by Joni Wilkinson, Iowa WMU Coordinator,
Eleven Iowa WMU ladies from five BCI churches attended the 2016 National Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration in St. Louis, Missouri, June 11-12, 2016.
The highlight of the time was the presentation of the Dellanna West Obrien Award for Women’s Leadership to our very own Mindy Jamison, Co-Director of the Friendship Baptist Center in Des Moines. Mindy was accompanied by her husband Jon and daughter Maggie.
Iowa WMU nominated Mindy for this special recognition for her 17 years of ministry at the Friendship Center and for the many women she has mentored through the years as they ministered alongside her as volunteers, or summer or semester missionaries. Mindy had a significant impact on these women as they came to better understand God’s leadership in their lives.
Through the weekend of praise music, inspiring words from outgoing Executive Director, Wanda Lee, and newly re-elected National WMU President, Linda Cooper, members were encouraged to continue the mission of WMU. Moving messages by Jeff Iorg, President of Golden Gate Theological Seminary, and testimonies of North American and International Mission Board Missionaries motivated all attendees to “Go and Share the Gospel.”
We encourage women from all BCI churches to grow your WMU groups or investigate how a WMU organization in your church can assist in helping all Christian believers understand and be radically involved in the mission of God. For information, visit www.wmu.com, or contact Joni Wilkinson, BCI WMU Coordinator, 515-979-5414, email@example.com.
By Tanner Battles, Communications Director, First Family Church, Ankeny
After four years of studying at Boyce College and a year of interning at First Family Church, church planter Timur Nesbitt has headed home to Central Asia* to be a church planter.
Timur grew up an orphan, until he was adopted by the Nesbitts, a family on mission in his home country. It was through being brought up in a Christian home that he came to trust Jesus as his Savior. With a desire to reach his native people, Timur came to America to study missions and be trained to return to his home country with the gospel of Christ. He then spent a year as a pastoral intern at First Family in Ankeny, Iowa, under Pastor Todd Stiles, being a part of the different ministries there.
In June, he was ordained for gospel ministry and sent back to his home country to assist in the planting of churches and the furthering of the kingdom.
Please pray for Timur and his family as they boldly proclaim Christ to the people of Central Asia!
*due to security concerns, we must exclude the name of the country
By Pastor Ricky A. Rohrig Sr.
Crossroads Community Church were blessed to have a mission team from Utopia Baptist Church in Oklahoma come to Red Oak, Monday June 27th – Thursday June 30th. The team led ‘Submerged’ VBS at Crossroads Community Church. In addition, the team did some beautification and landscaping at The Good Samaritan Society of Red Oak in preparation for their 50th year celebration August 6th.
While here, the group from Oklahoma visited residents at Good Sam and Arlington Place and gave each resident a gift. “We had 2 children and one nursing home resident accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior,” says Pastor Ricky A. Rohrig Sr., founding pastor of Crossroads Community Church and Chaplain for Good Sam in Red Oak and Villisca. Crossroads next community event will be having a booth at the Montgomery County fair and a chance to win a 32” flat screen television and a blu-ray player. They will be hosting a mission team from North Nixa, Missouri the week of the fair.
By Pastor Gene Stockton,
America is a breeding ground for the great church experiment. We are surrounded by various styles and philosophies of church. The styles are typically influenced by music so churches get labeled contemporary, traditional or blended. The different philosophies of church are centered on the local body or denominational view of the Bible as well as how they see its mission. Those with a high view of scripture, read and understand it literally as an inerrant God-inspired work and those with a low view of scripture see it as a fallible human work. Those with a high view typically see missions in the context of spreading the gospel to the entire world. Those with a low view typically see missions more toward the spectrum of social justice.
As a conservative evangelical with a high view of scripture, I quickly see the fallacy and false teaching of those with a low view of scripture. However, we need to pay close attention to a dangerous shift in the evangelical church as well. There is a growing tension between a “come to me” and “go to them” mentality. The “come to me” crowd typically employs an attractional model that includes seeker-sensitive or seeker-friendly elements. They see the center of gravity for the church as the worship service. In contrast, the “go to them” pack employs a biblical discipleship model where Christians are trained and equipped to be sent out. They see the focus of their ministry beyond the brick where people are engaged with the gospel message.
