Missions combustion begins to accelerate
OSAGE BEACH—When one sees a portrait of Mike Hamlet, they might think to themselves, “Well, he looks like a soft-spoken, good old southern country guy.” Where this could possibly be true in a private arena, nothing could be further from the truth while in the pulpit.
On Oct. 30, at the 173rd annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) in Tan-Tar-A, Hamlet gave the missions report sermon, a convicting message and charge to Missouri Baptists.
The Atlanta native received his master’s degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and currently serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church, North Spartanburg, S.C.
“The state of Missouri is known as the ‘Show Me’ state and I’m telling you that you have shown me something here tonight,” Hamlet said.
Prior to Hamlet coming to the pulpit, there was a beautiful presentation of flags from countries which Missouri Baptists have partnered with in the past or are currently partnered with. MBC Multicultural Church Planting Strategist Mauricio Vargas said, “There are 132 countries represented. Not all are here on stage, but Missouri Baptists are partnered with that many countries.”
Interim Executive Director David Tolliver introduced Hamlet, describing him as “a man who genuinely has a heart for missions, and is the pastor of an Acts 1:8 church.” Considering First North Spartanburg has led South Carolina in baptisms for many years, and is a “pilot church” for the International Mission Board (IMB), Tolliver’s statement was clear as a bell.
It wasn’t always that way with Hamlet, though, as he told the audience, “I believe that all of us think we are the best at something…if you are, then go ahead and tell someone. For the first 10 years of ministry at my first church, I didn’t send one single person to the mission field … I was the best at being the worst in preaching about the kingdom!”
Once Hamlet did begin preaching on the kingdom he thought that he was doing great things for the Lord, but he quickly found out that “it’s not enough just to preach about the kingdom.” That was thinking “inside the beltway,” and that is not sufficient.
“When we’re inside the beltway no one knows what’s going on outside the beltway … you just don’t have to care, it’s all about me, and little things become big,” Hamlet said. “In our churches we have created our own beltway, but we have to get outside our beltway and go out to the ends of the earth. We should understand where people are and where they live.”
“We need to get together and get on the road,” he said, followed by a common phrase known all over the world. “We need to listen to Star Trek and, ‘Go where no man’s gone before.’ It starts with just one man, one woman, one church, no matter what the size. We can all go out.”
Hamlet then told the audience about how he met a man named Albert. The man was stripped of everything because of his faith. His own family even mocked him, but he never wavered in his faith. Hamlet told the audience that Albert was a man in line with the plan, and that is where we need to be.
“It won’t be easy,” Hamlet said, “but we need to have a plan. God is faithful. Ask Him to give you an opportunity and He will!”
When we ask, Hamlet said, we are given three things by God—a vision, an opportunity, and security.
“It starts with us, and every one of us has allowed this ‘beltway’ mentality to creep in,” he said.
“Who’s going to be the one?” he said. “We have to get together and get on the road. It starts with you; it starts with me. Tonight God gives you a chance to be a part of something great.”
On each seat in the auditorium there was a commitment card designed to get people praying for and involved in missions. Hamlet asked the missionaries who were present to stand at the front, and for those in the audience to fill out and make a face-to-face commitment with these missionaries. Almost everybody in the service rose and began to make their way to the front. Some made commitments to pray while others made commitments to get their entire church involved in the work going on in the certain area.