(This message was originally published on April 9, 2014) In my email this week, I'd like to share with you three principles for our Cooperative Partnership as churches united together as Southern Baptist churches with the SBC of Virginia.
Before I go any further, here is a link to a video we produced to help you celebrate with your church our Cooperative Partnership as Southern Baptists, and other resources to celebrate and communicate or partnership are at www.sbcv.org:
Together we obey a Biblical Mandate...
Matthew 28:18-20 is simply and often referred to as The Great Commission.
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
As followers of Christ we are called to "make disciples." We are given a biblical mandate in these Bible verses and others to make disciples, to go, baptize, and teach them. This call to make disciples is given to all of us. Each and every Christian, each and every church is to obey Christ in this mission. We all know and understand that very familiar command.
Together we have a Global Strategy...
I find it interesting that someone decided at some time to begin referring to this Scripture as The Great Commission. The reality is that this is a GREAT commission. To make disciples of all nations is no small task.
By joining together as Southern Baptists in a cooperative partnership, we give through what is called our Cooperative Program, we mobilize for praying, giving, and going in obedience to the call to make disciples of all nations. It is a unified and regular way churches support an entire global strategy to make disciples across Virginia, America, and around the world.
The churches that unite together as Southern Baptist churches make disciples through a global strategy that assists churches to plant churches, reach different people groups and send missionaries to the nations. That same global strategy helps strengthen and support church leaders and future leaders, provides education for ministers, opportunities for students, responds to hunger and disasters, as well as the needs of our neighbors and the nations.
In Virginia alone, we are seeing churches unite to plant churches to reach various people groups and communities in need; we are seeing churches unite to strengthen one another as disciple makers; we are seeing churches unite to support missionaries and ministry on a global scale.
Together we provide Mutual Support...
As a follower of Jesus, you give to the Lord's work as a response to His grace and in grateful obedience. As a church, we give from these tithes and offerings to support on a regular basis ministries and missionaries that are part of our unified, global strategy. Because of your partnership with Southern Baptists as an SBC of Virginia church, missionaries receive ongoing, mutual support from multiple churches. This insures that your missionaries can serve without added pressures. Seminary students are educating without mounting massive student loans. Churches are planted and strengthened.
At http://www.sbcv.org/articles/category/cooperative_program you can find articles on how our Cooperative Partnership through the Cooperative Program is making a difference. You can also find resources like our "52 Sundays" resource that will assist you in leading your church to obey this biblical mandate, with a global strategy, through mutual support.