Frontliners Conference will aid volunteer missions
Acts 1:8 the focus, 2nd Springfield the place
By Allen Palmeri
August 3, 2004
SPRINGFIELD – Teaching out of the Acts 1:8 emphasis that it is known for across the nation, Second Baptist Church, Springfield, is hosting a Frontliners Conference Nov. 9-11 designed to help churches get their members out on the front lines of mission work. The International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention is co-sponsoring the event.
John David Edie, minister of international missions for Second Baptist, said Frontliners was born when IMB career missionaries identified a need to educate volunteers. Second Springfield and the IMB are in charge of the Middle America region (Mexico to Panama), the most popular destination in the world for short-term missionaries, Edie said. Last year, more than 6,000 IMB volunteers flowed into the region, which makes Frontliners all the more important, Edie said.
“Churches must learn how to do missions effectively,” said John Marshall, pastor of Second Springfield. “They do not do it innately. It is not an intuitive process. You don’t wake up one day and you’ve got good brains about how to do missions. You have to learn.
“A lot of churches jump into this missions enterprise and make a lot of mistakes. In fact, they make so many mistakes that they give up. I have seen more churches try to do it their way, and they just finally give up and go back to the old way of just not doing mission trips. But if they’re willing to humble themselves, hear what other people are saying and learn and do it right from the first (even though) they’re still going to make mistakes — the Frontliners Conference will help a church make a lot less mistakes, making it easier for a church to buy into the program.”
The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Cost is $60, which includes fees, materials and lunch each day. Lodging is left up to the participant.
Conference topics include:
• Streamlining mission programs for maximum efficiency and kingdom growth.
• Church planting movements and models.
• Personalization of missions in the local church.
• How to think like a church planter.
• The biblical basis for missions as well as a historical overview.
Edie will teach on “the strategy coordinator church,” which is a new model where the local church is responsible for making sure an unreached people group receives the Gospel. By adopting this strategy, Edie said, even a small church can go to the uttermost part of the earth, as Acts 1:8 teaches.
“It’s easy for churches to get plugged in,” Edie said.
Second Springfield has deployed the strategy coordinator church model in Manzanillo, Mexico, taking a city that has no IMB missionary and demonstrating how the church itself, through willing members, can literally become a missionary.
Brochures for the Frontliners Conference have gone out nationwide, Edie said. He said he hopes to have 60-100 participants.