West Africa Summit maximizes missions
Major missions eventset for FBC St. Charle
ST. CHARLES – Those who attend the West Africa Summit in St. Charles Nov. 1-3 should come away with a clear vision of how their churches can be personally and effectively involved in missions.
“Our prayer is that, out of this, they will discover how they can be engaged in reaching unreached peoples, whether God is leading them to West Africa or other places throughout the globe,” said Ken Winter, vice president of the office of mobilization for the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
The IMB is sponsoring a series of West Africa Summits around the nation. The St. Charles conference is being co-sponsored by the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) and hosted by First Baptist Church, St. Charles. Thirty days of prayer, which began Oct. 4, are preceding the conference.
The summit will provide 24 equipping sessions in all so that participants can select those best suited to their own churches, whether those churches wish to be involved with a people group where no missionaries are working or whether they prefer to be involved with an already-established mission team.
It will also provide opportunities to build alliances with other churches seeking partners to join them in ministering to a West African people group.
Winter said there is one aspect of the summit that may be different from other mobilization events in that it incorporates field strategies presented by mission leaders of local churches as well as by missionaries.
Randy Arnett, West Africa regional leader, will open the conference with a challenge regarding the unregenerate people of West Africa.
Jerry Rankin, IMB president, will challenge those in attendance to impact the world. He is the author of “Empowering Kingdom Growth: To the Ends of the Earth,” a book on prayer strategy and church-planting methods.
He will speak again Nov. 2. His talk on spiritual warfare will be a condensed version of an eight-hour training program he presents to missionaries who are in training prior to deployment to their fields.
Sessions that afternoon will focus on strategies for mission work. Topics will deal with: understanding the African worldview; selecting a people group; prayer strategy; developing a master plan; and other subjects.
In the evening, church mission leaders and IMB missionaries to West Africa will give portrayals of 11 unreached people groups. West Africa has 355 people groups that have no access at all to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
One of the strategy seminars on the morning of Nov. 3 will deal with penetrating African Islamic people groups. The strategy sessions will be followed by four mobilization seminars. Winter defines mobilization as giving churches the tools and best practices to help connect their members to the strategy.
“We use this to help them discover that next step, wherever it might be,” he said.
He cited Calvary Baptist Church of Neosho, which went from a vision God gave the pastor, Rick Hedger, to the vision the church has now embraced in the form of ministry to the Mandyak people of West Africa.
Arnett will deliver a commitment challenge in the final general session Nov. 3. This will be followed by two more strategy sessions.
Registration fee is $75. That covers materials, summit meals, and transportation between the airport, hotels and the church. Registrations are still being taken at www.mobaptist.org or by calling the office of Norm Howell, MBC partnership missions specialist, at 573-636-0440 or 1-800-736-6227.