5 Ps of Mission Partnerships

Each local church has the same mission from God regardless of the location or culture of that congregation.  In essence, all churches are called to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19-20).  While we have the creativity and wisdom to nuance how each church carries out this God-given mandate, multiplying disciples is the mission of the church.  No church can be everywhere, but every church is called to make disciples of all nations.  How is this possible?  One practical way for every church to make disciples of all nations is by partnering well with missionaries who serve among the nations. 

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One of our IMB missionary partners helped develop what we call the 5 Ps of partnership.  In other words, how can your church partner practically with missionaries who live among the nations in order for your church to be part of discipling all nations?  While Southern Baptists are part of impacting all nations through our Cooperative Program giving, we also want to make personal connections with missionaries in order to put a “face” to Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, and, in our state, Eliza Broadus. 

Here are 5 ways to partner with missionaries for global disciple-making:

  • Prayer– This is where it all begins. No partnership should pursue any of the other four “Ps” without starting here. This is God’s work. The book of Acts describes the early church as being empowered through prayer (Acts 1:14).  Developing a prayer strategy is essential for global impact.
  • Pastoral– Often overlooked, pastoral (soul) care provides missionary longevity. The book of Acts describes how the early church provided encouragement for mission partners. (Acts 14:21-22).  Paul intentionally encouraged his partners, knowing that ministry is a road filled with adversity.
  • Project– Mission trips are what most people think of in terms of partnership.  Project partners (local churches) should listen to their mission partners (missionaries), assisting in their existing platforms and identities to help and not hinder long-term work.  As needed, churches can help missionaries accomplish much in disciple-making through mission trips, particularly as they assist them along the missionary task.
  • People group/Place– The focus here is on the people group/place itself; that is, there is an understanding workers may come and go, but a long-term commitment to supporting a planting effort among a particular people group/place can take different forms and involve different people over time.  The local church commits to that people group/place regardless of whether missionaries come or go.
  • Pioneer– Perhaps the least common among these five, Pioneer Partners take the work on for themselves, mobilizing their own teams to directly engage in the long-term planting effort.  Realizing that the need is greater than there is manpower, Pioneer Partners commit to enter a location themselves with the help of nearby missionaries. 

If the Missions Mobilization Team of the KBC can help your church intentionally develop mission partnerships by thinking through the 5 Ps, please let us know ([email protected]).  We are here to help. 

Remembering Bro. Jerrell

Last week our KY-MSC Family lost one of our longest-serving members.  Bro. Jerrell White, who had served as a KY-MSC Missionary with the Earle C. Clements Job Corps in Morganfield since September 1999, went home to be with the Lord. 

Bro. Jerrell was one of the most encouraging men I have ever met and was the “life of the party” whenever we met for our annual missionary retreats.  During the last retreat he and Mrs. Connie attended, I walked out in the hall and heard singing.  He had found a piano, recruited a pianist, gathered a group of the missionaries together, and they were singing the old hymns to the top of their lungs.  Of course, I joined in. It was so much fun. 

Nearly every time I talked with him, whether on the phone or in person, he thanked me for the leadership I gave to the missionaries and then asked to pray for me.  I recall the evening I was working in western Kentucky, and they asked me to spend the night.  Before bedtime he, Mrs. Connie, and I gathered in their living room for a time of singing, devotion, and prayer.  It was such a special time and a memory I will never forget.    

Arlene Miller, the KBC west region mobilization consultant shared, “Bro. Jerrell was an inspiration.   He could do more than everybody else put together.  When I called to get his report each year, he had been involved in more activities than all of us put together.  This inspired me to want to try harder.” 

Not only was Bro. Jerrell involved in “activities”, but you can be sure he was befriending and sharing the love of Christ with those he encountered.  Every year he reported 8-15 men and women at Job Corps that he had led to faith in Christ. For his faithful service, Bro. Jerrell was chosen as the 2005 Kentucky MSC Missionary of the Year.

Bro. Jerrell, thank you committing your life to the Lord and for sharing Him with all of us.  May we follow the example you set for us to love Him, serve Him, and share Him with others.  We loved you and gonna miss you.

Please pray for Mrs. Connie and family during the difficult days ahead.  

The Mission Requires Submission

There are several things we think about when sending a group from our church out on mission for a week or even a weekend.  We expect those going on a mission trip to be people of integrity, faithful in their local church, bold in sharing their faith, and prepared for the work they’re going to do. 

I’ve seen many requirements for going on a mission trip, but I don’t recall ever seeing “submissive” on the list.  Our culture views submissive as a weakness so most don’t want to submit to anyone.  So, should submission be a requirement for going on a mission trip? 

