A New Testament Story of Partnership
Philippi was the only area Paul had a specific word from God to go to. In the nighttime vision, a man from Macedonia called him to “come over,” ( see Acts 16:9). Although Paul had little response to the Gospel in Philippi (two families and one demon possessed girl saved), he became lifelong partners with the people in the church there.
In Corinth, Paul ran out of money and all of his friends in ministry had been left behind at previous cities where he had ministered. Alone, he was forced to make tents to continue preaching and supplying for his daily needs. The saints at Philippi sensed Paul’s dilemma and sent him a large offering during their own financial distress. It was such a moving experience, that Paul mentioned it on three separate occasions! Paul told the Philippians, “…no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only” (see Philippians 4:15). Not everyone who prays for a ministry or gives to it is a true partner. Partners are few in the overall scheme of things, but they can make any good ministry a great success.
In the book of Philippians, the Greek word ‘koinonia’ is used five times. This word is usually translated fellowship, it is better translated as partnership. There are five ways the Philippians partnered with Paul and you can partner with our ministry or any other ministry that God leads you to partner with:
- In the Gospel
Philippians 1:5: “For your fellowship (partnership) in the Gospel from the first day until now…”
The first reason anyone should become a spiritual partner with a minister is to fulfill and assist in the great commission, the winning and discipling of souls. Paul mentions this first because it is the foundation of the partnership he had with the Philippians. The other four ways the Philippians partnered with Paul were built on this foundational one.
- In Grace
Philippians 1:7: “…both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers (partners) with me of grace.”
Whether in soul winning, making disciples or any response and rewards we see in our ministry, the glory goes to God. Any understanding of grace we have puts less emphasis on ourselves and gives more credit to the Lord. Our Gospel information, ability to speak, conviction to the sinner, and the new birth itself is a result of God’s grace. We can claim no credit in any of the process by which a sinner becomes a saint or a convert becomes a disciple.
- The Holy Spirit
Philippians 2:1: “…if there is any fellowship (partnership) of the Spirit”
All of God’s power comes to us through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God does not do or say anything on His own, but does and speaks what He sees from the Father. We have no partnership with each other without first having a partnership with the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit who links us with the Father and the Lord Jesus, making us partners with them, also links each of us together in the Body of Christ as partners.
- In Affliction
Philippians 4:14: “Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate (become partners) with my affliction.”
This is the area the Philippians put to the test and really became a blessing to Paul. Affliction is not always persecution, but partners stick with each other in good times and bad. Many people in church are supportive when the good times are rolling, but leave when another ministry becomes popular or the economy is bad. They’re with you when everything is great, but if the ministry receives any bad publicity or a friend complains about the way they were treated by the ministry staff, they leave. A true partner remains despite the circumstances or situations of life.
- In Giving
Philippians 4:15: “…no church communicated (partnered) with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.”
The last way Paul mentions partnership is in the giving of finances. When the four other elements of partnership are in place, financial giving is a natural response. So many times you only hear about money and there is no reason given for commitment. As partners, whether circumstances are good or bad, we give for the gospel, the grace of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit. The desire to give is the immediate choice. This is partnership that produces results.
An Invitation to Partner with Gospel Harvest International
As a ministry, we will continue in what God has called us to. We are looking for good and faithful partners to team up with us in the furtherance of the Gospel and the teaching of the Word of God. Our call is to take the harvest of souls in Africa, and be supportive to pastors in establishing a New Testament pattern of church structure and action.
I would like for you to partner with us in the Gospel, in grace, in the power of the Holy Spirit, in good and bad times, and in financial support. This would not be your tithes to be given to your local church, but would be in addition, no matter how little or much. What can you purpose in your heart to do? Whatever it is, we would rejoice to have you stand with us in the producing of eternal fruit and rewards.