Information or Transformation?

When Jesus offers those famous final words to his disciples on that mountaintop in Galilee, he has the end goal in mind—transformation, that is, mature disciples.  Jesus’s command in the Great Commission is to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19).  The goal of the Great Commission is faithful Jesus followers.  Where the gospels end with the story of Jesus, the book of Acts begins.  Acts is the story of how Jesus’s commission is to be carried out among all nations through the local church.  Churches not only plant churches in Acts to fulfill His mission, but churches are also concerned with maturing as a church by “teaching [disciples] to observe [do] all that Jesus commanded” (Matt 28:20).      

Discipleship must be intentional, or it will not occur.  Followers of Jesus need to be taught scripture reading, doctrine, prayer, evangelism, church membership, fasting, missions, parenting, biblical view of work, ethics and so much more. In other words, each church must have a robust and intentional method of discipling their own people from the youngest to the oldest – from the cradle to the grave with the Word of God.

Churches must ensure that disciples are being formed within their congregation. Paul reminds the church at Colossae that the goal of every church is to proclaim Jesus by “admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete (mature) in Christ” (Col 1:28).  The Great Commission is not simply about forming converts but forming mature disciples. How can we know if a person is becoming a mature disciple?  

The International Mission Board (IMB) is helpful by speaking of 6 marks of a disciple (Foundations, IMB).  In other words, every church’s goal is to see every Jesus follower mature by the transformation of the word in these areas of their life:

  • transformed heart- being born again with a new heart
  • transformed mind- being renewed in our minds
  • transformed affections- being led with godly desires/affections
  • transformed will- being obedient in what we do
  • transformed relationships- being reconciled with others because of Jesus
  • transformed purpose- being engaged in God’s mission

In essence, then, the Great Commission involves the holistic transformation of each disciple in every aspect of their life—heart, mind, affections, will, relationships, and purpose in the context of the local church. 

Further, disciples transformed by the gospel will contribute to overall healthy church formation.  When disciples of Jesus in the context of the local church are becoming more mature in Christ, that local church becomes healthier.  But what does a healthy church look like?  Again, helpful in this conversation is the IMB’s 12 Characteristics of a Healthy Church (Foundations, IMB).

  1. Biblical evangelism
  2. Biblical discipleship
  3. Biblical membership
  4. Biblical leadership
  5. Biblical preaching and teaching
  6. Biblical ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper
  7. Biblical worship
  8. Biblical fellowship
  9. Biblical prayer
  10. Biblical accountability and discipline
  11. Biblical    

Is your church intentionally working toward these 12 characteristics which will both mature the disciples and the church?  What plans does your church have in place to ensure that all believers are taught not simply to know the Bible, but to live [observe] the Bible?   After all, those famous last words on the mountain with Jesus are meant for our transformation and not simply our information.

The Mission Continues

As Jesus gathers with his disciples on that Galilean Mountain for a final time, what would he say to them?  Would he say, “It’s been fun. Thanks for the memories.”?  Or maybe, “I will miss you. Hang in there.”  Of course not.  As the disciples see Jesus, they are mixed with worship and worry (Matt 28:17).

In that moment, Jesus says, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:18-20).

The change in circumstances for the disciples did not change their mission – make disciples of all nations. In fact, it propelled it.  The mission of Jesus is to continue through the disciples of Jesus.  The work is just getting started, he tells his disciples.  Instead of sitting back in fear of what just happened or what might happen, the disciples are given their mission and assured of Jesus’ ongoing presence. 

The circumstances surrounding the last weeks of Jesus’ life on earth did not deter the mission; rather, it gives fuel for the mission.  Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is the basis for the mission he gives his disciples.  Though the disciples are long gone and with the Lord now, the mission he gave them on that mountaintop remains.  The mission continues, as Jesus promises his presence to all who live out this mission (Matt 28:20). 

Jesus insists, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20).  Quite literally, Jesus says that he is with us “all the days, even to the end of the age.”  His presence is promised to us as we continue the mission.  Seasons and circumstances change, but the mission marches on as Jesus promises to be with us. 

Whether in pandemics, wars or the like, the mission of Jesus continues until the “end of the age.”  The Lord’s church must find ways to stay on mission locally and globally regardless of the circumstances.  Your church plays a vital role in the mission given to us by Jesus.  How will you ensure that the mission continues across the street and across the sea regardless of the circumstances?  The Missions Mobilization Team is here to help you do just that, to continue the mission of Jesus.        

