ST. CHARLES – The luncheon speaker raised a key question: “Are we being wise stewards, considering the state of the world and the large group of resources we have?” The questioner reminded the lunch crowd that they were eating a fine meal, but that amount of food is more than many people in some parts of the world would have for several days.
A sobering thought.
The Partnership Missions luncheon is always one of the more popular convention related activities at the MBC annual meeting. Sponsored by the MBC Multiplying Churches team, the luncheon featured Dr. J.D. Payne, pastor for church multiplication at the Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, Alabama.
Payne, a former professor at Southern Baptist Seminary, is the author of the book “Apostolic Church Planting,” published in. 2015 by IVP. He shared some of the principles on missions from that book and the practices of their church in Alabama.
“We want to go to places in the world where we find the greatest physical and spiritual needs” Payne said. Quoting Proverbs 19:2 (ESV), he read “Desire* without knowledge is not good, and whoever* makes haste with his feet misses his way.”
Payne said Baptists have an incredible zeal and passion for missions but that is not always coupled with a health dose of knowledge. He shared several knowledge principles by way of asking questions about missions methods and practices.
First question: “How do we be faithful in (missions) strategy development?” Payne cautioned the listeners “not to develop strategies and plans and then ask God to bless them.”
Another question was “How often do we let the resources we have govern the mission strategy?” He said “We should left the strategy determine how we use our resources.”
Payne admitted that the Church at Brook Hills has established many good ministries in their neighborhood in Birmingham, but they were not always accomplishing much in the long term. He said “We needed to lock arms with local partners and be very intentional.” He said missions partnerships should always have a plan to work with local and national disciple-making partners.
Then the speaker reminded the crowd that they should be planning to go to areas of the world where there are no local churches established.
Rick Hedger, MBC Multiplying Church team leader gave an update on the Northeast Italy and Puebla Mexico missions partnerships Missouri Baptists have established.
He said in Italy, only .04 percent of the population are evangelical Christians with only 3 percent of the population practicing their faith in the Catholic church. 94 percent of Italian young people completing catechism do not return to the church regularly.
Hedger said he is actively looking for 10-20 churches and pastors who would like to explore a partnership relationship with northeast Italy church starting efforts. He has a $500 scholarship available for ten pastors to assist with a trip to Italy to explore the partnership.
Two lunch attenders visited with The Pathway and shared their heart for missions.
Jason Helmbacker, church planter/pastor at The Church at Affton, a St. Louis area “re-plant” of an existing church.
“We launched at Easter (2015) with about 65 persons. The remnant of the existing Baptist church, First Baptist of Affton, was ready to close,” said Helmbacker.
He added “The older core group were realizing the Gospel was more important than their own particular preferences or traditions.”
Pastor Helmbacker said their church is particularly interested in the Bosnian people group, which is very prevalent in the Affton area of St. Louis County. “They are often seen to be cold, but that is not true. They are very warm people, friendly, proud, intelligent and entrepreneurial.”
Most Bosnians adhere to the Muslim faith. In fact, Helmbacker said a new Bosnian mosque is being built near the Affton church. He and Mrs. Helmbacker are former IMB missionaries to that part of the world and they have recently won a young Bosnian lady to Christ there in Affton.
Frank Welch is the director of missions for Salt River Baptist Association in Curryville. He reported the association and their churches have been involved in mission trips in Bloomfield and Oskaloosa, Iowa as well as locations in Kentucky, and Colorado. They have also worked in some international missions trips.
They are currently in the development stage of plans for a Hispanic church in the Louisiana area. They also reach out to a people group they would identify as “rural Missourians” with a church started ten years ago called Eastern Missouri Cowboy Church which meets in a sale barn in Bowling Green.