The early Apostles must have tragically misunderstood the Great Commission. Or did they? Judging by the practice of many denominations and the priority reflected in many church budgets, the Apostles should have stayed in Palestine to refine the disciple-making process, or possibly they should have worked in food pantries and homeless shelters or chaired their local church building committee. Or they could have focused on the latest media craze or youth ministry strategy.
One of the key means for churches to be strategically and effectively engaged in completing the Great Commission is through intentional partnership with a church in another part of the world. This is far more than having a “‘sister church” in another country—though well intentioned, this may be no more than a picture and a paragraph, a sort of spiritual pen pal marked by a pin on the map. Genuine collaborative partnership that has lasting impact on the world mission mandate given us by the Lord Jesus Christ must be about what the partner church needs at the time, not simply what we want to give.
Benevolence is defined as “1. The desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness; and 2. An act of kindness; good done; charity given.”1 However, benevolence in most of our churches has come to simply mean “the money that we disburse regularly that supports work beyond our church walls.” Unfortunately, it encourages the misconception that weʼre giving the money away because weʼre being generous and charitable.