Chapter 68: Partners & Predators
Missional ministry is no business for ‘lone rangers’: several contributors must cooperate to make missions possible. John’s partner-model includes facilitators, senders and sent ones. Jesus’ missionary model includes ‘church’, training and sending. Partnerships should not lead to financial dependence on foreigners.
Sometimes, mission-loving churches have mission-hating members or pastors. On occasion outside help is needed to sort such matters out.
To … Gaius … It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness … in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told … about your love. You will do well to send them on their way … It was for the sake of the Name that they went out … We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth (3 John :1,3-8)
John’s church sent missionaries, people who went out to preach the gospel in other areas. When traveling, they visited Gaius and his church. So the missionaries maintained contact and relationships between their churches. News was exchanged among them: Gaius and his church became informed about what went on in John’s church in Ephesus, and vice versa. When the missionaries came back, they reported to John that Gaius led a healthy spiritual life, and that his church members had been very helpful to them. And so we see three groups who depended on each other’s help:
Firstly, the church in Ephesus, the sending body who took spiritual and material responsibility for the missionaries, the second group, the sent ones. They were the voice of the church in Ephesus, preaching the gospel where the church could not go. The third body was Gaius’ church, who helped the missionaries with hospitality and supplies. They were a facilitating partner, which made sure that the gospel could reach farther away.