What does submission mean? Google’s dictionary defines submission as “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.”

Submitting means putting others before yourself; it means not always doing what you want to do. It means putting God’s desires above your desires.

Missionaries on the field with whom short-term mission teams work have prayed and sought the Lord’s direction concerning the people they’re trying to reach, strategies they use and ministry methods.  Well-intentioned short-term volunteer teams generally arrive on the field, filled with excitement and zeal about the mission work they’re planning to do.  They too, have prayed and prepared themselves for this experience.

However, sometimes teams believe they know better than the missionary how the work should be done and question, or even push against the methods or ministry plans.  This creates tension and has the potential to minimize the effectiveness of the mission.

If there is a difference of opinions, an unwillingness by volunteer teams to submit to the missionary in authority shows spiritual immaturity.  And, if the short-term team is unwilling to submit, it is the missionary who remains behind to correct things long after the volunteers leave.

The Bible has much to say about submission: to God (James 4:6-7), to political authorities (Romans 13:1-7), to church leadership (Heb 13:17), within marriage (Col 3:18), and even a general submissiveness of all Christians to one another (Eph 5:21).

We all have a lot we can learn about submission. Submission can be a very hard thing. When Jesus prayed for an alternative to the cross (Luke 22:39- 44), he wanted another way so badly that he sweat drops of blood. However, He chose to follow the Father’s plan even when it was hard. All of us should be extremely grateful that He did.

There may be times as a volunteer team member that you believe you know better than the missionary what is best and that what you’re being asked to do doesn’t even make sense to you.  Like Jesus, you may find it hard to follow the plan, but exercise submission to the missionary in authority and trust our Father for the results. 

SEND Relief: Respond to the Afghan Refugee Crisis Today!

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” In the midst of the current tragedy, I want to recognize the beautiful, courageous, and marvelous Afghan people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes. Although many of their stories have yet to be told, their unwavering spirit, strength, and bravery is #notforgotten. Church, let us take time today to pray for them, and then let us take a lifetime to serve and embrace them with love of Christ.

Through our cooperative program giving (SBC), we (Kentucky Baptist) are able to have authentic impact by bringing help and hope to Afghan refugees as they resettle in communities around the world. Here is how you and your church can get involved today through SEND Relief, which is the global compassion wing of the Southern Baptist Convention. We are Stronger Together! *(Info below comes from SEND Relief):

Overview

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, storming across the nation and capturing all major cities within a matter of days.

In the aftermath of the political coup, a mass exodus is building as Afghans try to flee the country by the thousands. One group of Afghan refugees seeking escape are Christians fleeing immanent persecution, as well as other religious minorities, ethnic minorities and women and girls.

Send Relief is strategically working with World Relief and our trusted global ministry partners to minister to Afghan refugee families around the world. As refugees flee persecution and resettle in communities around the globe, Send Relief can connect you and your church with opportunities to give, pray and volunteer to support our response.

Your gifts to the Afghanistan Refugee Crisis Fund will provide welcome kits, ESL classes, job interview prep and more. Give today to bring help and healing to Afghan refugees.

How You and Your Church Can Serve

Ways to Pray for Afghanistan

  • Pray for the Afghan people as they navigate political unrest, violence and persecution. Pray that they may find peace in Christ among overwhelming circumstances.
  • Pray that God would intervene and glorify His name in this tragic situation.
  • Pray for Afghan believers whose lives are being threatened by the new regime. Ask God to give them courage and strength.
  • Pray for Afghans at risk because of their service alongside the U.S. government and that they would be quickly and safely evacuated.
  • Pray that the millions of Afghans who have never heard the Gospel will have an opportunity to hear.
  • Pray for neighboring countries, as well as countries around the globe, as they attempt to host the surge of refugees coming out of Afghanistan.
  • Pray for Afghans who are desperately trying to leave Afghanistan.
  • Pray that those helping will be able to overcome obstacles as they facilitate the exits and relocations of Afghans.
  • Pray that the physical needs of those waiting at entrances and at the airport will be met, including protection, water and more.
  • Pray for favor and that pathways become available to safety and relocation.
  • Pray for countries to open their borders and for people to open their hearts to those being displaced from their homes.
  • Pray for those who will not be relocated.

Partner as a Church

In Kentucky, contact John Barnett, KBC missions strategist ([email protected]), to discover new opportunities and strategic pathways to help equip your church to love and serve refugees both locally and globally.

You Make Me Smile…Thank You

Ron Crow, Disaster Relief Director, Kentucky Baptist Convention

Do you have those people around you that just make you smile? There are various reasons why certain people make you smile, and those reasons can vary from person to person.

