Romania Mission Trip Leads to Local Community Ministry

Operation Give Hope PhotoIn February 2010 Katheryn Pope received an email, totally out of the blue, from the KBC regarding an International Team Leadership Training, and decided to attend.  They agreed to help fund a mission trip to São Paulo, Brazil, with a commitment that each participant would then lead a team on an International World Changers trip within 18 months.  “I felt God was calling me to do so, even though I knew it would really stretch me, or I would not have gotten the email,” she said.

When the itinerary arrived, it included pastors, campus ministry leaders, and those that had been all over the world doing missions.  She did not fit in with this group, she thought.

The trip started as a fiasco for Katheryn as her flight was cancelled due to a thunder storm and she had to fly over 10 hours to Brazil alone.  “While there, we were instructed to go out on campus, strike up conversations with students, and eventually share Christ with them.  I was overcome by fear.  The first day I could not do it but, by the end of the trip, I was doing fine,” Katheryn said.

Once back home she realized that now she must fulfill the commitment she had made.  Although she had been on several mission trips before, she had never led one.  Katheryn contacted a local youth pastor and the two of them put together a strong team of 15 to go to Romania.  However, a few months before the departure, the youth pastor called and said he had been called to another church and would not be able to go with them.  But, with the team they had prepared, she was ready to lead.  In Romania they did construction projects, children’s day camps, and Bible studies.

Following the trip the team members became burdened for their own community.  The needs at home were great as well and they could do the same types of outreach right in their own county.  They contacted local Director of Missions Randy McPheron with their vision and, in 2012, the Rockcastle Baptist Community Mission Team was officially adopted by the association.

Since that time the Team has been active year round with outreach to their community. Volunteers from several churches in the association have come on board and this is literally an “associational team”.  Celebrate Recovery, Women’s Bible Study, GED Classes, Community Meals, a Summer Feeding Program for Kids, Back-to-School Events, an Emergency Food Panty and Door-to-Door Evangelism are just some of the ways they are impacting their county with the Gospel.  With each event the Gospel is shared.  Just in the past few weeks alone, 36 people have prayed to receive Christ as their Savior.

For the past 5 years the team has held Christmas Outreach events.  The most recent, Operation Give Hope, was held in which children and families were fed, heard the Christmas story, and received coats, blankets, and toys.  Kentucky Baptist Convention helped provide Bibles for this event and Appalachian Regional Ministries provided Christmas backpacks.

Katheryn was approved and commissioned in 2015 as a Kentucky Missionary and God has filled her with a passion for the lost and hurting.  Someone recently described her as soft spoken and iron-willed.  She continues to go on international trips but her on-going ministry is right here at home.

To learn how you can begin a similar community ministry, or partner with Katheryn and other Kentucky missionaries, please contact the KBC Missions Mobilization Team at 502-489-3530.

Hearing Lottie’s Challenge Afresh

LottieShe stood well under 5 feet (some say 4 feet, 3 inches). Yet, she was a giant with lion-hearted boldness in calling for missionaries to foreign fields. Writing in 1874 to H. A. Tupper, head of the mission board in her day, she challenged, “Oh that we had active and zealous men who would go far and wide scattering books and tracts and preaching the word to the vast multitudes of this land” (Keith Harper, Send the Light, quoted by Danny Akin, Five Who Changed the World, 64). She would also challenge Southern Baptists to give more for the sake of spreading the gospel among the nations.

For decades Southern Baptists have risen to Lottie’s challenge to go and give. In fact, Southern Baptists have given record amounts in recent years to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (2013 record amount of $154 million and $153 million in 2014). Further, individuals and couples are still answering the call to go and tell the good news among the nations. In spite of these record amounts of giving, some missionaries in recent years have been on hold to go because the finances are just not there (

In 2016 we need to hear Lottie’s words afresh. In January 1888 she wrote: “The needs of these people press upon my soul, and I cannot be silent. It is grievous to think of these human souls going down to death without even one opportunity of hearing the name of Jesus” (Aking, Five Who Changed the World, 67). Today there are still billions who will go down to death without ever hearing the name of Jesus.

The IMB has recently made some hard decisions to reduce their force between 600 and 800 people. The fact is, missionaries are coming home. This reality should strike the largest Protestant mission organization in the world with great force. We are sending missionaries home because the funds are just not there. How this problem began is another topic of discussion. The hard truth, however, is that Southern Baptists are sending missionaries home.

So, what do we do?

We pray. Jesus told us to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the harvest (Matt 9:38).

We send. Our God is a sending God who calls us to send our very best into that harvest (Acts 13).