Throw a Lifeline

Years ago, while speaking at a youth camp in Daytona Beach, FL, myself and several others were caught in a dangerous undertow while attempting to give assistance to a teenager struggling in the choppy Atlantic waters.  Thinking that I was swimming over to help a teenage boy in need, I found myself needing help.  Before I realized it, lifeguards filled the sandy beach, along with firetrucks and ambulances.  All the while, one lifeguard swam against the undertow to rescue myself and a few others who were in danger of drowning. 

Clinging to his buoy, he instructed us to kick as we tried to swim parallel with the beach in order to eventually swim out of the undertow.  Unfortunately, we did not make any progress.  The waves continued to pull us further away from shore.  We were struggling to hang on and stay afloat.  That’s when everything changed.  One by one, other lifeguards entered the water, stretching out their buoys until they formed a human lifeline to reach us and pull us to the safety of the beach.        

Those in the waves of gospel ministry can relate to this story all too well.  They answer the call from God to go and help those struggling in the waters of life.  Yet often they find themselves in need of help.  Missions specifically and ministry in general is not for the faint of heart.  One need only review the apostle Paul’s “resume” to realize such is the case. 

He describes his own experience, “Apart from such external things [beatings, ship wrecks and fleeing], there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:24-25, 28).  No wonder why God assured Paul that no harm would come to him while he was in Corinth (Acts 18:9-11). Paul faced both external opposition to the gospel and internal pressure for the care of the church. 

Bottom line: ministry is filled with both physically demanding and emotionally draining work.  Gospel work is hard work.    

It is no wonder why Paul, in his prison letter to Timothy, reminds the young pastor, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).  Ministry can be brutal both to the body and the mind.  Timothy needed to be encouraged to continue in the work that God had called him to.

Today is no different.  When it comes to the Great Commission, encouragement for missionaries and those who labor for the gospel is vital for their longevity.  Because doing the work of ministry involves external opposition and internal pressure, finding ways to throw our co-laborers a lifeline is essential for their survival.   

The church can play a vital role in lifeline ministry to missionaries and gospel workers.  While ministers of the gospel grow weary, churches that embrace a culture of encouragement among those on the frontlines provide real endurance for those struggling to run the race well. 

As I meet with pastors, church planters, and missionaries all over North American and internationally, the common theme I hear from them is that we have no idea what it means to them when they receive a card, message, package, phone call, or visit. 

Paul knew this well.   After all, after planting churches, he made rounds back to those same churches “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith” (Acts 14:22).  You never know what a call, card, text, package, visit or just ongoing communication with a pastor, church planter, or missionary will do to help them “continue in the faith.”  It quite literally is a lifeline to them!

Lessons from COVID for Short-term Missions

Coronavirus

Two years ago, no one imagined that we would still be dealing with COVID-19 in 2022. We will wade through this virus and by the summer the world will be back to normal, so we thought.  Well, that didn’t go exactly as we had hoped.  Two years later, we are still dealing with the virus, as we are learning ways to navigate in a world with it.  While we may not yet have a new normal, we certainly are not shutdown like we were in early 2020.  As we think about churches continuing to support the work of missionaries through short-term missions, there are some lessons we can glean from the last two years. 