According to Alan Hirsch in an article he wrote titled Defining Missional, “A missional community sees the mission as both its originating impulse and its organizing principle. Missional means to be sent into the world in contrast to expecting people to come to us.” Even though there is an element of church where we gather for worship, fellowship and discipleship the thrust is to go . . . to go into the neighborhood, workplace, marketplace and educational institutions armed with the message of the gospel. This shouldn’t surprise us since the Great Commission clearly states “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
If we are going to see church through the lens of the New Testament, Christians are missional with a church. We typically see the church as having a mission, but it is more accurate to see ourselves as missionaries with a church. The idea of containing, restraining and defining our ministry by an hour or so on Sunday morning in a building we call church is ludicrous. However, that is the practice of the average church in America. We even give to missionaries and take mission trips but still have the mentality that the church is a destination instead of a sending hub.
Instead of getting caught up in all of the trends that blow through the American church, we need to focus on obedience to scripture (the Word of God). What good is it if we gather a crowd if we aren’t making disciples? What good is it if we can impress people with our talent if our neighbors haven’t heard the gospel? There is a time and place for social justice, but missional Christians spread the gospel along every trail they walk, in every room they enter and among every crowd they contact. Our styles may differ but missional churches are filled with people that are on mission for Christ as they go and everywhere they go. Instead of being a laboratory for the next church experiment, lets determine to be missional—spreading the gospel everywhere we go.
Gene Stockton is Senior Pastor of Heartland Community Baptist Church in Sioux City.
by Joni Wilkinson, Iowa WMU Coordinator
Mindy Jamison will be honored at this year’s National WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in St. Louis. On Monday evening, June 13, Mindy will be presented the Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development by the WMU Foundation.
Mindy is co-director of the Friendship Baptist Center in Des Moines. The Friendship Baptist Center exists to build relationships in this poverty impacted community by offering empowerment through education, development and spiritual growth opportunities for kids, youth and adults. The Center reaches approximately 8,000 people annually, through Hunger, After-School and Conversational English ministries.
The WMU Missions Celebration is being held at the Ferrara Theatre at America’s Center, 701 Convention Plaza, St. Louis.
The evening session begins at 5:00 p.m. Mindy’s award will be presented following a message by Dr. Jeff Iorg, President of Golden Gate Theological Seminary.
We’d like to invite any of you who are in St. Louis to attend. It was a great honor for Iowa WMU to nominate Mindy for this award and so gratifying to learn that she will be the recipient. Well deserved! God is good.
by Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board.
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — I understand that Southern Baptists are concerned about baptism numbers and at the North American Mission Board we are as well. That is why at NAMB we are doing everything we can to stir up enough dust to get pastors to see the need to motivate and educate their people on how to share their faith and encourage them to get out there and do it.
Engage24 events — Beginning this fall, NAMB will sponsor a series of Engage24 conferences for pastors. The events will be led by pastors to help pastors engage their churches in evangelism. The three Engage24 events in 2016 will be held Aug. 18-19 at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn.; Sept. 1-2 at Lenexa Baptist Church near Kansas City; and Oct. 4-5 at NAMB’s headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga.
National Mobilizers for Evangelism — We will soon announce the names of pastors who will serve as National Mobilizers for Evangelism with NAMB. These pastors will continue in their current pastoring roles but also spend time stirring up a movement for evangelism among Southern Baptists.
2017 Crossover Phoenix Crusade — On the Saturday before next year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix, NAMB will partner with Harvest America to conduct a city-wide crusade. We have already secured the University of Phoenix Stadium for this event and you will want to make plans to come early and be part of this historic evangelistic effort.
Your Church On Mission blog — We have launched a new blog where we collect the best evangelism practices used by churches today, as well as interviews and guests posts from pastors. The blog already has several helpful posts and we are adding more all the time.
National Evangelism Response Center — We have upgraded our Evangelism Response Center so we can now respond to peoples’ spiritual needs in the ways they are most comfortable connecting with technology.
Send Relief — Our new compassion ministry initiative, Send Relief, will give churches and individuals ideas, resources and opportunities to serve locally and nationally as they meet physical needs while also sharing the hope of Christ. This will be a great way to build bridges for evangelism.
Apologetics — Our apologetics website recently received a brand new look and you can use it to search for reliable information about the most prominent world religions, cults and denominations. We will also be adding new apologetics resources soon.
God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS) — We continue working with churches and state partners to complete the GPS 2020 emphasis in the year 2020. You can find dozens of resources at GPS2020.net.
3 Circles — Our 3 Circles: Life Conversation Guide has been popular and effective with 1.87 million guides in print and 55,000 downloads of the app version. This is a great way to turn everyday conversations into Gospel conversations.
