“Fellowship in the Gospel Ministries”
The name that we chose for our ministry came very naturally after serving twelve years as Missionary Field Coordinators to Haiti. We always felt a bit like “match-makers”, as we went about bringing different members of The Body of Christ together in working relationships for the cause of Christ.
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Church in Philippi, expressed from prison his deep appreciation and heart-felt bond with these people that were such an encouragement to him throughout his ministry of the Gospel of Christ. In Philippians 1:3-5 we read, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.”
That English word “fellowship” is translated from the Greek word κοίνωνία, pronounced koy-no-knee’-ah, and it literally means “to have a participation in” something. In this context, it described the partnership role that the Philippian Church had in Paul’s evangelistic and church planting ministry, as he continued to travel beyond Philippi preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In select verses from Chapter 4 we read, “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity…Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity…I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.”
The neat thing is that while we do not know what “things” this church sent to Paul in his imprisonment for the Gospel, it was both a great encouragement to him (“I am full”), and he knew that their gift – this token of their love and proof of their mindfulness of him in his work and in his affliction, would be like an odor or “sweet smelling sacrifice” in the Nostrils of the Almighty God of Heaven. What a blessed and precious fellowship!
Through our ministry, Janice and I hope to promote and maintain working “Fellowships in the Gospel” such as these, between various members of The Body of Christ to allow them to care for and encourage one another, just as Paul and the Church of Philippi did. Perhaps we can be the “Epaphrodituses” serving as the liaisons in such partnerships that bear much fruit for Christ, as we work together to better obey The Great Commission. Is it possible that we could get more done together, than we could by working alone? It seemed to work that way for Paul and his various companions and the churches that followed his ministry closely.
Who could you be an encouragement to? Who could you, and maybe your family or church, be praying for that might be in some degree of affliction, especially because of the Gospel? Is there some way that a brother or sister working on a foreign field might be able to encourage you in your walk and work for The Lord? We encourage you to think, and maybe even pray about it. If we can introduce you to some of the Brothers and Sisters that you have never met, what a joy and privilege that would be! Who knows what friendships – what fellowships that might initiate?