If we simply stayed at defining the boundaries, which is crucial, we would not have gospel partnership. Rather, we would have a gospel agreement, a group of people who agree on the gospel. This is different to gospel partnership. Gospel partnership has a purpose; it is a partnership for the sake of the gospel. That is, it is working together to see the gospel proclaimed and lived out.
But what will this working together for the sake of the gospel look like? There are a number of key areas involved in this, with much overlap between them. We shall look at the first two of these areas in this post, and shall examine the rest in the next couple of posts.
Further, we will need to defend against it. It is much easier to do this in the context of a partnership of brothers and sisters who are committed to the gospel, than on our own (especially if there are many who are being blown by this wind of new doctrine). Partnering together to defend the gospel will mean continually reminding one another of the gospel and helping one another to grown into a deeper knowledge of it, as well as helping one another to grapple with the issues that are thrown up by new winds of doctrine and articulating a clear biblical response to it. Not only that, but also helping the churches we serve to stand firm in the gospel and not to be swept away by any new teaching, whether it be through helping each other address it in our preaching and teaching or by producing resources for the average Christian in the churches we are serving.
The best way to defend the gospel is to proclaim it. This moves us on to a second key area: Proclaiming the gospel.
2) Proclaiming the Gospel
Under this heading come a number of things. This is a broad category which encompasses proclaiming the gospel locally, nationally and globally. The faithful, clear and prayerful proclamation of the biblical gospel is the heart of gospel partnership. It is what will shape the rest of gospel partnership.
ii) Nationally it will mean thinking, working and praying together about how we see the whole of our country (across any borders or boundaries there might be) brought under the sound of the gospel. This will mean that we are doing the above in supporting one another in different local areas across the country. It will involve working together to send out mission teams to different areas of the country. It will involve working together to see churches planted in areas where there are none presently. It will mean going or people to go to these unreached areas.
But what will this look like on the ground? For a start it will mean partnering with gospel workers and churches in different parts of the world in the ways that we have already outlined (obviously being adjusted to make allowances for the geographic limitations).
Further, it will mean that as partners together in the work of the gospel in our own country, we are working together to send missionaries out to all peoples. As well as raising up workers to send to various parts of our land, we are committed to raising them up to go even further afield and providing the resources to do so (training and resources will be discussed in a later post). This will involve working with existing missionary organisations, and thinking through how we ought to relate to them. But it does not mean assuming that this is the job of the missionary organisations, and that our churches need not play too much a part. The church is the primary means for the sending out of missionaries, and we must not abdicate our role. We need to be active in preparing and sending workers into the harvest field.