Some people make you smile because of past experiences of fun and laughter. As you reminisce about different people or events the smiles and laughter just come. Other people make you smile because of some dumb things they have done, or possibly you have done with them. I am sure that can bring back lots of memories full of smiles.

Then there are those who make you smile because of what they have accomplished. It might be the student that just graduated high school or college. A proud parent cannot help but smile at the accomplishments of their child. It could be you landed your dream job or found that “one” that you want to spend the rest of your life with. It makes your heart smile.

We smile at the funny things people say or do. I smile often at my grandsons at the things they say and the funny faces they make. Just the presence of their faces brings smiles. In fact, whether a spouse, a child, grandchild, or someone just special to you can bring a smile because they are important to you.

Then there are those who make you smile because of who they are. Because of their heart. Because of how they care, serve, and love others. They are special people who impact lives. And as you think about all they do and how they serve, you cannot help but smile with appreciation for their dedication and love for God.

I am blessed to serve Kentucky Baptists as the State Disaster Relief Director. Watching these disaster relief volunteers serve in some difficult situations, lodge in some uncomfortable places, and work in some hot and dirty conditions, yet come out with smiles on their faces eager to go again. This dedicated service is indicative of their heart. Seeing that heart to serve and love brings a huge smile to my face.

August 22 is Disaster Relief Appreciation Sunday across our churches in Kentucky. We are asking all of our DR volunteers to wear gold that Sunday. Be sure to thank them and show your appreciation to them as well. They are special people and just hearing their stories and seeing their heart, you will smile too.

Great Commission Difference

Gospel work is hard work.  The apostle Paul knew this reality well.  Not long after setting out on his first missionary journey he and Barnabas experienced much opposition (Acts 13:45).  In fact, Paul’s normal pattern of gospel engagement included going where the people (Jews first) were gathered, sharing Jesus, and then seeing a variety of responses (Acts 13-14).  Some believed and embraced the message with great joy.  Others baulked at this message of a Messiah crucified and raised from the dead.  In many places where Paul and Barnabas preached Jesus, they were forced to leave. Yet, in their leaving they often saw a fledgling church birthed from their gospel proclamation. 

To be sure, these new church plants, as we would describe them today, were stationed in locations where the gospel soil was hard.  For various reasons, not least of which Jewish traditions, these new churches faced an uphill climb to reach their cities with the good news of a Jewish Messiah who was crucified and raised to life on the third day.  Let’s face it, Jesus warned his first followers that if the world hated him, they would no less hate them and anyone after them too (John 15:18).

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Nearing the end of Paul’s first missionary journey, he recognizes the importance of encouraging those fledgling churches.  He makes his way back to them “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith…” (Acts 14:22).  Why is this necessary so soon after these churches were birthed?  Because gospel work is hard work and if churches (and missionaries) are not careful and intentional, they can find themselves overwhelmed by the daily needs of the flock and the opposition of the unbelieving world around them.

Paul knows this from personal experience, so he models for these new churches an important Great Commission component. Other churches can help provide longevity in the gospel work of others through their encouragement.  Perhaps often overlooked, encouragement of other pastors, churches, and missionaries is a critical piece in an overall understanding of Great Commission faithfulness. 

Missionaries find themselves discouraged at the prospect of reaching a people hostile to the good news of Jesus, as well as all the challenges that come with living in a new culture. Pastors find themselves down over the lack of commitment of members in the church. Those in the church feel deflated at times when the ministry they help lead has few involved in it.  The point is clear: we all need people in our lives to encourage us to keep running, to not grow weary.

So, what is a person to do to bring encouragement?  Think of two approaches to encouragement.  First, pray weekly.  Second, encourage (tangibly) at least monthly.  Identify a missionary, pastor, and/or church (members) that you can pray for weekly and encourage monthly.  Let them know you are praying for them (ask for specific needs from them to intercede for them). Then monthly, find various ways to lift them up: send a text message, write a card, mail them a gift package, remember their birthday(s), make a visit.  In other words, be creative about the ways you can pour into them while they are pouring into others for the gospel.  In doing so, I am convinced that God will use your encouragement as a means for their perseverance.  Never underestimate how your encouragement will make a Great Commission difference. 

Kentucky Baptists, Let’s Go Christmas Shopping!!

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Recently I spent a few days in the Smokies.  While there, my sister and I visited a couple of Christmas shops.  There was Christmas music playing and we saw all types of decorations and gifts.  My favorite decoration is the nativity, and they had some neat ones.  I sang along with the Christmas carols and, for a few minutes, found myself in the Christmas spirit, even in June.

