Partnerships in Ministry
It is no overstatement to assert that life is a collaborative effort. Almost without exception, one’s very survival—not only physically, but also emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually—most often depends on active support from other people. Certainly to flourish requires caring involvement from other human beings.
And so it is with Christian life and ministry. God has ordained that Christians not only are, but also that we act as a mutually supporting group—a family, in fact. Scripture is replete with examples and exhortations to such partnership in our common life.
The model of partnership does not begin in the New Testament, however. We see it throughout the Old Testament in the life of the ancient Israelites, whose overarching partnership coupled the “sacred” role of priestly service by the Levites with the “profane” role of the remaining 11 tribes charged with practically supporting not only themselves but also the Levites living among them.
During his itinerant ministry, Jesus sent advance teams—pairs of disciples—to prepare his way in the towns he himself would soon visit to announce the gospel. In Acts, the fledgling church met its members’ daily needs by sharing everything in common. And when the job of ensuring food for all became a challenging task, appointed supervisors assumed the job so the Twelve could fully pursue their main calling—namely, “prayer and the ministry of the word.” Later, during Paul’s evangelistic travels, the “untimely born” apostle collected money from far-flung Christian congregations to support financially the impoverished mother-church in Jerusalem. And elsewhere in Acts and the Epistles we read of elders and deacons charged with practical, administrative service to complement the teaching and preaching of the gospel by Paul and his protégés Timothy and Titus.
We can add to these partnerships in evangelism, community life, and spiritual ministry the practice of prayer. James, for example, prescribes intercessory prayer over the sick by a team of church elders. And simply gathering as a group in Christ’s name—even a small group of only two or three—ushers the Lord’s presence, always accompanied by his power.
At PTS we treasure our partnership with you as you continue to support our efforts for the Kingdom with your financial gifts, your volunteer activities, your encouragement, and your prayers.
The Rev. Dr. William J. Carl III
President and Professor of Homiletics
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