God’s Plan for Shared Mission
Christians give to God; but the immediate recipients are our churches. The church is the body of Christ, going in his name, touching with his love, and telling of his salvation. Southern Baptists value each church’s autonomy; but they believe that the best way to accomplish the great commission of Christ is to share the mission.
In Philippians 1:5 Paul describes God’s ideal for the church’s approach to missions as
“… your fellowship in the gospel.”
Cooperation in missions is a spiritual fellowship, not merely an organizational technique. And Christians who share the work of missions begin to experience God’s blessing in spiritual unity, as Paul described in Ephesians 4:11-16.
Our Cooperation is Based on Shared Beliefs
Cooperation is the natural answer to missions when we share beliefs. All genuine Christians share certain beliefs about man, sin, Christ, and salvation. In addition to the basics, Southern Baptists have other biblical convictions in common that make it even more natural for us to share the commission of Christ as a group. In fact, it is Baptists’ commitment to Bible truths that makes it possible for us to cooperate in teaching the Bible and preaching the gospel with one voice.
We are Motivated by Shared Commission
When Jesus gave his great commission, he gave it to his disciples together. And Paul later wrote of all Christians “We are laborers together with God” (1Cor. 3:9). Even today when there are hundreds of denominations, true Christians frequently cooperate in community evangelism or ministry. But the greatest opportunity sharing the mission of Christ is within our own denominations. We who agree greatly about our faith must give together and work together to tell the gospel.
We are Inspired to One Strategy
Baptists have discovered that the secret of success in sharing the gospel with the world is churches cooperating internally, and many churches working together to make Christ known. The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ strategy for churches to give together to support missionaries, seminaries and other ministries that we could not undertake alone.
Southern Baptist have discovered that in sharing the common goal of taking the gospel to the world, God has remarkably unified us. This is actually Jesus’ desire for his church: that we “mind the same thing” (Phil. 3:16); and as we do the Holy Spirit unifies us. Cooperation is the pathway to Christian unity.
Written by: Robert Simms