We give. Senders send through not only giving people, but dollars. Like never before our churches must step up to the challenge Lottie gave and give so that the gospel might spread.

I know personally of two such churches in the Kentucky Baptist Convention who have heard the echo of Lottie’s challenge in recent days. Highland Park Baptist in Louisville and Williamstown Baptist in Williamstown both challenged their churches to give more than they have ever given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Both churches had goals for giving this year, but upon hearing of recent challenges with the IMB their churches responded incredibly. Their churches both gave three times the amount of their Lottie Moon goal.

What if every KBC and SBC church said, “We can pray more, send more, and give more so that others might hear of Jesus!”? What might God do with such a response to such a tremendous need? Only God knows! But we do know that fewer would go “down to death without even one opportunity of hearing the name of Jesus.”

Have It Your Way

Have It Your WayFor forty years, Burger King was known for its slogan, “Have It Your Way.”  It would be wonderful if one could order life like this.

Give me a double blessing with pleasure, money, recognition, a little adventure, and hold the danger.

Give me a mega church with extra good health, great leaders, and make it problem free.

Unfortunately, life does not work like this.  If we put our trust in Him, God has promised to be with us every moment of our journey.  But, He chooses to let every bend hold a surprise. None of us get to order life our way.

We cannot see what tomorrow will bring: transitions, career shifts, moves, health adjustments, family changes, and cultural revolutions.  Life is filled with diversity and is always shifting.

Solomon speaks of this in Ecclesiastes 3:

“To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to gain, and a time to lose;

A time to keep, and a time to throw away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;

A time of war, and a time of peace.”

Life comes with many seasons, twists, and turns.  Just open your local newspaper or read the national headlines.  Every day our world is rocked with news and descriptions of how quickly life can change.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling Causes Seismic Cultural Shift.

Greek Crisis Rocks the Stock Market.

ISIS Takes Key City in Iraq.

Week of Severe Weather Leaves at Least 43 Dead Across Seven States.

Words, such as these, can quickly bring fear and dread into our lives.  The changing seasons of Supreme Court rulings, financial crashes, terrorist plots, and natural disasters can cause us to quiver and be anxious about tomorrow.  For many of us, we are left to wonder, “Where can we find security and hope in our ever-changing world?”

We find hope in the same place that it has always rested.  Our hope is in an unchanging God, who is still on His throne.  Changes do not surprise God.  He is the One who created all the seasons of life.

I may not know what tomorrow brings, but I do know who holds tomorrow in His hands.

If our security rests in the momentary things of this world, then life often disappoints.  But, what if this world is just another season that God has given?  What if the winter seasons of life are meant to prepare us for a coming spring like we have never known?  The apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18,  “Therefore, we do not give up.  Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.  For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.  So we do not focus on what is seen, but what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Eternal life with an unchanging God of power and grace.  When that season comes, we will look back and realize that the winters were rather mild.

A New Start Should Involve Reaching New People

new year new startThe New Year’s Eve celebrations have ended and before us is a new year of new opportunities, new beginnings and new direction. This is the time of year that we find ourselves evaluating the past year and making new plans and resolutions for the coming year. Usually the new plans have something to do with our physical health, financial portfolios or our relationships. We resolve to quit eating so much, to start exercising, to save more money, to spend more time with our children and so on. We are lucky if these resolutions that we make to ourselves last 6 months.

As important as those things are, this year I challenge you to consider making a resolution this year that will really make a difference in your life and that of others – reach new people for Christ by engaging your community through a new ministry.  Not necessarily by yourself, although God may lead you to do so, but through your church.

Here are a few reasons why your church should prayerfully consider staring a new community engaging ministry:
• Identifies those who need to know Christ
• Builds witnessing relationships
• Connects church to community
• Increases visibility of church as caring
• Creates new ministry opportunities for members
• Helps communicate gospel in word and deed
• Reaches new un-reached people
• It’s Biblical

There are unreached people all over the world who need to know the love of Jesus Christ. Some of those unreached people are right outside the doors of our churches. The possibilities for how to reach them is limited only by your imagination and creativity. The Gospel of Christ has been effectively shared through medical clinics for the un-insured, mobile home rehabbing, after-school tutoring for at-risk children, money management courses for families living in poverty, English as a Second Language classes for internationals, job skill training, accountability groups for recovering addicts, etc.

I’m excited about the New Year ahead of us and trust you will see the possibilities that exist for sharing Christ through new ministries. Please let us know of ministries you’ve been involved in or heard about. Your comments on this blog may encourage others to try other new ministries in an effort to reach new people. Also let us know if there are ways we can assist you in the development of new ministries in your community.