In Southern Baptist life, a long-held principle of cooperation has advanced the cause of missions and ministry for over 150 years: we can accomplish more together than we can alone. Although this principle most often finds its application in the Cooperative Program discussion, it is true outside of it as well. First, it recognizes one church or institution doesn’t have the resources (finances, time, talent, connections, etc.) to meet every need adequately. It recognizes that one church or institution trying to do too many things at once won’t do all of them well. Finally, it recognizes that the church or institution acknowledges its limitations and is willing to say, “We can’t, but we can help.” I believe in partnerships, for they are biblical and wise. As a Southern Baptist church, we are ministry partners, beginning at our local association and as a national convention of churches supporting missionaries, seminaries, church planters, and many other ministries through our unified giving, bound together by an agreed-upon doctrinal statement of faith. I want to share two new partnerships our church – First Baptist Church, Perry, Florida, has entered into recently that I am excited about.
Iglesia Bautista Piedra Angular. For years, we have been praying for a church plant among the Hispanic community in Perry. Within the past year, a husband and wife stepped forward at Midway Baptist Church, believing God had called them to plant a church in this community – an answer to the prayers of many people. We knew that we didn’t have what was needed to plant this church. Instead of trying to do something we couldn’t and possibly harming future efforts, First Baptist agreed to partner with them in their work. Our partnership involves prayer, financial, and other material support (training, meeting space, etc.) We couldn’t do this alone, but we can help this church reach the segment of the community the Lord has called them to reach. Together we will do more.
North Florida Pregnancy Care Center. The overturning of Roe v Wade was an answer to prayer. The church rejoiced, rightfully so. However, we knew the church would need to engage further with those pro-life ministries already serving women at the point of life-altering decisions and would, prayerfully, have the opportunity to help more women. So our Missions Team began to pray about how we would involve ourselves in this work. We contacted our closest faith-based pregnancy care center and discussed their ministry and what a partnership would look like. At that point, Perry was not served by any pregnancy or crisis care center. We believed this was the right choice after listening to the staff and their vision for helping women and families. But, again, First Baptist didn’t have what was needed to start this ministry on our own. So, we agreed to partner with them in their work. Our partnership involves financial support and space one day a week every month for the center to park their mobile pregnancy care center with ultrasound capability at our campus for walk-up clients. This partnership brings the presence of a pregnancy care center to our county.