Church Planting — I believe church planting is the most effective evangelistic strategy of all. It’s the whole reason Paul and Barnabas left Antioch — to go out and start new churches that would reach new people for Christ. We will continue to help Southern Baptists become more involved in this priority.
I believe that together our Southern Baptist family can turn declining baptism numbers around. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to evangelism but every church and every believer is charged by Jesus to be evangelistic. The North American Mission Board can’t do that for you, but we are committed to providing resources and keeping the emphasis in front of Southern Baptists until all of us embrace what it means to live life on mission for Him.
By Julie McGowan
RICHMOND, Va. — In a year when International Mission Board and Woman’s Missionary Union leaders expressed a compelling drive to fulfill the Great Commission, Southern Baptists responded to the charge with resounding support through the 2015 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.
Finalized in early June, the 2015 Lottie Moon offering totaled $165.8 million — the highest total in the 127-year history of the offering. The offering surpassed the previous all-time record of $154 million in 2013 by $11.8 million. The 2014 Lottie Moon offering totaled just over $153 million.
“Southern Baptists have exhibited their commitment to God’s mission through these gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering,” said IMB President David Platt. “Especially after a year in which we have walked through many challenges together, the support Southern Baptists have shown through this offering will not only sustain but also encourage the thousands of missionaries sent from Southern Baptist churches who are spreading the gospel right now. As an IMB family, on behalf of unreached people around the world, we are deeply grateful for the generosity of Southern Baptists who have given for God’s glory among the nations.”
“In addition, we as an IMB and SBC family look forward to exploring in the days ahead how our cooperative giving can fuel an ever-increasing mission force taking the gospel to those who have never heard it,” Platt said. “Our times are too urgent, our opportunities are too great, and our gospel is too glorious to settle for anything less than wholehearted abandon as a convention of churches to seeing Christ proclaimed in every place and among every people group in the world.”
Wanda Lee, executive director/treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), which promotes the offering in partnership with IMB, expressed her gratitude for the gifts.
“With the inception of the first offering for international missions in 1888,” Lee said, “Southern Baptists were challenged to pray and give sacrificially so those who had not heard the gospel might have that opportunity. When Lottie Moon saw the depth of lostness in China and pled for help, churches responded with increased giving and prayer support. This year, we are grateful Southern Baptists responded once again at a critical time when increased resources are needed for our international outreach. How thankful we are for every person who gave and prayed, proving that together we can accomplish so much more than any one church or individual can alone.”
IMB leaders have deliberated and dreamed about the possibilities that lie before Southern Baptists to partner together to empower limitless missionary teams who are making disciples and multiplying churches among the unreached for the glory of God. That vision for the future includes “limitless” missionary teams, with the core of the IMB remaining “missionary teams” — healthy groups of “sent ones” who meet together regularly, care for each other selflessly, and partner with one another faithfully and fruitfully in the missionary task. The goal of each team is to make disciples and multiply churches. Ultimately, IMB’s work is focused on the unreached, “doing all of this because we love the glory of God more than our own lives,” Platt said.
Full-time missionaries are essential as leaders who continue to be the key strategic workers in some of the most difficult places on earth. More than 3,600 IMB missionaries depend on the Lottie Moon offering and regular missions giving by churches through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program for missionary salaries, housing, medical care, children’s education, field transportation and other expenses. Supporting one fully funded missionary overseas costs an average of $141 per day, or about $51,000 per year.
Every penny of the Lottie Moon offering, named for one of Southern Baptists’ most famous missionaries, goes to the IMB overseas budget, which directly supports missionaries and their work. The 2015 offering will account for more than half of the total 2016 IMB budget of $278,755,000, said Rodney Freeman, IMB treasurer and vice president of support services.
Counting the cost
Through their 2015 Lottie Moon offering gifts, Southern Baptists have acknowledged that the cost of reaching the lost is great — but the idea of not doing their part to reach them is unfathomable. Of the world’s 11,000 people groups, more than half — billions of people — are unreached with the gospel. This means there are those among whom Christ is largely unknown and the church is relatively insufficient to make Him known in its broader population without outside help. More than 3,000 unreached peoples are also unengaged, which means there is no one working to share Christ or plant churches among them.
The Lottie Moon offering enables missionaries to make a difference.
