Keeping Connected

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llm_mar14_foundationThe church’s greatest missionary, Paul, knew the importance of keeping churches engaged locally and globally. Without electronic tools, Paul connected churches and built partnerships (Philippians 1:5) through letters. Partnerships still benefit the church today.

The local church’s prayer ministry is greatly enhanced by its global reach. Staying in touch with worldwide partners informs our prayers. We avoid mundane and selfish praying when we hear the urgent request, “pray for us” (Colossians 4:3). We remember to pray for the gospel’s extension (Colossians 4:2–6).

Sharing our material resources is vital in assisting the global church in times of natural disasters, famine and war. Assistance is an act of worship and a pleasing sacrifice to God (1 Corinthians 16:1–4; Philippians 4:14–20).

Keeping connected globally addresses the needs of people in crisis and demonstrates our obedience to God (1 Corinthians 9:13). It involves matching our confession of the gospel with appropriate good works — what John Wesley called “faith working by love.”

We are often sheltered from the harsh realities of suffering and persecution our brothers and sisters in other lands experience. Our relationship with effective ministries around the world allows us to participate in some measure with their sufferings (2 Corinthians 1:3–7; 8:1–15).

Global connections prove invaluable when people from other cultures show up in our neighborhoods. Such partnerships can provide us with insights for relevant ministries for newcomers.

The local-global focus is reciprocal. The material and spiritual resources flow in both directions. Many participants in short-term mission trips testify that they were more ministered to than they ministered to others. The global church’s commitment, sacrifice and joy stir and challenge the church here.

The local church’s prayer life, discipleship, worship and outreach are enhanced immeasurably by global connections.

SCRIPTURE:

1 Corinthians 9:13
1 Corinthians16:1–4
2 Corinthians 1:3–7
2 Corinthians 8:1–15
Philippians 1:5
Philippians 4:14–20
Colossians 4:2–6

Joe Culumber, an ordained elder, serves as the missional strategist for the First FMC in Seattle.