  • The mission of God is not thwarted by a virus nor by anything or anyone else.  Nothing will stop the advancement of the gospel, even when the world apparently shuts down.  Jesus said, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell will not overpower it” (Matt 16:18).
  • Encouragement of missionaries on the field has perhaps never been more necessary (at least in my lifetime).  We all find ourselves in need of encouragement as the demands and challenges of life in a fallen world press on us.  Paul’s church planting pattern involved circling back to churches he planted to “strengthen the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith…” (Acts 14:22).  While Covid is still front-and-center, many other issues compound the challenges of ministry, especially cross-culturally.  The pressure cooker of today’s realities requires churches to provide intentional encouragement to help sustain field personnel across the globe.   
  • Hitting a moving target is never easy.  Let’s face it, data and policies seem to change weekly related to Covid.  Expecting these unexpected changes will aid the short-term mission team in staying focused on the mission rather than the obstacles.  For Paul, Roman imprisonment did not derail his plans for gospel advancement (Acts 28:30-31).
  • Since we are dealing with a moving target, stay up on current Covid information.  Short-term mission teams will need to research Covid requirements for their travel locations.  Even connecting flights, particularly in other countries, may require something different than the team’s destination city or country.  CDC provides information related to the virus (http://cdc.gov).  To find up-to-date info about travel in particular countries, search “US embassy and consulates in ________ (name of country).”  Then simply select the information about Covid-19.
  • Flexibility is still the 11th commandment in short-term missions.  “Thou shalt be flexible,” says the short-term mission team leader to his team.  Covid does not lessen the discomforts of crossing communities, countries, and cultures; it enlarges them.  God does not become frustrated over challenging circumstances, whether Covid or the like. He is sovereign over them.  While describing the glorious salvation of God’s people, Paul reiterates that God works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph 1:11).  God’s sovereignty is not meant to be a topic of theological debate.  It’s meant to be a comfort for our lack of sovereign control.  This truth is not just for our salvation, but for all of life, even short-term missions. Thus, be flexible as God is moving the pieces of the puzzle as He sees fit for your short-term mission team. 

While COVID-19 remains active, the gospel of Jesus marches on.  Short-term missions can still be part of God’s plan to engage communities, cities, and countries around the world with the good news of Jesus.  Don’t allow Covid to derail your church’s mission involvement.  Rather, trust God as He is working, and then adjust and plan accordingly.                     

Lottie’s Letters

IMB, Portrait of Lottie Moon, 1873.

Charlotte Digges Moon was born on December 12, 1840, in Albemarie County, Virginia.  Southern Baptists know her as Lottie Moon (information about Lottie and global stats taken from imb.org).  She served the people of China with the gospel for nearly 40 years.  She became a follower of Jesus in 1858, and at the age of 32 left her home for China where she would sacrifice her time and life for the sake of reaching the Chinese with the gospel of Jesus.  She, more than any, realized that the task was too great to reach the 472 million Chinese in her day, thus more people were needed to bring the gospel to China.

She would write many letters back home urging Southern Baptists to give and pray, but to also consider going.  For those new missionaries being sent through the Foreign Mission Board (International Mission Board today), she urged the FMB to instruct them that they were “coming to a life of hardship, responsibility and constant self-denial. . . . Let them come ‘rejoicing to suffer’ for the sake of that Lord and Master who freely gave his life for them.”

Years of Lottie letters prompted Southern Baptist women to organize and collect $3,315 to send missionaries to China.  In 1918, Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) named the annual Christmas offering for international missions after Lottie.  Today, the goal of this international missions offering named in her honor is $185 million.  Since the inception of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, Southern Baptists have given over $5 billion dollars to international missions. 

Lottie discovered in the 1800s that it takes all of us doing our part to reach the unreached with the gospel.  We need churches praying, giving, and sending.  Because Southern Baptists have taken Lottie’s charge for mission cooperation seriously, in 2020 there were 18,380 new churches planted; 144,322 new believers; 769,494 gospel conversations; 127,155 leaders trained, to name just a few ways in which our collective efforts are impacting the nations. 

Lottie was never one to shy away with her words.  On November 1, 1873, she would write: “A young man should ask himself not if it is his duty to go to the heathen, but if he may dare stay at home.  The command is so plan: ‘Go.’”  Let Lottie’s words on November 11, 1878, in Pingtu, sink deep in your heart:

“Oh! That my words could be as a trumpet call, stirring the hearts of my brethren and sisters to pray, to labor, to give themselves to this people. … We are now, a very, very few feeble workers, scattering the grain broadcast according as time and strength permit. God will give the harvest; doubt it not. But the laborers are so few. Where we have four, we should have not less than one hundred. Are these wild words? They would not seem so were the church of God awake to her high privilege and her weighty responsibilities.”

(imb.org)

Lottie’s letters still echo today. God continues to use her life to compel others to pray fervently, give sacrificially, and go boldly.  As the world population exceeds 7.8 billion people with at least 4.7 billion unreached with the gospel, what part will you play in assuring that the gospel continues to advance? 

May we share in Lottie’s unprecedented concern and do our part, as we hear her once again say, “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.”

Is it really a fork?