Consider the refugee crisis in Northern Africa and the Middle East. It’s hard to imagine anything but a continued descending darkness closing in on Syrian and Iraqi refugees. While images and reports of beheadings, cruelty and pure evil continue to shadow refugees — numbering in the millions — from any light of hope, there is hope in the good news of Jesus Christ.
Only a loving God Who cares deeply for all who are fleeing violence can push back that darkness. Christian worker Peter Matheson* works tirelessly to bring God’s hope to refugees. But his work comes at great cost to the many he serves and to him, personally, as he ministers in the midst of tremendous suffering. Through the support of Southern Baptists, Matheson has been able to work along the Syrian border, distributing boxes of food and other critical necessities.
“We are able, through the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, to focus 100 percent on the ministry that God has given us as workers … as laborers in the field,” Matheson said. “We’re able to give all of our attention to people who are hurting by ministering to their physical, emotional and, most importantly, their spiritual needs.”
Across the ocean, missionary Liesa Holeman found an unlikely inroad into difficult-to-access indigenous communities in Mexico right where she lives in the city of Oaxaca. During years of volunteering at the Casa Hogar children’s home in Oaxaca, Holeman has met dozens of families from indigenous villages that would have been too difficult for an outsider to access. Many of the families travel as many as 12 hours over steep, winding hills by bus to bring their children and sometimes adult family members to the children’s home for physical and emotional care.
Southern Baptists’ gifts enable Holeman to purchase the ministry supplies she uses at the children’s home, where partnering U.S. churches, including her home church, First Baptist Church of Oxford, Mississippi, send groups to share the gospel. There are still at least 10 unengaged, unreached people groups in Mexico alone, totaling more than 300,000 people who don’t have continual access to the gospel. And there are more than 30 unreached people groups in the country, representing nearly 1.5 million people.
The faithful service of these obedient servants, and thousands more, is sustained by Southern Baptists’ commitment to work together through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Cooperative Program. Millions — billions — of unreached lives are counting on it.
For more information about the missionaries supported by the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, additional financial information and other questions related to IMB, visit IMB.org/FAQ.
Julie McGowan is IMB public relations leader. Stories by Rolan Way and Kate Gregory contributed to this story.
By Michael Logan
RICHMOND, VA. (BP) – Clyde Meador and his wife, Elaine, who retire May 13 from the International Mission Board, are known among missionary teams for steady, unflappable leadership. Yet 41 years of service, with Clyde most recently serving as executive advisor to IMB’s president, testify to the Meadors’ simple steps of obedience even more than to their strategic insights and leadership.
“When you look at Clyde’s and Elaine’s lives, it’s step-by-step obedience in the same direction towards the Father’s will for their lives,” said John Brady, vice president for Global Engagement.
Clyde has worked closely with three IMB presidents as a top advisor and vice president, and even as the mission organization’s interim president from August 2010 to March 2011.
“When I first stepped into my role as president of the IMB, the first thing I did was ask Clyde to continue in leadership, for I could not imagine taking this responsibility without his leadership alongside me,” David Platt said.
Platt said he, like others within IMB, valued Clyde’s steady nature and wisdom. “His steadiness has been an anchor for the IMB during the ups and downs, trials and challenges that the IMB has experienced over the previous four decades.”
The Meadors began their careers with IMB in 1974 when they were appointed as missionaries to Indonesia. For the next 14 years, the couple served in a range of roles, with Clyde starting as a church planter in Medan, then training pastors and lay leaders in Semarang and later Purwokerto. In 1987 he became the mission administrator in Jakarta.
In 1989 Clyde took on leadership of the Southern Asia and Pacific Itinerant Mission. Former IMB President Jerry Rankin served as the Meadors’ area director at the time and noted that Clyde “had sound theology and was a strategic thinker. You saw this in how he led the itinerant missionary teams.”The itinerant approach was a creative innovation in a rapidly changing world, Rankin said. More than a decade before mission strategists had introduced concepts like Creative Access, Clyde and Elaine were leading roving teams of missionaries who moved in and out of South Asian countries on training circuits for local pastors and lay leaders.
Clyde and Elaine moved from leading the itinerant teams in the early ’90s to leading missionary teams across the South Asia, Pacific and Oceania regions as an associate director and then an area director.
Platt said Clyde’s deep relationship with Christ was the foundation for his long tenure of leadership. “His personal relationship with Christ is the spring from which everything in his life and leadership flows. He loves God, fears God, and lives to glorify God.”
Former IMB President Tom Elliff, who led the organization from 2011 to 2014, said there is an easy, trusting way about Clyde and Elaine.
