July 29, 2003
Special focus throughout August
JEFFERSON CITY – The executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) and the president of the MBC are calling on Missouri Baptists to make August a month of prayer.
"We’ve got a number of huge things staring at us that we really need our people to pray for," said MBC Executive Director David Clippard.
Added MBC President Monte Shinkle: "It will take a miracle to bring a healing in the MBC. That’s something only God can do."
Clippard has identified four major prayer needs. Those are the MBC legal issues with its five estranged agencies, Romania, the Cooperative Program and Iraq.
The MBC has gone to court to regain control of five breakaway agencies – the Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist College, Missouri Baptist Foundation, Windermere Baptist Conference Center and the Word & Way. For the sake of lost souls, Clippard and Shinkle want Missouri Baptists to focus their prayers on closure.
"We are in this conflict and we need God’s intervention," Clippard said. "We need to call our people to pray. There’s no sense in dragging this out and continuing to spend time, dollars, effort and energy when there’s a world out here to win. We’re asking our people to pray and ask God to bring this thing to a close."
"I am in full agreement with that," Shinkle said. "The main thing is to bring people to Christ."
A struggling economy where tens of thousands of Missourians have lost jobs has impacted our missions giving, Clippard said. Prayer is needed for our Missouri Baptist families.
The mission fields of Iraq and Romania are open to Missouri Baptists right now, Clippard said. Through budding partnerships, workers are preparing to go to these foreign lands. Prayer for these workers is needed, Clippard said.
The first prayer priority is the legal issue. MBC leaders are asking people to pray for God’s mercy on this from Aug. 1-9. By designating Aug. 4 as a special day of prayer and fasting, Clippard and Shinkle are challenging Missouri Baptists to cry out to the Lord.
"We need to get on with reaching the state with the Gospel," Clippard said. "We need to take some of these other distractions we’ve got and put them aside. However God chooses to settle the issue we need to put it aside so we can press on."
The second full week of August will be set aside to pray for the partnership with Romania. Pray and fast on Aug. 11 for new churches to be planted in that nation.
From Aug. 17-23, Missouri Baptists should pray for the Cooperative Program. People should be at the heart of these prayers. Fasting for hurting people would be appropriate on Aug. 18.
"Pray first for the many who have lost jobs, business loss and fear," Clippard said. "God is our source. Let’s ask the Lord to open heaven’s gates for our people."
Iraq is the target of a special day of prayer and fasting on Aug. 25. From Aug. 24-31, Missouri Baptists are to pray about the window that is now open as we begin to reach this strategic country with the Gospel, Clippard said.
There are five Sundays in August. Clippard is calling on churches to set aside time on all five of these Sundays to pray for these major needs. The legal issue, Romania and Cooperative Program would be prayed for in the first three Sundays of August. Praying for Iraq on both Aug. 24 and Aug. 31 would finish out the month.
Another prayer strategy in August would be for churches to set aside a few minutes of prayer time on Wednesday to lift up all of these vital prayer needs. This is being suggested so that a church could cover all four areas in succession on Aug. 6, 13, 20 and 27.