3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

Church is a team sport. None of us are meant to live the Christian life in isolation. God has redeemed individuals together into the collective group of the church to love and serve Him together. It’s not always easy and sometimes the difficulty of it might cause us look around at others, or, better yet, at ourselves, and wonder, “Why did God do it this way?” However, the organization of God’s church values both the individual members as well as the group. Each person has been given a particular spiritual gift to build the church and help spur her on in mission. Because everyone has a different gifting the church works best when we partner together.

Paul prayed for his friends with joy because of their partnership in the gospel ministry. He didn’t have to spread the gospel alone, nor did he attempt to. The Philippian Christians, along with other believers throughout the ancient world, participated in Paul’s efforts to spread the gospel; they shared his missionary zeal and contributed to the work God had called them all to do.

Being a partner in grace means more than just receiving saving grace; we share together in the struggle for making the gospel known (1:29-30). We display our partnership in loyalty to God, His mission, and each other. We commit ourselves to prayer, financial support, and our individual contributions to the work of ministry. Our collective giftedness means we can accomplish God’s will more effectively together. Every believer in Christ is a partner in ministry!

• What does it mean to you that Paul said he prayed “with joy”? Why should partnering with other believers bring us joy?

• Do you consider yourself a partner in gospel ministry? Why or why not?

• Thank God for the community of faith He has drawn together in the gospel. Praise the Lord for gifting the saints for service in the kingdom. Pray that we would be a people who joyfully come together with other believers to fulfill the mission of the church.