IMB West Africa Summit set for Missouri
1st Baptist, St. Charles
hosting missions event
June 6, 2006
RICHMOND, Va. – In response to more than 1,000 West Africa people groups with little or no access to the Gospel, First Baptist Church, St. Charles, in conjunction with the International Mission Board, will host a special missions summit on West Africa Nov. 1-3.
Church pastors and ministry leaders are invited to attend the West Africa Summit to discover ways their congregations can become more strategically involved in helping spread the Gospel throughout the region.
“God is moving through global events in unprecedented ways to fulfill the Great Commission and extend His Kingdom among all peoples,” said IMB President Jerry Rankin. “The cutting-edge witness and building block He is using is the local church.”
During the summit, International Mission Board leaders, missionaries in West Africa and churches who already are partnering in the region will answer questions and provide information about a region comprised of 22 countries and 287 million people. The event will provide training on everything from how to adopt a people group to partnering with other churches.
“This (event) will give us a shot in the arm,” said David Sheppard, who has served as pastor of First Baptist Church of St. Charles for 19 years.
“I believe it will increase our motivation, our awareness and hopefully our involvement (in missions). Whether or not we go to East Asia … or West Africa, I want our people to be exposed to missions all over the world.”
A church of any size can impact areas of the world, like West Africa, if the congregation is willing to follow God anywhere, said Ron Hill, IMB representative for the West Africa region and coordinator of the West Africa Summit.
“What we’re looking for are churches who have a passion for God and a passion for seeing the lost peoples of West Africa reached (with the Gospel),” said Hill at a recent summit in Tampa, Fla. Churches of all sizes are seeing God revolutionize their church as they become more strategically involved in missions, Hill said.
Rankin added that the summit has something to offer all church leaders.
“Whether or not a church becomes involved in West Africa, the training conferences at the summit will be inspirational and helpful for any church that is serious about fulfilling the Great Commission through overseas involvement anywhere in the world,” he said.
Southern Baptist missionary David Wood said people groups such as the Western Karaboro of Burkina Faso need churches that are willing to take the Gospel to them. The Karaboro are just one of 355 people groups in West Africa without any evangelistic work among them.
“They live every day in fear of spirits and forces that are beyond their control,” said Wood, who has been a missionary in West Africa for more than 12 years. “There are no churches. There is little evangelical presence, and that’s where we suggest a church or mission organization gets plugged in now … so that they can know about Jesus Christ.”
Wood and his wife, Tami, are helping to pave the way for churches to begin work with people groups like the Karaboro. As part of the “engagement team,” the couple travels throughout Burkina Faso, researching 81 people groups to find the best areas where Southern Baptists can become involved.
“I hope that we’ll see Christians respond to the need and get into these areas,” Wood said. “It will take committed people to bring the Gospel to them.”
The cost of the event is $50 for those who register by Oct. 15 and $75 for those who register after that date. For more information, to receive a schedule or to register for the West Africa Summit, go to mobaptist.org or GoWestAfrica.org. Those who are interested may also contact the Missouri Baptist Convention at (800) 736-6227, ext. 640 or ext. 620.