Tony Wolfe is director of pastor/church relations for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
The Great Commission is the responsibility of the local church, where God expects each Christian to leverage his or her resources most effectively toward its fulfillment.
In this stewardship, churches must constantly evaluate their Kingdom partnerships.
Whether this partnership is with a local Baptist association, a state convention, a national entity, an individual missionary, community benevolence programs or any number of other good causes, it needs to be evaluated regularly. Every penny given through the local church deserves to be stewarded toward its maximization in Kingdom impact.
Here are four questions to ask when evaluating your Kingdom partnerships:
1) What do they believe about the Bible?
In Amos 3:3 God asks, “How can two walk together unless they agree?” Total agreement on every scriptural point is not likely, but the fundamental doctrines of the local church should be in harmony with those of her Kingdom partners.
Every congregation must decide which issues are peripheral and which are essential. Southern Baptists work together under the banner of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 in which essential doctrines are agreed upon such as biblical inerrancy, ecclesiological offices, the natures of God and of man, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, God’s design for human sexuality, and more.
If the Kingdom partner does not share your core convictions about the Bible, you will often find yourself misrepresented and frustrated. At least once each year, evaluate your Kingdom partnerships by asking the question, “What do they believe about the Bible?”
2) What, exactly, do they do with the funds?
The Lord Jesus asks in Luke 16:11, “If you have not been faithful with worldly wealth, who will trust you with what is genuine? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what is your own?”
Your church, as a matter of good management, should know where her Kingdom dollars are being spent. Of the funds your church invests in this organization, what percentage goes to overhead or administrative costs? What percentage goes to state, national and international Gospel-centered mission work? What percentage is directed toward ministries that complement or supplement your church’s areas of ministry need?
Too often churches give to Kingdom partners because that’s what they have always done, yet this is not a wise practice in the Kingdom of God. Every year, ask your Kingdom partners where, exactly, the money is spent.
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Source: Baptist Press