Korean Missouri Baptists energize CP
April 4, 2006
One of my favorite stories about generous giving is the story of the little girl who had just come from her Sunday School class to the worship service. In Sunday School, the teacher had been trying to teach the children about the importance of giving. The teacher, apparently, had been effective in her teaching.
By the way, most children’s Sunday School teachers are very effective. Those of you who teach the children of our Missouri Baptist churches have the most important and rewarding assignment in the modern church. And I pray that you will teach the children to give just as our Heavenly Father taught His children to give. But I digress. Let’s go back to my favorite story about generous giving.
The children had learned well that morning in Sunday School, and when the time came for the offering plate to be passed, the little girl desperately wanted to give. But she had nothing. It became apparent to everyone around her that something was wrong. The little girl was fidgeting a lot. She seemed agitated, even more so as the offering plate came closer and closer to her. And now the usher was standing beside her and the offering plate was in the row directly in front of the little girl. What would she do? She wanted to give. But how could she give? She had nothing. And now, the offering plate was coming down the very row where she was seated. And just as the offering plate came to her, she took it. She placed it on the floor in front of her. And she stood in it. She gave. She gave generously. In fact, she “…first gave (herself) to the Lord and then to us—(to the church, and to the work and ministry of the church)—by the will of God.”
Recently, I had an opportunity to witness another act of generous giving. A couple of months ago, you provided Cooperative Program brochures for Korean Missouri Baptists printed in the Korean language. I said that you provided the brochures because it was your Cooperative Program dollars that paid for the preparation, printing and distribution of the brochures. Korean Missouri Baptist Pastor Hak Ahn wanted to teach the Korean Baptists about the importance of giving, especially about the importance of giving generously to worldwide missions. Because he was an early recipient of Cooperative Program mission dollars, Bro. Hak Ahn understands and enthusiastically supports the Cooperative Program. He translated the brochures. Using your mission dollars, the Cooperative Program office of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) had the brochures printed and we distributed them to Pastor Ahn and to the Korean Baptist churches of Missouri.
That was several weeks ago. Frankly I had not thought much more about that venture since the brochures passed through our office until a few days ago when I received a letter addressed to me at the Cooperative Program office of the MBC. The address on the envelope was carefully hand written. The return address indicated that the letter was from someone named Mr. Jong Ho Bae in Overland Park, Kan. Inside the first envelope was another, smaller envelope with English and Korean writing. I do not know how to read the Korean writing but I am guessing that the meaning is similar to that of the English writing, which said, “Cooperative Program for Mission from Korean Baptist Church of Love.” I have transcribed that sentence exactly as it was written on the envelope. Inside the second envelope was a $20 bill.
That’s it. Twenty dollars. But it just might be the most important $20 I’ve seen in a long time.
Do you understand what that $20 represents? First, it represents a new understanding among Korean Missouri Baptists. The Korean Missouri Baptists obviously have understood and accepted the Acts 1:8 Challenge to reach “…Jerusalem and…all Judea, and Samaria and the end of the earth” for Jesus Christ.
Korean Baptists already are reaching “Jerusalem and … Judea.” They witness personally in the Korean language, to the Korean population in Missouri. There’s nothing new about that. Korean Missouri Baptists have been actively reaching their own language group in Missouri for years. But the return address on the envelope I received indicates that Korean Missouri Baptists are now reaching beyond the borders of Missouri to also reach the Korean-speaking people of states nearby. Obviously Korean Missouri Baptists are reaching people in Kansas and beyond.
And now they have extended their borders again. By giving through the Cooperative Program, they are able to reach beyond “Jerusalem and … all Judea” to “Samaria and the end of the earth.” Through their Cooperative Program giving, the Korean Baptist Church of Love is supporting more than 10,500 Southern Baptist missionaries serving all over the world. When they gave that $20 bill through the Cooperative Program, Korean Missouri Baptists partnered with Missouri Southern Baptists, Arkansas Southern Baptists, Illinois Southern Baptists, Oklahoma Southern Baptists and Colorado Southern Baptists and every kind of Southern Baptist you can imagine. Together we are reaching the world for Christ.
That $20 bill also supports more than 15,300 future ministers of the Gospel—future pastors and other church staff ministers, future evangelists, and future missionaries. By giving through the Cooperative Program, the Korean Baptist Church of Love enables thousands of future ministers of the Gospel to train for the ministry in six world-class seminaries. One of those seminaries is located right here in Missouri not far from the home of Jong Ho Bae. I hope he has had the privilege to visit the campus of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City and see the fruit of his missions giving.
I also pray that all Korean Baptists are aware that Cooperative Program giving also supports the missions and ministries of the MBC. As he gave that $20, he gave to support Hannibal La-Grange College and Southwest Baptist University as well as Baptist Student Union ministries on the campuses of the secular colleges and universities in Missouri. By giving through the Cooperative Program, the Korean Baptist Church of Love supports evangelism events such as Super Summer, Reconnect (a Missouri Baptist youth evangelism event), the State Youth Evangelism Conference and the annual Missouri Baptist Evangelism Conference.
That $20 bill also went to support the vital work of the Missouri Baptist Christian Life Commission, Disaster Relief, Benevolence Ministries, Families Ministries, Men’s Ministries, Women’s Ministries and WMU, and much more. Through their Cooperative Program giving, the Korean Missouri Baptists support the ministry of the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home. Because he gave that $20 through the Cooperative Program, Bae and the Korean Baptist Church of Love are helping to start new Missouri Baptist churches—ethnic churches, language churches, contemporary churches, cowboy churches, even traditional churches, churches with buildings, churches without buildings, churches with traditional Sunday Schools and churches that meet in homes for discipleship – all kinds of churches reaching all kinds of people. In the last church year, the Cooperative Program has helped to start 61 new Missouri Baptist churches. The Korean Baptist Church of Love is now helping us start even more.
When the Korean Baptist Church of Love sent $20 to the MBC to be given through the Cooperative Program, they took a new step of faith and entered the world of worldwide missions and ministry. When Jong Ho Bae sent $20 with instructions to put that money to Kingdom work through the Cooperative Program, he became an Acts 1:8 Christian.
The Korean Baptist Church of Love gave $20, and another Missouri Baptist gave another $20. Someone may have given $2. But there were also Missouri Baptist churches that sent $200. Still other churches gave $2,000, and some will send $200,000. Through the Cooperative Program, more than 2,000 Missouri Baptist churches have come together to reach the world for Christ. The Korean Baptist Church of Love is a Show-Me Acts 1:8 church.
The Korean Baptist Church of Love and any church that gives to worldwide missions through the Cooperative Program is a lot like the little girl who stood in the offering plate. Like the little girl, they give themselves first to the Lord and then to the rest of the world as they support the worldwide spread of the Gospel. Korean Missouri Baptists are reaching “…Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, even the end of the earth” by giving generously through the Cooperative Program.
What about you? What about your church? What will you give? (David Tolliver is the associate executive director for the Missouri Baptist Convention who is over the Cooperative Program).