MBC must be about soul-winning, missions
October 21, 2002
It is good to be back home in Missouri! In my first 24 days on-the-job as your executive director, I have logged about 7,000 miles on my vehicle. I think I have attended more Associational Annual Meetings than anyone else has in this state this year. But it has been a great time!
I have tried to be the last person to leave the meetings. In most cases I have been. I do like hanging around Baptist folk, but I have other motives for my madness. I have tried to make myself available for anyone to come and share personal struggles, insights or just ask questions. Questions about who and what I am or where we as a Convention are going. I am happy to report that I have had nothing but the warmest reception imaginable! It has been a grand time but I must confess it does take a physical toll.
It seems to me that I am serving some of God’s greatest people and I am really looking forward to the future. Do we have some bumpy roads to travel for a while, you bet! I believe we will come out of our current conditions stronger and more determined in our missions causes than ever before. We are in a perfect position for Jesus to do a miracle!
Now, I want to tell you a story about a church a real church. It was a "First Church". In fact, it was THE first "permanent" non-Catholic church west of the Mississippi River. Its former site is just a few miles from where I grew up as a boy. It came into being July 19, 1806. J. Gordon Kingsley’s book, Frontiers: The Story of Missouri Baptists, tells us, "Old Bethel Baptist Church was very evangelistic and established "arms" in different locations, several of which later became separate churches. Each ‘arm’ was quite small and met in private family cabins; total membership of the mother church and three ‘arms,’ in 1813 , was 186. Unfortunately, Bethel developed anti-missions sentiments in 1826 and eventually died."
Today, I can take you to Cape Girardeau County, to the very site where the foundation stones of Old Bethel Baptist Church still lie. They lay in quiet testimony to a people that started well went down in history as a "first" but those foundation stones cry out "FAILED"! Old Bethel only had a 20 year ministry life before it lost its heart.
One of those "arms" that Bethel Baptist Church founded was FBC Jackson, Missouri; the very church where I was baptized and grew. The mission "arm" church of Old Bethel, called FBC Jackson lives on long after the mother church failed. Why? Bethel Church lost its passion for evangelism and missions, but its mission church did not!
Dear ones, the same thing can happen to your church or the Missouri Baptist Convention. If the Missouri Baptist Convention looses its heart for soul-winning & missions, it too will die and be labeled FAILURE! We must not let it happen to us.
On a personal note, what’s the condition of your church? What’s the condition of your own heart? Will your headstone cry out, "Failure for Jesus!"? Only you and Jesus know the answer to that question.