“It is the authentic nature of Clyde’s and Elaine’s hearts that stands out most clearly to me,” Elliff said. “You can trust they will do what they say they will do. If they say that they are going to pray for you, they will. When they say that you are their friend, you are their friend. They remember their commitments. They don’t take these things lightly.”
Rankin, who worked with Clyde and Elaine for much of their mission careers, said the couple’s success as leaders also resided in their willingness to follow.
“You cannot be an effective leader without being an effective follower,” noted Rankin, whose 17-year presidency began in 1993 and ended with retirement in 2010. “Clyde is a leader, but he is also happy to work in that servant role. He is able to enjoy fulfillment and joy in knowing that he is contributing to making things happen. He didn’t seek the credit. He doesn’t need that.”
In 1998, Rankin asked Clyde to take on leadership of a massive new area which included all IMB missionary teams working in Central and Southern Asia, following Rankin’s decision in 1997 to rework the IMB’s structure and focus, an initiative called New Directions.
“New Directions launched a redeployment of our mission force to focus on engagement, to change our ethos to one of church planting, and to understand people groups,” Rankin said. “Clyde’s fingerprints are all over that.”
In 2001 Rankin asked the Meadors to move to Richmond and join the office of the president as part of Rankin’s leadership team. “I had a vision for where I knew we needed to go,” he said, “but it was people like Clyde and Elaine, with their humble leadership, that helped make it happen.”
Elliff agrees. “Clyde is one of the most humble people you will ever be around. He is not ignorant of what his talents are — nor is anyone else who works with him — but he never seeks to use those to lord it over anybody.
“Clyde was so good in working with me, with Jerry [Rankin] and, of late, with David [Platt],” Elliff said. “He would humbly come along behind and say, ‘You have the plan. Let’s talk about how I can help implement that plan.’ Not everybody is willing to do that, but Clyde could always see the big picture because, for him, it’s about the kingdom.”
This clear view of the kingdom of God often drew the Meadors to prayer, explained Darren Cantwell*, an IMB global strategist for South Asian peoples. Cantwell and his wife, Yvonne, have worked closely with the Meadors throughout their careers.
“It’s always been comforting to count on Elaine’s prayers through the years — whether for ministry or personal family requests,” he said. “As we served in leadership both in Southeast Asia and South Asia, Clyde and Elaine’s understanding of both of those areas has encouraged and helped us. We have often referred to Clyde’s articles on ‘The Five Sacrifices of Leadership’ and ‘The Left Side of the Graph.’”
“The IMB possesses a rich 170-year history of men and women who have faithfully served the Lord and His purposes in their day,” Platt said. “Clyde Meador is a bright star in that history, and as he retires now, I fully realize I am standing on the shoulders of a giant for whom I am most grateful to know, love and have served alongside.”
Michael Logan is a writer for IMB based in Richmond.
Reprinted from Baptist Press.
By Noel & Jill Gandy,
Noel and Jill Gandy, transplants from South Mississippi, have found themselves in Southwestern Iowa as NAMB missionaries. For several months the family sought God’s will for their lives in church planting. After visits to many areas around the country, the Gandys found themselves in Shenandoah, IA, a small town in the Southwestern corner of the state.
Located in Shenandoah is Memorial Baptist Church. Memorial closed its doors two and a half years ago after nearly 60 years of ministering to the Shenandoah area. The desire to replant had long been on Noel’s heart and he and his family decided to follow the Lord’s leading to replant Shenandoah. This comes after Noel’s 10 years of service in various staff positions and pastoral roles in Mississippi/Alabama churches, one of which included a revitalization project.
Memorial Baptist will reopen as Christ Point Baptist Church. Christ Point Baptist Church will target the lost in Shenandoah with nearly 5,200 residents. On average 1000 individuals will be in church regularly leaving a large gap of those who are unchurched. That means approximately 80% of the town is unreached. Iowa on the whole falls close to this number as well.
Noel, Jill, Charlie, 6, and Lucy Beth, 5, ask that you pray for the work in Shenandoah. God is already moving in the area! Please pray for the family as they minister.
While the building is functional, there are several maintenance projects to be considered. Teams from Mississippi, Missouri, and Iowa are already scheduled to help work in the church and town to see this new church replant take root. Please pray about being a part of the work in Shenandoah.
Not just try to avoid sin and generally be nice to people, but the instruction that Jesus wants us to follow is to "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations" Matthew 28:19
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