Relationships with other Churches

May 03, 2024 Brian W

"For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth."
[3 John 3–8 ESV]

Churches rarely think about other churches that are supporting their missionary. Think about how sweet it is when your good friends like one another or your parents and your in-laws get along well. So it is too when the broader family of the missionary’s family gets along with one another.

One way churches can serve their missionaries is to start, cultivate, and maintain relationships with the other churches that support their missionary. Not only with American churches, but this can also happen cross-culturally as we seek to treat churches in the host country as full churches due to the same respect and friendship as any church in America.  

I am not talking about erasing differences or pretending disagreements between churches do not exist. Still, I suggest that we focus on what unites a mission for Jesus Christ through our missionaries. 

John wrote that he had "no greater joy” than to hear of his fellow churches. While John may have had personal connections with the churches that the missionaries went to, the missionaries themselves were “strangers” to the churches, but they were treated as brothers. There are numerous ways that churches can serve their missionary and their mission better if they communicate with one another and talk to each other about the mission. To have the joy of knowing that there is a shared task and shared desire to see a mission accomplished and the gospel spread.

It is pretty common for believers in the church to be told, “There are no lone ranger Christians.” God did not mean for us to go it alone. Well, there are no “lone ranger” churches on a mission either. 

Other churches are very often involved in the mission right here in America, and indeed there are or will be in the host culture you are serving. Seek to know and help all the churches on the mission. Consider not only what your church can give but also what your church can receive. 

What do your sister churches have to teach you from their home culture? How might one or two members from a fellow church enhance your mission trip and make it more successful, and perhaps you can return that favor one day? The more the missionary sees the bonds of fellowship grow between all the churches they work with, the less lonely and isolated they will feel. Brothers and sisters, there is joy in fellowship on the mission if we but seek it.


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.