By: Chad Keck on behalf of Jeff and Barbara Singerman (IMB Missionaries)
We are better together. My wife and I have served with the IMB for almost 28 years and have seen God move in tremendous ways, with many coming to Christ, scores of churches planted, thousands of leaders trained, and the Kingdom of God expanded in many countries on the African continent. The Lord has used us by His incredible grace, but it has not been a singular effort on our part. We are members of First Baptist Kettering, Ohio, a cooperating Southern Baptist church. Many FBK members pray specifically and with purpose, and they come to be a part of the mission that God has called us to. As Barbara and I diligently pray and endeavor to accomplish the tasks God has called us to and Southern Baptists dedicate themselves to informed prayer for us, the ministry, and the nations, God works in incredible ways. Our pastor has done more than pray for us; he has been on our field of service, laboring beside us, bringing light to darkness. Our pastor and church’s support and encouragement during both good and difficult times has been a great help and blessing.
There is no better way to encourage a church for generosity than to mobilize them to serve on mission. As more people go on mission trips, the more we see an increase in giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Our church is committed to increasing their giving to the Cooperative Program because they have seen firsthand that we are better together. I personally am benefitting from that, not only as an IMB missionary, but also as a student finishing an advanced degree at one of our 6 SBC seminaries, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. [Read more…] about “Better Together…Even From the Heart of Africa”
One of the prominent metaphors in Scripture is that of a body. The metaphor is an apt one, as it’s easy to understand that each and every part of the body has a part to play. For the body to work properly and to reach its maximum potential, there needs to be interdependence. Imagine the ear saying to the eye, “I don’t need you to see; I’ll do it all by myself!” Additionally, each of the parts (that make up the whole) must exude a robust commitment to interdependence; half-hearted or nonchalant fervor will not only undermine interdependence but at times it could even hurt the body.
Why the call to interdependence in our convention?
I’m not referring to the myriad roles comprised in the body such as seeing, hearing, or speaking, but I’m speaking to the purpose which God has given to His people, the church or the body of Christ. Namely, it is our task to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18-20); it is our task to diligently work at the goal of presenting every man, woman, boy, and girl as complete or mature in Jesus (Colossians 1:28-29). It is our task to please Jesus in all that we do (2 Corinthians 5:9).
Craig Hamilton, in his book Wisdom in Leadership, writes, “We need each other. We can’t do it without each other…God has designed all kinds of people with all kinds of strengths, and he has designed us to work together. We need each other. I need you, and you need what I have. What you don’t need to be is an all-rounder.”
The beauty of the Cooperative Program is that we see the interdependence of the body on full display – from theological education, where we train and equip men and women for ministry; to recruitment, assessment, training, and the setting apart of missionaries, both domestic and international; to navigating through the ethical and cultural issues of our day, it is abundantly clear that as Southern Baptists we are indeed Better Together.
Check out these articles from church planters.
Pastors, join us on Tuesday night, July 25, at the Send Conference in Orlando immediately following the Crowder concert, in Faith Hall at First Baptist Orlando for an SBC Roundtable Discussion!
This event is hosted by Executive Committee Cooperative Program Catalysts, Curtis Cook and Matt Crawford. The panel discussion will be moderated by Jon Akin, NAMB’s Director of Young Leader Engagement. Panelists are Kevin Ezell, J. D. Greear, Frank Page, and David Platt.
Attendees will be able to submit questions for the panel. Come for coffee, desserts, and an open discussion about current SBC issues.
I’m regularly asked by younger ministers, seminary students and prospective members of our church, “Why would a church want to be a part of a denomination?” [Read more…] about Why Do We Partner?- Reflections from Phoenix
Last year in St. Louis I had the privilege of serving the convention as the second vice-president. That opportunity opened my eyes in a fresh way to how the convention operates and to the importance of the work that happens each year when the messengers of the Convention gather for prayer, worship, and work. This year in Phoenix I was able to take some of those insights and participate more fully in the experience we call the annual meeting. Here are three of the highlights for me from this year’s convention.
1) The International Mission Board Commissioning Service. This is always a highlight for me, but for some reason, it was even more powerful this year. After all of the discussions, blogs, and tweets about who we are as a convention that have happened over the past year I was reminded that this is what we do best as a convention. We gather our funds together in the Cooperative Program for the purpose of doing more together than we can alone and there is no place where that is more observable and important than in the sending of missionaries. My church is a reasonably large church compared to others in our convention, but we could not have sent a single one of these couples to the field by ourselves, yet together the churches of the SBC sent out our best and boldest to the darkest regions of the world for the sake of the gospel. To me this is what it is all about.
2) Seeing the messengers refuse to let an issue they cared deeply about go unresolved. As the father of three children who are adopted from another country and do not share the same ethnicity as I do, I was so glad to see that there were messengers in the convention who refused to let a resolution condemning the “alt right” (and the racism that they espouse) remain dormant. From social media to hallway conversations it was great to see the passion and energy given to revive this resolution. It was also great to know that our Committee on Resolutions was listening and was humble enough to bring back a resolution that was worthy of our consideration and approval. Racism has absolutely no place in the Kingdom of God and as Southern Baptists, we should say so strongly and frequently. It was also thrilling to see that not only did we say so, but we acted on this conviction by electing men of several ethnicities and races to positions of leadership at our pastor’s conference and to our convention leadership.
[Read more…] about Three Highlights from Phoenix