Rankin brings message of missions to Missouri
By Brian Koonce
February 21, 2006
CAPE GIRARDEAU –Who better to challenge a church to be on mission than the president of the International Mission Board (IMB), Jerry Rankin?
Rankin joined 36 IMB missionaries at Lynwood Baptist Church Feb. 5 for the church’s On Mission Celebration as they emphasized missions locally and around the globe.
Lynwood members spent the weekend not only learning and praying with and for missionaries, but also did yard work in the community, helped spruce up a rescue mission and prayer-walked Cape Girardeau. They also dedicated a new disaster relief trailer, fully stocked with chainsaws courtesy of Stihl.
But the president of the IMB was the headliner for the event. Rankin, who spent 23 years of his life as a missionary in Indonesia and southeast Asia, said the 2004 tsunami that devastated that region should serve as wake-up call to the urgency needed in missions.
“The media asked, ‘Where was God?’ implying with their typical skepticism that there was no God,” he said. “But their question was all wrong: It wasn’t a question of ‘where was God,’ but ‘where were we?’ Where were we that we allowed 250,000 people to swept into hell without an opportunity to know our Lord Jesus Christ?”
Rankin told Lynwood that its emphasis on missions was admirable, but merely discussing it is falling short of the Great Commission.
“This celebration is not just a special event in which we receive reports from our missionaries to raise money for an offering or inspiration,” Rankin said. “This is about what God wants to do through you. Each of us has a place on mission with God.”
Rankin preached from Romans 15, Paul’s reasoning for taking the Gospel where it previously had not been preached. Paul writes “my aim is to evangelize where Christ has not been named, in order that I will not be building on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, ‘Those who had no report of him will see, and those who had not heard will understand.’”
“God’s purpose is that all people would know him,” he said. “Just as God called Israel as His people, He has blessed His people today by allowing you to know and understand the way of salvation. Is that enough? Having taken care of our own eternal security? Or are we to just take the Word around to our community? No, God has blessed us to fulfill His purpose, to reach the nations.”
Since 2001, the IMB has commissioned more than 1,000 new missionaries each year and over 3,000 are in the appointment process. Rankin said more than 1,000 professions of faith are being reported each day.
“The opportunity we have today is absolutely unprecedented,” he said. “God is using political chaos, warfare and natural disasters to create a spiritual hunger in the hearts of people that we could never imagine. We can’t even publicize the places people are going all across the Middle East and Asia. We’ve got more people in China today than ever before in history and we’re seeing an unprecedented harvest because it’s God’s purpose. Once the seeds are planted, there’s nothing that will keep it from spreading. It’s not about you, it’s about letting God use you in whatever way He desires.”