With bright, sunny skies, and a current temperature of 90⁰, it’s hard to think about Christmas, but someone reminded me on Facebook a few weeks ago that Christmas was only six months away.  My reply was, “Is your Christmas shopping half done?”

Actually I (and my church) have begun Christmas shopping. We are shopping now to fill 50 Christmas backpacks for children in Kentucky and it is so much fun. There is an excitement in the air as the whole congregation comes together to provide Christmas gifts for children who are less fortunate.

Many churches across Kentucky are getting on board as well. The KBC Missions Mobilization Team has been preparing for the Christmas Backpack Initiative for a few months now and applications requesting backpacks are coming in from ministries across the state.

Kentucky Baptist churches are partnering together to reach a goal of 10,000 backpacks to fill these requests. While we will receive requests for far more than that, we are thankful for partnering states that also bring backpacks to help meet the needs.

Statistics show that one in four of Kentucky’s children live in poverty. So, for each of these children, a backpack from Kentucky Baptists may be all they will get for Christmas!  Would you join with churches across the state and commit to fill one, five, fifty, or perhaps a hundred or more, backpacks?  It is not too early to get started.  Remember, Christmas is only five months away now.

Instructions for filling the backpacks can be found at www.kybaptist.org/backpacks.  Once there, you can download a promotional bulletin insert and poster.   Also, check out our new “Christmas Story” leaflet.  And, don’t forget to register your backpacks.    

This year the North American Mission Board is offering churches up to 72 free backpacks which can be ordered and used for ministry.  Additional ones can be purchased for only $3.00 each.  To take advantage of this offer, go to www.sendrelief/backpacks and order yours today.

Let’s join together and exceed the goal of 10,000 backpacks from Kentucky Baptist churches! Many of them will be distributed directly to children living in poverty in Kentucky, while others will go to needy children in our partner SEND City, Cincinnati.

Thank you for helping a child this Christmas.  To learn more, contact the Missions Mobilization Team at 502-489-3403 or email [email protected] 

“Let’s not neglect to do good and share what we have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16

I Can Help With That!

Ron Crow, Disaster Relief Director, Kentucky Baptist Convention

Here we are in the middle of summer, and everyone is busy going here and there. Vacations are happening. Ball games are in full force. School is out, all the while preparations are being made for the return to school. Home repairs and upgrades are in full swing. Birthday parties. Celebrations. And the list goes on and on.

We all get so busy doing what we have to do. And of course, there is a list of those things we want to do. There are even those extra things we are asked to do. And before you know it, our time is gone.

But there are always needs. There is always someone who needs help. I was so encouraged a few weeks ago when one of our Kentucky disaster relief volunteers said to me, “I had planned to go fishing all week. I had nothing planned, so was looking forward to relaxing and fishing. But then there was a call to help those who had been affected by the floods in West Virginia.” And he realized that the need for those hurting was more important than the need to go fishing. What a testimony!

And the reality is, when you help someone else, you are a blessing to them, but you also receive a blessing. Above all, Christ is honored.

You don’t always have to give up a full week to “be on mission.” It might take you only a few minutes, a few hours, a full day or even more, but the Lord is just waiting on people to say, “I can help with that!”

We should live every day on mission looking for large and small opportunities to say, “I can help with that!” From a kind word or deed that brings a smile, to helping someone one with something that they simply cannot do it without help, “I can help with that!”

I’m reminded of the words of Paul to the Galatians, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.

So, look around. Who do you see? What do you see? And can you say, “I can help with that!”




Living in Response to the Gospel

Thinking like a missionary is a reasonable service proposition (Romans 12:1). It is not extreme in light of what Christ has done for us. Following Jesus might seem radical or extreme at the outset, but once the initial step has been made the missionary mindset follows naturally.

Following Jesus re-wires our thinking. It changes every facet of our worldview. Christ is the light of the world, and His light enlightens us (John 1:4; 8:12). Far too often as Christians, we exaggerate the difficultly of choices that are normalized in the Scripture, i.e., sharing the gospel as a regular part of our daily walk with the Lord. 

Life as kingdom citizens is joyfully different than the status quo. We get to live with a perspective focused on “things above.” For example, Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” As our Lord and Savior, Jesus modeled this kind of mindset for every believer. As born-again believers, God has filled us with the Holy Spirit, so that we might walk in His ways. Remember, it is Christ in us and not Christ and us!

We could try to identify the bottom-line indicators of the missionary mindset in a number of ways, but perhaps the simplest way is to look at a missionary’s priorities.

Missionaries are mission-oriented Jesus followers. They find joy in prioritizing gospel-mission over their own comfort. A believer with a missionary mindset makes decisions based on gospel-mission objectives.

