Every so often, I get wind of something very special. Something that cooperative Missouri Baptists do that just knocks your socks off (please excuse the colloquialism).
The very day I wrote this column, I spent the morning with our state missionaries and the MBC support staff. I heard testimony after testimony of ministry with churches of every size and method. Some churches were engaging in VBS, Super Summer, youth camps, international mission trips, North American mission projects, new church plants – testimony after testimony of God at work through His people called Missouri Baptists.
Even though the state missions staff described a long litany of ministries, there were three things that remained constant: 1. People are lost 2. Jesus Christ is the exclusive answer; and 3. Redeemed sinners are the instruments God has chosen to communicate the gospel message. Very simple. Mighty powerful.
After the testimony session, one of our state missionaries sent me a letter about a local church where our state convention partnered with them to raise up next generation leaders through an internship project.
Read this letter from Jonathan McGuire, senior pastor at the Bridge of Faith Church, Rockaway Beach, a relatively new church in the rural area near Hollister:
I wanted to write and say what a blessing it is to be at a place where we can train interns. It is such a blessing when you all (MBC) make available funding for interns.
I have had two funded interns through the church planting interns [program]. The first young man was a College of the Ozarks student. He was a philosophy and religion major. He did not have much knowledge of Southern Baptist (SBC) life.
He was with me for a year and then through extensions was able to be an intern for a year and a half. He was a perfect fit for us. He wants to pursue seminary one day and then hopes to teach after seminary. He has now recognized how cool the SBC is and I would say that he will continue to move forward in SBC/MBC life.
I think had he not had the opportunity, he would not have become involved in the SBC/MBC. So, thanks for pouring into his life and raising up another generation of SBC/MBC leaders. He is now my assistant pastor and thrift store director.
The other young man has been serving here in the summers through the summer mission student program. He liked our ministry so much that we got him on board as an intern after he graduated from OBU (Oklahoma Baptist University). He has served with us for a year. He has been a major blessing to us.
He will soon be leaving for China as he has accepted a job at a private English school to teach English in China. He has wanted to be an international missionary for a long time and this is a great way to get him on the field through a work visa teaching English. I look forward to the great things that God is doing in his life.
At the first of June, he didn’t know what would happen after the internship was over. In August, he will get on a plane to China.
Thanks for allowing him to serve with us and when God opened a door, his heart was ready to go. Thanks again for investing in the next generation of SBC/MBC leaders.
What a wonderful letter and powerful testimony of God at work through a cooperating local church partnering with 1900-plus Missouri Baptist churches to develop leaders for the future. The beauty of this testimony is that it is not the only one. There are many other churches working together in partnership to share the gospel and make disciples with this generation and the next. Some receive a little funding to help them with a project. Many other churches are willing to financially sacrifice but welcome the consulting of our state missionaries and networks of MBC ministry leaders.
Investing in the ministry of our churches via funding for projects or consultations to help a church achieve its Great Commission potential or coming alongside a group of churches to accomplish a common ministry objective is what “rings the bell” for your state missionaries. We hope you share in our rejoicing. God is a work through the lives of Missouri Baptists.
God has called your state missionaries to serve your church. Thanks for the opportunity to be on mission with you. Let’s work together to fulfill the Great Commission in Missouri and to the ends of the earth.
Find more articles and blog entries from Dr. Yeats at www.johnyeats.net.