The Value of Associated Work

The term “association” is never used in the Bible, but its premise is exemplified throughout the New Testament. The term itself means to, “fellowship, and the word fellowship means unity of purpose and effort.” (See Baptist History by Dr. L.L. Clover, page 145) Much like the word “Rapture,” the term “association” has biblical support and is an acceptable term to use to describe the relationship between the Lord’s churches. While Jesus never ordained a particular association, an association between churches has a great purpose.

Because of many other organizations, much confusion exists today concerning the exact idea of what an association is and what it does. An association is a fellowship of churches and not an oversight for churches. An association does not have the authority of a church. Nor is an association a “preacher’s club” for pastors to subscribe to in order to fill vacant pulpits. While some Baptist groups may subscribe to other types of establishments, the early churches mentioned in the Bible set the pattern for which we should follow.

We find that a letter of recommendation concerning Apollos was exchanged between the church at Ephesus and the church at Corinth (Acts 18:27). The churches of certain regions had fellowship together, such as the ones of Galatia, Judea, and Asia (Gal. 1:2, 22; Rev. 1:4). Collections were taken to assist other churches in times of need (1 Cor. 16:1-3; Rom. 15:25-26). The support of missionaries by churches other than the sending church occurred during the ministry of Paul (2 Cor. 11:8-9; Phil. 4:15-17). A church even sought the doctrinal advice of another church prior to the completion of the Bible (Acts 15). The advising church had Apostles who had the authority to dispense the revelation that is now contained in God’s Word.

Association of churches is not just Scriptural, but beneficial as well. The messengers and officers of associations are servants of the churches and are tasked with the responsibility to assist them in accordance with God’s Word. Churches find great blessings in both serving and receiving from other churches.

In His Service,
Nathan Luellen
Secretary/Treasurer of Missions