Mission-oriented Jesus followers will answer life questions like “where should I live?” or “how should I spend my income?” in radically different ways than those living out the status quo for American citizens. However, these decisions will not seem radical to them. Far too often, a Jesus follower living in light of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will hear “I could never do that” from other believers as they observe their mission-oriented decision-making process. For the missionary, the life choices they have made seem joyful, fulfilling, and reasonable.

A natural and vital reprioritization is especially important if we are to fulfill our calling to make disciples who make disciples. If we are going to disciple others to lead, we must become leaders who intentionally live open and accessible lives. We must ask ourselves, am I willing to live a life that follows Christ at all costs? Is my identity in Christ and Christ alone? Do others see Christ in me?

Leaders must bring their disciples into their lives in a way that allows them to observe, learn and practice the same decision-making process that they live by. The new disciple must learn to see the world from a kingdom perspective. They must be led to apply the example of Christ’s life to every aspect of their own. If we are living for Christ and sensing the joy of a life lived on mission, we will invite other disciples into our lives and teach them to do the same. This will become the DNA that is passed on to second, third and fourth-generation believers. This does not mean that we will never face challenges, but that we will model, teach, and learn how to keep our identity in Christ in the midst of our sufferings.

Prayerfully, many of our kids and the next generation will not think that the missionary mindset is so “radical.” After all, it is a reasonable service in light of the good news. It is our joy to follow Jesus!

Here are some questions/thoughts to explore:

  • Would choosing to live in a specific neighborhood because of their need for the gospel seem like a strange choice to you?
  • Would accepting a particular work assignment because of the way it would position you strategically for gospel mission seem weird to you?
  • Would inviting someone to live with you or have free access to “private areas” of your life with the objective of discipling a new leader seem odd to you?

Add-on: Read the June 15 Blog Post below, “Key Missional Skill: Think Like a Missionary”, for some practical first steps to take as you seek to live on mission for Christ.

Tumbled Walls

Moses had gathered 12 of his finest, most loyal men to spy out the land.  God had brought them out of Egypt by his mighty hand.  He had parted the Red Sea, led them by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night. God fed them manna from the dew and quail from the sky. He even gave them water out of rocks.  God told Moses the land He was leading the people to was their land.  They would receive what they had never worked for—God would provide them a home, a land for themselves.

So, as they gathered themselves on the edge of this promised land, God told Moses to send these 12 spies to check it out.  In stealth mode, they go through the land spying it out—they check out the land, the people of the land and the numbers of people throughout the land. They return from their 40-day scouting expedition with their report for Moses.  He and the people are gathered to hear the news…10 say nay and 2 say yay!

In summary, the 10 nays win the day and convince the people not to take the land—a land already promised to them.  The result of the people’s disobedience is they must wonder in the desert for 40 years, to see the land from a distance yet not be able to enter it. 

Forty years has passed by the time we come to Joshua 6.  A new leader is on the scene because Moses has died.  Joshua is the new commander and was part of the original 12 who had spied out the land over 40 years prior. Joshua is one of the original 2 who said Israel can take the land. 

God has prepared Joshua for this role of leadership and after his Moses-like parting of the Jordan River experience (Joshua 3), he faces his first obstacle in the Promised Land—the impenetrable stone-walled city of Jericho.  But here is what we find in the book of Joshua that is a theme woven throughout the Bible.  God often does the unimaginable, so that He gets the glory and not ourselves.

You know the story (Joshua 6).  God tells Joshua to gather his military, seven priests, and the ark.  They are to march around the city one time for six days and go back to camp not saying a word.  The priests will blow seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark each time.  Then on day seven, they will march around the city seven times, blow the trumpets, and all the people will shout and the walls will come tumblin’ down!  Sounds pretty crazy! But that’s just it.  God loves to do the unimaginable, so that He gets the glory and not ourselves. 

The book of Joshua is about conquest.  By the time we get to the New Testament, the theme of conquest continues to reverberate through the pages of Scripture.  However, the conquest at this point is not with military might, trumpets, or an ark.  Rather, the greater reality of conquest in the Bible is accomplished through the life, death, and resurrection of One who is greater than Moses and Joshua as well as even the kings and prophets.  Jesus came not to tear down stone walls, but to crush stone hearts.  Interestingly, He does this stone-crushing by using ordinary soldiers to take the good news of His life, death, and resurrection to their neighbors and the nations. 

How could this be possible?  The world is so large and the opposition to the gospel of Jesus is so hardening.  But that’s just it.  God loves to do the unimaginable, so that He gets the glory and not ourselves.  Will you spend your life for this unimaginable, but God glorifying cause and watch the walls come tumblin’ down?