PREACH THE WORD.
This is the primary work of the church, 1 Tim. 3:15; Eph. 3:8-12; 4:1-16; 2 Cor. 11:8,9; Phil. 1:3-7. In this matter of preaching the gospel, some things are general in nature and would be included in the command to preach. Other things are specified and would necessarily exclude any addition or subtraction or substitution to that which is specified.
In general, the preaching can be done by the printed page, word of mouth, TV, radio, [internet], etc. But specifically, only the gospel can be preached and the church is the organization, the only organization, established by the Lord to do that preaching. In general, the idea of preaching and assemblying would of a necessity warrant a place to assemble. Whether the place is donated, rented, or purchased, makes no difference. All the needed equipment for carrying out a decent and orderly service is involved in the preaching command.
In this field of preaching, supporting a preacher might become necessary and would be scriptural to do so, 1 Cor. 9:6-14. But the means used, whether it be furnished in money, a house to live in, food to eat, car expenses, etc. are covered by the general idea of support. But the church cannot set up a preacher supporting agency, such as a missionary society, to do such supporting. Neither can one congregation set itself up as a receiving and disbursing agency to supply support to preachers with funds received from other congregations. Because approved apostolic example shows the way that support was handled in the New Testament days, 2 Cor. 11:8,9; Phil. 4:15-18. In spreading the gospel, each local congregation can use methods or means that are controlled and overseen by its own local elders. These methods or means fall into the general realm of how. Such as, gospel meetings radio programs, TV, tracts, etc. But in doing this spreading of the gospel, no congregation has the right to delegate any of its obligation or responsibility to another congregation or organization. Because each congre- gation is responsible for its own obligation in this field commensurate with its ability. Revelation, chapters 2 and 3. This is specifically WHO is to do the work.
Congregations can co-operate in preaching the gospel by each one as it is able sending directly to the preacher being supported. Sometimes one congregation cannot fully support a preacher, even the one preaching for it, in such situations the preacher can directly receive additional support from other congregations while preaching for that one congregation.
Whenever congregations are partially supporting preachers out in other fields, such support is to be sent directly to the preacher himself and not to the congregation in which he labors. There is to be no pooling of resources in the hands of one congregation to forward on to the preacher or congregation being helped. Why is this so? Because it is specified by example. Phil. 1:3-8; 4:15- 18; 2 Cor. 11:8,9. A preacher might be sent by one congregation to another congregation to preach the gospel. Barnabas was sent to Antioch by Jerusalem, Acts 11:22,23. Of course, the receiving congregation must be agreeable to having such preacher come to work with it. But why can't one congregation send money to another congregation to preach the gospel, if it can send and support a preacher for that congregation? Because we have scripture for one but not for the other. There is no example anywhere, where one congregation sent money to another congregation in order for the receiving congregation to be able to preach the gospel.
But what if a congregation wants to send a preacher into a foreign field to preach the gospel, but does not have enough resources to fully supply the needs of such preacher? In such case, the wants of the congregation are greater than its ability, therefore its wants are greater than its responsibility. Its responsibility is to be in keeping with its ability. If such congregation has a preacher in its midst that wants to go and preach in some other field but it is unable to furnish all the support for such a preacher, and other congregations have to send to that preacher in order to help supply his needs, it is not a matter of the first congregation sending out such preacher into a certain field any more than it is the matter of the other congregations that are helping to support him.
Sometimes you hear of a congregation "assuming" the oversight of a preacher that is going into a field to labor. The "assuming" congregation is not in and of itself able to supply all the needs of the preacher so it asks other congregations to help it in ITS "assumption" of the matter by sending it money to fulfill its "assumption". There is no scripure for such arrangement. No congregation has the right to "assume" anything that it is not, in and of itself, able to pay for.
Concerning the oversight of a preacher in the field. No congregation or congregations that are supporting a preacher as he preaches for another congregation, whether it be in this country or abroad, have the right of oversight of such preacher. His responsibility is to the congregation for which he is preaching and he is responsible to them. The only oversight that the supporting congregations have is over the money they are sending to him. If they are not pleased with what he is doing or what he is preaching, they have no right to try to discipline or rebuke the congregation of which he is a member. They only have the right to speak to him of their concern and if they are not pleased with his response they can cut off their support. They have no business in trying to run the business of another congregation. No "sponsoring" congregation has the right to hold control over properties being used by other congregations especially in foreign fields. No congregation, that is worth its salt, will allow another congregation to hold the deeds to the property in which it meets. No preacher, worth his salt, will work under such arrangement, where he and the congregation where he preaches, are said to be under the "oversight" of a congregation thousands of miles away.
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