FBC Arnold to host Global Focus missions event
By Tim Hayes
August 23, 2005
“The light that shines the farthest shines the brightest at home.”
ARNOLD– Johnny Hunt, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., often uses this phrase to remind his congregation that a church that wishes to reach the world for Christ in fulfillment of the Great Commission will start by reaching its own community.
First Baptist Church, Arnold, has caught the vision as well and is partnering with Global Focus, a Georgia-based missions ministry, to sharpen its missions focus through five days of worship, fellowship and seminars here Oct. 5-9.
The Global Impact event will feature more than 25 missionaries from around the world. First Arnold will host the meetings with various Sunday School departments providing lodging for the visiting missionaries. The opening night will feature a keynote message from Hunt.
Oct. 6 will provide the missionaries with time to relax, tour St. Louis, and fellowship with church members before the evening’s “World Briefing Sessions” that will be held in church members’ homes. These sessions will act as a type of open house, serving as an opportunity for members of the church to get to know the missionaries and their ministries, according to event organizers.
An international food court will be set up on the night of Oct. 7, giving the church family and missionaries a taste of foods from around the globe. Balloon sculpting, face painting, and a live praise and worship band will further highlight the evening. Also included will be missionary interviews that will give the congregation another opportunity to learn more about their guests. A faith commitment service will take place on Sunday morning to complete the event.
In addition to the many ways that the congregation will be exposed to the ministries of the missionaries, it will also find many opportunities to provide for their financial needs. “The Blessing Mart” is one of these ways. An assortment of “budget stretchers,” items that the missionaries need but have trouble fitting in their budget, will be collected. The visiting missionaries will be given the opportunity to take whatever they need, thereby alleviating some of the stress on their pocketbooks, organizers said.
John Russell, the senior associate pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church near Tampa, Fla., has served as a Global Focus mentor to the staff of First Arnold. In a recent meeting with the volunteers and staff participating in the Global Impact event, Russell emphasized that those involved should pray primarily for God to be glorified and for the church to gain a greater perspective of both God and His plan for the world, as well as for the hearts of believers to be touched. They should also pray that financial needs of the missionaries will be met and that many surrender their lives to pursue missions around the globe in many capacities.
Ultimately, the Global Impact celebration is about personalization. The goal of the celebration is to allow “ordinary people to meet ordinary people who are on the mission field,” Russell said. Far too often, members of Southern Baptist churches are familiarized with the mission field only through faceless fundraising campaigns. Consequently, many find it easy to contribute to missions while simultaneously maintaining a sense of detachment from those who serve in the mission field. However, in the Global Impact celebration, church members will be able to personally interact with missionaries from around the world, all the while becoming more familiar with God’s workings in other lands. This, in Russell’s words, “makes missions more tangible.”