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Interdependence among Independent Baptists The Bible's teaching that a church should be independent from the control of any type of outside human hierarchy is clear. Without a doubt, the Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23). However, what does the Bible teach about a church's interdependence? Is it biblical for churches to work together in accomplishing God's will—particularly when it comes to the Great Commission? As we consider the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul, we find a biblical pattern for missions. Although there were times when Paul had only one supporting church, this was not the norm (Philippians 4:15). We are probably safe to assume that Paul and Barnabas were supported financially by their sending church in Antioch (Acts David H. Snyder 13:1–3). Additionally, God used the churches in Macedonia to help President/General Director meet Paul's financial needs. Concerning the church in Philippi, it is directly stated that they sent once and again unto the Apostle's necessity (Philippians 4:16). Paul also mentions that he robbed other churches, taking wages of them in order to serve the church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:8). Then, in the following verse we find that which was lacking to Paul, the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied (2 Corinthians Voluntary fellowship and 11:9). After Paul's exhortation about giving, cooperation among sister one would hope that the church at Corinth cheerfully joined with the other churches in churches for common goals financially helping to preach the gospel in the and needs have been obvious regions beyond (2 Corinthians 10:16). since biblical times. It is interesting to note that the collection of the offerings given by the churches was organized. There was an unnamed spiritual brother who was chosen of the churches to help with the collection and distribution of the money that was given (2 Corinthians 8:18–19). One of the purposes for using this brother was to provide for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men (2 Corinthians 8:21). The role of the spiritual brother mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8 describes one aspect of the ministry entrusted to Baptist International Missions, Inc. BIMI has been “chosen” by some 7,000+ churches to distribute the offerings given by grace to over 1,000 missionaries in approximately 100 fields around the world. Our Mission was officially started in 1960 when several local churches saw the need to coordinate and expedite the process of getting independent Baptist missionaries to the field. 1 To this day, BIMI is governed by more than 20 independent Baptist pastors who serve as Trustees. In his book Issues in Missions Today, Dr. Les Frazier writes about the role of a mission board: The autonomy of a local church and the isolation of a local church are two different things. Voluntary fellowship and cooperation among sister churches for common goals and needs have been obvious since biblical times. This practice can be seen in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 among the churches of Macedonia and Achaia. They united their hearts and efforts to meet the need of the saints in Jerusalem and Judea. There was no organization with centralized power or with control over finances in the 2 BIMI WORLD Number 2, 2013