How Missions Is A Partnership

Why we are convinced the term ‘partners’ is more Biblical (and healthy) than ‘donors’.

I sometimes conceptualize missions as a stool supported by three legs: proclaimers, providers, and pray‐ers (or for a completely different set of labels we could use intercession, investment, and involvement). Without any one of these legs, missions simply cannot be sustained.

Which leads into my point… you may have noticed that we prefer the term ‘partner’ to ‘donor’ in our conversations and in our writing. This preference emerged from a study of how ministry was funded in the Bible. A crystal‐clear conviction emerged: God considers those who contribute financially to ministry to have a share in that ministry! Consider, for example, 3 John 8:

Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we may become co‐workers with the truth.

Echoing the same theme, Paul says the Philippians are sharing in the gospel (Philippians 1.5).

This is why we talk about building a support team rather than raising funds. The emphasis is on the relationships and not on the money.

Even more significantly, however, it forces us to remember that those who decide to aid us financially are, in actuality, joining us in our ministry: they become co‐workers with us.

How so? Think of it this way: your money is a representation of your life: it is what you get in exchange for time at work. By giving of that, it is as though you were taking time and serving on the mission field!

It’s kind of amazing when you think about it. We all have a part to play in the Kingdom of God. Some of us work in office buildings, some of us work in homes, and some of us work in churches, but we all work together. All are necessary for God’s work to go forward.

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