

When we allow the missionary and the people group we serve to serve us, in turn, we show mutual gratitude and appreciation that grows into genuine care, fellowship, and love. When that happens, there will be no need to inspire your congregation to serve the people on the field. Sometimes the best way to get your people to serve their missionary is to empower your missionary to serve your people. Partnerships tend to work that way.

Read other articles in this series: Biblical Roles in Missions
What it means to Send, Part I
What it means to Send, Part I
Apr 01, 2024 4 min · Brian W Before we can define a sending church, we need to see how Scripture looks at it, especially in terms of the “setting apart” and the sending forth functions the Holy Spirit has empowered the church to do.… Read More
The Holy Spirit Calls – Biblical Roles, Part II
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Mar 25, 2024 3 min · David S In the intricate tapestry of Luke’s narrative, Acts 13:2 illuminates a profound truth: the divine call to mission emanates not from mere human ambition, but from the sovereign will of God, facilitated… Read More
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Foundation of the Call
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Nov 27, 2023 4 min · David S Faith missions can sometimes resemble the untamed frontier of the Wild West in early America. Mission fields are like rugged frontiers, and missionaries take on the roles of pioneers. They must make swift… Read More

Author

Brian W
Brian served 14 years in the Republic of Georgia, where he started a youth ministry, discipled new leaders, and planted over 15 new churches before serving in leadership of another missions organization. Brian is married to Maia and they have two children.