Walking in the footprints of a modern revival
September 23, 2003
Please pray as Missouri Baptists head to Romania
The Berlin Wall fell, the Cold War ended and the USSR was dissolved, not because of political maneuvering, but as a result of the arrest of a Romanian Baptist pastor by the Secret Police which triggered a massive spiritual awakening. I can remember when President George Bush (Sr.) made these facts known in a national press conference. YOU can walk and work with the very people God used in this historic revival. They still live in Romania!
As you read this newsletter, a group of more than 30 pastors (and some wives) will be in Romania launching the three-year partnership between the Romanian Baptist Union (RBU), the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) and our International Mission Board (IMB, which is "us"). The convention at last fall’s annual meeting in Springfield voted to establish this partnership. It is being launched with this initial "invasion" of Missouri Baptist leaders. We want to share the details of the events during the days of Sept. 22-30, so you will pray for us as the Lord brings us to your memory. Please pray.
Travel days are Sept. 22-23. Then we will have a day of orientation getting ready for the Pastor’s Conference, Sept. 25 -26, to be held in Oradea, Romania. This conference will be co-preached/taught by both Romanian and Missouri leaders. Missouri pastors will be matched one-to-one with Romanian churches and pastors for the purpose of evangelism, church planting and discipleship for the next three years.
According to our partnership agreement, "Romanian Baptists are organized into 13 Baptist associations. These are geographically defined with some associations made up of a single county and others made up of several counties. In addition, there is the Convention of Hungarian Baptist Churches (CHBCR) in Romania, which has churches throughout Romania, but especially concentrated in the central and western parts of the country.
The basic strategy of the primary partnership is to enlist volunteer teams from Missouri. Each team will be composed of representatives from multiple churches. (For example, a team may consist of 30 people who represent eight different Missouri Baptist churches.) Each team will focus on one particular Romanian Baptist association. The Romanian Baptist association — in cooperation with the Romanian Baptist Union (RBU) — will select key churches from each association that are active in evangelism and church planting. These will be the partner churches for each Missouri Baptist church.
The Missouri teams will come and spend several days with their respective Romanian churches during which time they will minister together, see the needs and opportunities, discuss the mission strategy and explore the possibilities of a partnership. They will discuss the parameters of their partnership and set concrete goals and a basic implementation plan for the partnership. Within a short time (up to one month) after the Missouri church returns to the U.S., both churches will decide if they sense God’s leading in continuing with the church to church partnership and what should be the duration of the partnership."
While the basic focus of the partnership will be the church-to-church relationship, other channels of cooperation and ministry will be considered such as relationships between institutions (seminaries, Bible schools, Christian high schools, hospitals, and others) as well as ministry to other minority groups such as Romii (Gypsy), the deaf community, etc.
The primary partnership between the principal partners (MBC, RBU, CHBCR, and the IMB) will be for a period of three years: Sept. 1, 2003, until Aug. 31, 2006. During the first two years of the primary partnership, the initial groups will come to the respective Romanian Baptist associations and CHBCR.
The church-to-church partnerships will be for a period of two to three years from their dates of inception. (Exact duration will be determined by the partnering churches, but are not to exceed three years in the initial agreement.) During the final year of the primary partnership and of the church-to-church partnerships, each respective partnership will be evaluated as to whether it would be beneficial to extend the partnership a maximum of one additional year.
Sept. 27 our Missouri folk will accompany their Romanian partner to the village targeted for the new church start. Sunday they will preach at all services in the local Romanian churches. Monday and Tuesday are travel days back to Budapest, Hungary and then on to Missouri. Please pray for us.
Now, some additional things YOU can do: (1) Go to your local post office and pick up a passport application, (2) complete the application and mail it in so, (3) YOU are ready to accompany YOUR CHURCH to take the Gospel to Romania!
This is going to be a great partnership. Your life will be forever changed as you walk with living legends of our day who have lived through horrendous persecution and glorious revival.