In this issue there are several stories about the MBC annual meeting. When Missouri Baptists convene, we are one of the largest annual meetings among the state conventions in partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention. This year we had 1,022 messengers from 440 churches and 236 registered guests.
I’m grateful for every Missouri Baptist and guest who came to hear, see, and learn about the amazing cooperative ministries our churches do throughout our state, this nation and the world.
MBC President Neil Franks challenged us to strain forward for the cause of Christ. SBC President Ronnie Floyd brought a stirring message on rekindling the priority of prayer. Our other speakers spoke God’s Word into our hearts in powerful ways. Go online to MoBaptist.org for videos of these messages.
This year the executive director’s address was the launch of a reorientation of the MBC missionary staff, a new paradigm of working together, a focused approach coalescing around a common vision and a common mission. The vision is to transform lives and communities with the gospel. The mission is: We are missionaries cooperating with Missouri Baptists to make disciples, multiply churches and develop leaders.
The vast lostness of our region demands that we make some changes. We are retooling our state missionary staff to focus energy like never before on making disciples, multiplying churches and developing leaders. This means some ministries as we have known them in the past are changing to align more strategically with the vision and the mission.
For example, you may have noticed that the word “evangelism” doesn’t appear in the vision or the mission. That is by design. Why? Because evangelism – bringing people to faith in Christ and helping them bring others to Christ – is in the DNA of our vision to transform lives and communities with the gospel. And it is absolutely essential to making disciples, multiplying churches, and developing leaders. In a nutshell, evangelism is too important to confine to a single convention office.
How can we multiply churches without plenty of spiritual conversations that lead to faith in Christ? I would hope that our passion in life is to be increasingly godly, more like our Lord Jesus. It is part of a godly leader’s lifestyle to witness about Christ.
I learned a new word. Perhaps you would like to add it to your vocabulary. The new word is formed from two words: “Disciple” and “Evangelism.” This is important because you really cannot separate the two.
Robert E. Coleman, author of the Master Plan of Evangelism, said in an interview, “As I have been doing this, I’ve learned more and more about how evangelism is perpetuated through discipling. Where there is true discipling, evangelism is assured. If you are truly doing evangelism, you will take care of the people you bring to Christ. You will not turn them out into the world without someone to lead them. We’ve got to unite these two.”
When asked about the detriments of compartmentalizing evangelism and discipleship, Coleman states, “When you start to separate the two, you become departmentalized so that you miss the reason behind it. If evangelism is only making known the gospel and you don’t see the ultimate objective, then you really do not assure any reproduction of what has been taught. The very fact that you come to Christ implies that you will follow him. So you become a follower, a disciple, and you can’t follow Christ very long without learning where He’s going. You become a fisher of men, and you begin to do what you see Jesus doing.”
Our missionary strategy includes working with cooperating Missouri Baptists to equip Christ followers in such a way that evangelistic disciples, evangelistic multiplying churches and evangelistic gospel leaders penetrate lostness in an unprecedented fashion.
We need your help.
First, pray. Seek the Lord. Call out to Him for the lost person He has planted in your sphere of influence.
Second, there must be some new ways of measuring the progress our churches are making with discipling people to become followers of Christ. How do we measure the effectiveness of prayer? How do we count the number of mentors who are coaching people to excel in their walk with the Lord?
On behalf of our missionary staff, I encourage you to go online to MoBaptist.org/transform. Read the documents there about our vision and mission. View the video and other resources. Then, gives us your feedback by scrolling down and clicking on the button marked, “We welcome your comments.”
Or you may prefer to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or even a letter sent to my attention at the MBC, 400 E. High St., Jefferson City, MO 65101.