Years ago, while following my handy-dandy, trusty GPS late one foggy night on a KY backroad, the path split.  The GPS told me to go in one direction, but my “gut” said go the other.  I followed my GPS.  After winding through the narrow road, which seemed to get narrower and foggier as I drove, the directions from my GPS eventually led me to a metal gate at the entrance of a cow field.  In newfound wisdom, I thought to myself, “This GPS is wrong.”  Lesson learned: never assume your GPS is always right. 

We have all found ourselves at the proverbial “fork in the road,” when a decision needs to be made but we have more than one option.  How do we know the will of God when facing decisions in life?  Do we simply follow our GPS?  Could it be that we flip a coin?  Or maybe we just go with our “gut” feeling. There actually is a better option.  Scripture is not silent about these “forks in the road.”    

The wisdom of King Solomon offers us guidance when facing decisions in life.  He urges, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NASB).  I am afraid that all too often we make the “will of God” out to be some mystery that He hides from us, only revealing it to us if we say or do the right things—that is, pick the correct fork in the road.   

To trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not lean on our own understanding and acknowledge Him in all our ways is another way of saying, “walk faithfully with God.”  God’s promise for a straight path—a successful, agreeable, right path, is only after we are careful to trust in Him.  God’s greatest concern in our lives is not whether we buy this car or that car, whether we move here or there, or take this job or that job.  Rather, God’s greatest concern is that we fully rely on Him, that we live our lives in submission to Him. 

God is after our lives, not simply the decisions we make with our lives.  He wants us wholly devoted to Him, and in being so, He will make our paths straight. In other words, God is more concerned about the journey along the path than He is the particular choice on the path.  Lesson learned: let’s not be as focused on the “fork in the road” as we are on His work in our lives along the road.  It’s a journey along the path more than it is a “fork in the road.”   

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. 

IMB photo

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. 

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).

IMB photo

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. 

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?    

Holding the Ropes in New York City

William Carey is known as the “father of modern missions.”  He was a missionary to India in the late 1700s.  He and his good friend, Andrew Fuller, partnered together for the advancement of the gospel.  While Carey went to India, Fuller stayed back home becoming president of the Baptist Mission Society.  Carey famously said to Fuller before his departure overseas, “I will go down into the pit, if you will hold the ropes.”  Carey went and Fuller held the ropes. 

New York City is known for many iconic markers—the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, One World Trade Center, just to name a few.  People flock to this great city for food, entertainment, fame, and fortune.  I recently led a group of church leaders there for a vision trip to meet church planters living in the city for gospel impact.  The city is coming back to life after a year of uncertainty known as 2020.  Manhattan, for example, known as a worldwide center for all things commercial, financial, and cultural, was busy with activity. 

As we met with various church planters to hear their stories and their vision for reaching the city, one theme became clear: we need your help!  Great Commission work is not meant to be done alone.  In a metro area of 22 million people, only 2% follow Jesus.  The massive need of lostness alone can be crippling to any gospel minister without the right support, not counting the challenges of living in a concrete jungle. 

Kentucky Baptist Churches, while very different in context from New York City, can play a vital role in providing a lifeline of gospel advancement in a human sea of lostness.  Every church leader we met expressed the need for meaningful partnerships.  These partnerships are not dependent upon having the same ministry context, but simply a willingness to link arms or as Carey told Fuller once, hold the ropes.

Kentucky Baptists can hold the ropes with gospel partners in New York City through the following examples:

Partner long-term (at least 3-5 years).  Relationships take time and gospel work in New York City is often slow.  Relationships built around encouragement, prayer, teams, and finances provide much needed support. 

Send multiple teams (per year if needed and possible).  Nothing like seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, and touching the city to understand the great needs of the city.  Short-term teams done rightly can be a huge boost to the planter and the advancement of the gospel.

Be gospel centered.  Partnerships built around the gospel are critical.  While there are many good and helpful ways we can serve others, the gospel must be at the center of all we do.

Follow the vision/strategy of the church planter/church.  Let those who live in the city and know the needs of the city determine how to best reach the city. 

Be a servant.  While New York City is a great place to experience so much, partnering there requires that Kentucky Baptist Churches place priority on serving their partner.

As William Carey set sail for India, he needed the assurance that others like Fuller would be back home holding the ropes for him.  New York City church planters need the assurance of Kentucky Baptists that we will join in the work there by holding the ropes for gospel advancement.  If you want to learn more about your church partnering in NYC, please contact me at [email protected]