by Kevin Ezell
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — Not long ago I had the privilege of visiting with 1,200 college students for the weekly meeting of The Salt Company, a ministry of Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa, near the campus of Iowa State University. Cornerstone was birthed from The Salt Company 21 years ago. The goal of The Salt Company was to reach students at Iowa State for Christ and today this ministry keeps that as its primary goal.
Two years ago Cornerstone planted Candeo church in Waterloo, Iowa, near the University of Northern Iowa. Already it averages more than 500 each week in attendance and the church is baptizing new believers on a regular basis.
A great many of the students attending The Salt Company each week are already living a “send me” lifestyle. Hundreds gather every Monday morning to pray for friends who don’t know Christ. They’re committed to discipling young believers and over the years hundreds have given a semester to serve in overseas missions.
Most of us are familiar with Isaiah 6:8 when the prophet hears God ask, “Who should I send? Who shall go for us?” and Isaiah answers, “Here I am. Send me.” But too often when we are passing through a phase of life like college or a work transition or the birth of our first child, it’s too easy to say, “Here I am. Send me later” instead of living out “send me” right now, right where God has placed us.
That’s why I am grateful for those college students I met. They are an example to all of us that we should live out God’s call all the time –even in those times of transition. Even when we are preparing for the future.
I am also grateful for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and for all of the individuals and churches who sacrificially give to it each year. It provides 49 percent of NAMB’s annual budget and all of it goes directly to missionaries and to church plants like Candeo in Northern Iowa. As a result, hundreds of college students are being reached for Christ at Candeo alone. In fact we have posted one of their recent baptism celebration videos here if you want to see and hear some of the life-change stories taking place.
Giving so that others can go and be reached is so important. God has used the giving of Southern Baptists in remarkable ways throughout our history and it is a blessing that can’t be measured in earthly terms. It is what helps start churches like Candeo and what allows thousands of our church planters and other missionaries remain on the field, fulfilling God’s call.
But beyond the giving, we must remember that God also wants each of us to live out Isaiah’s “send me” attitude every day. For some of us that will mean a call to a faraway place and maybe a new vocation. For others it might mean being willing to work in a different city for a while to help a church plant get started. And for many, “send me” means taking the Gospel to those we work with, go to school with and live with every day. Don’t miss the mission field all around you and don’t miss how God wants to use you to reach it.
Kevin Ezell is president of the North American Mission Board.
Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com).
Baptist Press (BP) is the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention and provides news to the 42 state Baptist papers. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.