Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 28, 1961

A "Cooperative" Effort

Peter J. Wilson, Kings Lynn, England

On August 16, I preached my first sermon in England to a group numbering about 45. My being here and having the opportunity to proclaim the gospel in this needy field is the result of a spirit of cooperation that has been heart warming to me and should be proof positive that those who may be opposed to human schemes and human organizations in doing the Lord's work are not opposed (as some falsely charge) to "cooperation in evangelism" or to "preaching the gospel in foreign fields." This cooperative effort had its beginning over a year ago when a group of brethren, composed mostly of Americans serving in the Air Force there, determined to sacrifice and save sufficient funds to bring a gospel preacher over from the United States to help them in their teaching program and to establish a permanent work among the English people in the area of King's Lynn, a town of about 30,000 on the Northeast coast of England. While there are some congregations of the Lord's church in the British Isles, there is not a congregation of English brethren that we know of in a radius of 100 miles of King's Lynn. It is to the credit of these young men that they not only had the faith and conviction necessary to carry on a regular program of worship and teaching in the face of the adverse circumstances that often accompany military service in a foreign country, but that they also were willing to make a considerable financial sacrifice in order to reach the thousands of lost souls all about them.

The next link in this cooperative effort was brother Bill Echols who preaches for the church in East Orange, New Jersey. Brother Echols, knowing of the need for a preacher in this area, wrote a brief "Macedonian Call' on behalf of the work and the Gospel Guardian cooperated in publishing the appeal.

Naturally this was a momentous decision on my part to leave an enjoyable and promising work on the West Coast and transport a family of seven almost 6,000 miles. There were many factors to be considered; a radical change in living conditions, an equally radical change of climate, a disruption of the older children's education, the disposing of furniture and car, etc. However, once again my family cooperated by encouraging me to make the decision that I felt compelled to make. I had long felt that far too much of the "mission work" both in the states and overseas had been left to younger and inexperienced men and this was an opportunity to demonstrate that conviction with concrete action. The faithful eldership of the Rose Ave. congregation in Bellflower, California, likewise cooperated by releasing me from my work there even though it meant an inconvenience and added expense to them.

When it came to raising my support this same spirit of cooperation prevailed. All of the congregations that I contacted I knew to be already burdened down with local Programs of work, building obligations, and the support of men in needy fields. The congregations at Sunnyvale, San Bernardino, Rose Ave. in Bellflower, Central in Norwalk, El Centro, and El Cajon, all in California were willing to assume a part of my support. It is a wonderful feeling to have the backing and prayers of such loyal congregations and faithful elderships in such an undertaking.

There are two things that have been re-impressed upon my mind in all this. First, that such Work does not necessitate a sponsoring church arrangement. If the gospel can be preached even to those on foreign soil, if preachers can launch out into needy fields with the support and encouragement of faithful congregations, if their needs can be supplied without a sponsoring church arrangement, then why have them? Brethren, we can unite upon the simple method used by Paul and the Philippian church in Phil. 4:15, 16, why then press a human arrangement that will divide churches and alienate brethren? Secondly, I have seen a definite trend toward greater evangelistic zeal among faithful brethren. While many misguided brethren are sapping their strength and spending their time and talent and money on social and recreational programs and promotional schemes for human organizations, there are thousands of brethren who are determined to do God's work in God's way and who are determined to sacrifice and work to make up for precious ground lost through needless and shameless division. Incidentally, my address in England is: Rosemary cottage, Ashwicken, King's Lynn, Norfolk, England. Will correspondents please take note. We solicit your prayers on our behalf in this work.