Marshall: It is time for Missouri Baptists to ‘Go’
By Susan Mires
November 9, 2004
RAYTOWN — The antique bucket kept falling off the stand and rolling onto the floor. John Marshall picked it up and showed why: The bucket, one actually used by fire brigades to pour water on burning buildings, had a rounded bottom.
“When there’s a fire going on, you don’t put your water bucket down and there is a fire going on out there!” Marshall proclaimed as he delivered the convention sermon at the Missouri Baptist Convention’s annual meeting. He used the bucket to illustrate the urgency Missouri Baptists should display by going throughout the world to carry the Gospel to people headed for the flames of hell.
Marshall, pastor, Second Baptist Church, Springfield, said he preached for 30 years before he understood the Great Commission. But after his church sent him on a mission trip to China, he developed a passion for spreading the Gospel around the world.
“The Holy Spirit is calling us to get past the superficial and take up the gallant challenge to go,” Marshall said.
Southern Baptists, however, have incorrectly interpreted Jesus’ instruction to “go” as meaning “go and stay,” he said. Few are called to be full-time missionaries, Marshall believes, but all Christians need to participate in short-term mission trips.
“‘Go’ means we must step outside our daily routine to find pre-Christians,” he said. “Hunters do not sit in their kitchen and wait for a duck to fly in.”
In the last seven years, Second Baptist has experienced a missions revival, guided by the principle that the life you’ve always dreamed of lies hidden in a mission you’ve always dreaded. In straightforward language, Marshall urged pastors to set the example for their congregation by traveling overseas.
“Pastor, if you’re worth your salt, you’ll get off your duff and go,” he said.
Churches also need to be urgent about sharing the living water with a world that is going up in flames.
“I remember when Southern Baptists were sad over lost people, not mad. I remember when people used to wail over lost people in prayer meeting,” Marshall said. “What’s happened to us? It’s time we returned to caring about lostness.”
In his fervent sermon, Marshall said Christians should keep a map next to their Bible and pray regularly for their communities and their world.
“Missouri Baptists, I issue a challenge for you to go home and take responsibility for every hurt in your town. Go on a mission trip in your town, your state and somewhere around the world because our Master said ‘Go.’”