Earlier this year, our partners in missions gathered for a ministry celebration in Seoul Korea. This gathering was sponsored by Baptist Bible Fellowship International (BBFI), who (if you are not familiar) is one of our strategic partners in world missions. (We strategically partner with others as well, for example)
- SBC- largest Baptist mission organization in the world
- What is it? In essence, 50,000 independent Baptist church network to support nearly 4000 missionaries around the world
- Currently there are nearly 39,000 SBC churches in other countries
- 2013- 190,957 were baptized overseas by these SBC churches
- Excites me to be a part of that effort
- Manna Worldwide – 160 projects in 40 countries
- Partners with missionaries on the field to provide gospel centered churches, feeding programs, orphanages, schools, and clean water.
- I am honored to be serving a 3 year term on the board
- Our mission trips to the Philippines and Guatemala have been Manna mission trips (By the way, pack your bags, we are going to Philippines in 2017)
However, the majority of our missionaries that we support are BBFI missionaries. BBFI has about 800 missionaries serving in 89 countries around the world. The meeting in Korea was intended to measure the global impact of our partnership; and the numbers are staggering. Just in the last 3 years,
- 355,470 have come to Christ and made professions of faith
- 10,616 nationals are training to lead in full-time ministry
- And 1774 churches have been started.
- And 6,483 additional missions have been started with intentions to organize into a church.
With these partners (and a few others) we contribute more than $50,000 annually. (We don’t talk about that very much. We don’t arrogantly boast of what we are able to do, but we are doing a lot for what we have been given. We throw a pretty wide net and partner with great people that are doing amazing things with the resources provided for the ministry of the gospel. That needs to be celebrated!
But that is not all. What missionaries are doing on the foreign field, we are doing here in our context. Perhaps you have not thought about this in a while or maybe even at all, but we are missionaries to our community. We are striving to make much of our Savior in our part of the world and let our life shine in Jesus name.
That is why three years ago, Fairfield West began a campaign of generosity entitled “All In” which was designed to remove growth barriers within our church. Together we committed to change the trajectory of our ministry by adding additional parking, providing a safer children’s wing and expanding our adult educational facilities. The campaign has been wildly successful and we have achieved some of our goals and more is to come in the coming days. However, we recognized from the beginning that our capital campaign was less about campus improvements and more about the gospel.
Over the last 4 decades, tremendous growth has afforded us many opportunities to live worthy of the gospel of Christ. Our resolve to worship generously, grow spiritually and minister compassionately has led us to witness significant life change in the hearts of those that trust the Lord and follow Him obediently. Each week we make and we take opportunity on purpose so others can respond to the life saving gospel message of Christ.
Our church has established a reputation in this city as the church that loves its community. Through our outreach efforts and mission focus, we have been able to invest in countless lives and we are committed as ever to let our light shine by remaining focused on sharing the very real love of Jesus. However, this requires a continued investment of ourselves in the lives of others.
Three years ago, I made this statement. “What our church is today is because of decisions made yesterday. What our church will be tomorrow will be determined by decisions we make today.” Three years ago we decided to give sacrificially to achieve a gospel vision for our community. We went “All In” together to position our ministry for proper growth and we raised almost $300,000 (hopefully when the campaign comes to an end we will exceed that) in addition to our $400,000 annual budget. But what decision will we make today that will affect our tomorrow?
Well, some have honored their “All In” commitment, others are still finishing it up, but as we do I want to cast fresh vision for our ministry to be all in “One.”
Paul spent several years in Ephesus and a great church was established by his ministry. Ephesus was centrally located on the western coast of Asia Minor perfectly positioned between 2 continents. It was here East met West where the oriental culture blended with the Greek. Although Ephesus was in perfect placement for trade and was site of its famous temple of Diana (one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world), Ephesus was best known for its Biblical truth that was taught there. Ephesus was a good church. In fact, the Lord Himself commended Ephesus for their labor and their loyalty. However, according to Revelation 2:1-7, He lamented over their lack of love. The Lord thought this to be so serious, that He warned that if there was no repentance and revival in the heart of His people, then He would remove their lampstand. You see, light without love is a barren thing and the Lord has no use for a church (a local assembly of believers) that no longer loves Him. When a church is more concerned about what they do, rather than celebrating what He did, then there is something amiss and that church is dangerous. For how much damage can a cold, fundamental, orthodox, evangelical, Bible believing church do if their love for Christ grows cold?
Paul knew the Ephesians well for he spent several years with them and he seems to have recognized signs of their struggle. So while in prison toward the end of his life, he writes with a twofold purpose. He writes to remind them of their first love underscoring that Jesus Christ is the One. And Paul writes to encourage God’s people to walk in unity; to walk as one.
On Sunday, June 5, our church family will meet for a special mission/ministry purpose. Our time together will culminate with a special time of commitment. During the worship gathering you will be given a commitment card to record your financial gift to our mission/ministry efforts. This will be an entirely voluntary commitment with no pressure to give. This commitment is between you and the Lord, but my prayers is for us to walk together as one displaying the glory of our Lord together for others to see! We are better together. Let’s be the church.