Dr Bauder: Baptist Church Cooperation

Comment: Three good articles from Dr Bauder.

Baptist Church Cooperation


It is the New Testament pattern of autonomous congregations cooperating with each other. For example, the book of Acts narrates an ongoing exchange between Jerusalem and Antioch, in which the so-called Jerusalem Council (really a local church’s business meeting, Acts 15) is only one episode. The churches of Macedonia and Achaia clearly cooperated in a voluntary endeavor to raise funds for the poor saints at Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8-9). Members from a variety of local churches cooperated together on Paul’s missionary teams (Barnabas, Silas, John Mark, Timothy, Demas, Secundus, Titus, Gaius, and Aristarchus, among others). Voluntary cooperation between churches of like faith and order, or between members of those churches, has good precedent in the New Testament. Baptists have sought to follow that pattern.

Baptist Church Cooperation: Part Two: The Associational Principle


Baptist churches may organize associations for a variety of purposes. They may meet for simple fellowship, or they may pursue some sort of cooperative effort. Associations often create institutions such as schools or sending agencies (for missions). They may also organize institutions for other purposes. The institutions are then held accountable by the association, either directly or through some sort of legal link. For example, the association may act as the governing board of the institution, the governing board may be elected directly by the messengers at the association meeting, or the board may be appointed by the elected officers of the association.

Baptist Church Cooperation: Part Three: The Service Organization


Service organizations are still common among Baptists, and especially among Baptists of the more independent variety. Many of the prominent mission agencies are organized on this model. Examples include the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, Baptist Mid-Missions, Baptist World Mission, and Evangelical Baptist Missions. Camps are often structured as service organizations, as are educational institutions such as Faith Baptist Bible College (Ankeny, Iowa) and Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, Minnesota).

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