Missouri to spearhead Acts 1:8 effort
By Bob Baysinger
June 22, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – The Southern Baptist Convention has selected Missouri to spearhead the Acts 1:8 Challenge, a unified denominational missions strategy to be based in the local church.
Jerry Field, who heads the Missouri Baptist Convention church planting team, said the Acts 1:8 kick-off informational and training sessions will be held July 12-13 at Skyline Baptist Church in Branson.
“To me,” Field said, “Acts 1:8 is all about elevating the mission vision of a church. It’s about getting beyond self and finding a balance in missions.”
Field said the Acts 1:8 effort will emphasize that missions encompasses more than giving money through the Cooperative Program (CP).
“People always go to the foreign mission field, but what we’re asking them to do now is get involved in all four areas of Acts 1:8 … Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth,” Field said.
“Some churches have an imbalance in missions. Some are giving and not going. Some are giving and going but going only to a foreign field. There are places all over North America where we need to go, as well as go locally.”
The Acts 1:8 concept was introduced May 19 at First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga. Speaking at the introductory meeting, Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee, said Acts 1:8 could “be the beginning of revival around the world, for the hearts of men to be aflame with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Churches accepting the Acts 1:8 Challenge (www.ActsOne8.com) commit to embracing a comprehensive missions strategy in partnership with associational, state, national and international missions. Taken from Christ’s challenge to his disciples, “Jerusalem” corresponds to the local Baptist association, “Judea” to the state convention, “Samaria” to the North American Mission Board and “the ends of the earth” to the International Mission Board.
“Our mission field is all of them … and we need to be reminded of that,” said J. Robert (Bob) White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention.
“Christ reminded us that our mission field is the ‘uttermost’ but it is also Jerusalem. It is Samaria, but it is also Judea . It is the whole of our mission field that He has called us to and that He has empowered us by the Holy Spirit to reach – not to our glory, but to His glory.”
Robert E. “Bob” Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board, said he believes God is working in the hearts of young people today to take leadership of Southern Baptist mission agencies.
“I believe God has ordered our steps to give us something so critically important that I want to give them something worth having,” Reccord said. “I want to be able to say, ‘I’m Southern Baptist, and I’m proud to be Southern Baptist. For I’m a child of the King, and I’m going to tell anybody I can about the King, win them to the King and disciple them for the King.”
Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist, Woodstock, delivered the message at the Acts 1:8 introductory meeting. Hunt focused on the role of the Spirit in empowering the church to fulfill the Great Commission.
“The Holy Spirit came upon the church at Pentecost in order to empower the church, but also in order to expand the church,” Hunt said. “The church is to be reaching outside its borders to make a difference for the Kingdom of God.
“The good news is it’s the Holy Spirit who does all the pleading and calls for the verdict. We are only to go and be witnesses of this great message.”
The service at Woodstock also included a public commitment by the first two churches to accept the Acts 1:8 Challenge – Immanuel Baptist Church of Wichita, Kan.; and First Baptist Concord of Knoxville, Tenn.