Partners in the Mission

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Every church and follower of Jesus has one and the same mission in life—makes disciples of Jesus locally and globally.  That is, every believer through his or her local church is called to both grow as a disciple of Jesus and help make disciples for Jesus.  Each church must think carefully about how best to make disciples of their own members as well as how to make disciples elsewhere. 

Discipling believers in each local church is no easy task.  However, even more difficult is being part of disciple-making beyond one’s own location and church.  After all, how can you make disciples where you have no on-going presence?  Yet, let’s not forget that the call of the Great Commission is one of disciple-making “of all nations” and throughout “Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Matt 28:19 and Acts 1:8).

For local churches to make disciples beyond their own locale, there must be intentional effort.  Disciple-making requires time and relationship.  Churches seeking to follow Jesus’s call to make disciples “of all nations” will do well to partner with trusted missionaries and churches to accomplish that end. 

But what should such a partnership entail?   As Southern Baptists and Kentucky Baptists, we call ourselves a Great Commission people, a people who cooperate in the mission.  While our partnership in the mission certainly involves our dollars as we give through Cooperative Program, it must be more than that as well. 

As a denomination with thousands of missionaries in our states, nation, and world, linking arm and arm with them is vital for Great Commission impact.  Let me suggest five practical ways for churches to partner with our missionaries in the mission of making disciples locally and globally:

1. Develop long-term partnerships (3-5 years minimum).  Relationships take time to build.  We want to invest in peoples and places for ongoing gospel work. The greatest impact comes over time.  These partnerships involve such things as: prayer, encouragement, finances, short-term teams, resources, etc.

2. Let the missionary determine the strategy.  Those who live in certain locations among certain peoples know best the needs and how to engage them with the gospel.  Working alongside of our missionaries to help with their strategy rather than against their strategy is crucial for long-term impact.   

3. Multiple teams per year (if needed). As partnership is about relationship, relationships occur over time and through interaction.  Rather than sending a team of 10, perhaps a church can send two teams of 5 at different times in the year.  Smaller teams allow for easier logistics.  More teams allow for deepening of relationships more than once a year.  However, as with suggestion #2, let the missionary ultimately determine the size and frequency of teams.

4. Be gospel-centered.  This may seem like a no-brainer.  However, we have all heard of short-term teams that paint, clean, build, play, and the like.  While all these elements and more can be valuable to short-term missions, we do all that we do for gospel advancement.  At the end of the day, the number one issue is whether we clearly explained the gospel and called people to follow Jesus.  Even our gospel-centeredness must be sensitive to the strategy of our host missionaries.  We know that the gospel is offensive to some (2 Cor 2:14-17), but we ourselves in our mannerisms and tactics don’t want to be.  Be gospel-centered as we rely on the guidance of our host missionaries and their strategy.   

5. Be a servant. Just as Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45), short-term mission teams partner well by going to serve and not be served.  Seeing new places and experiencing new cultures is thrilling but doing so to the detriment of the mission is costly.  This is not to say we should never see new sights or experience new cultures. Rather, set aside time to do just that, but give priority to serving both the missionaries you partner with and those who need the gospel. 

We all have the same mission—make disciples of Jesus locally and globally.  To do so well requires intentionality both here and there. As we partner for the sake of the gospel “over there,” let these five guiding principles direct you to partner well in the mission.

Could God Be Calling You to Serve Long-Term?

God continues to call men and women to serve in long-term ministry positions in Kentucky.  This past year we have seen five new Kentucky Mission Service Corps missionaries approved, six others awaiting approval and three or four others that are sensing God’s call to serve.

Currently one hundred eight men and women serve in various positions in Kentucky, from food & clothing ministry, women & children’s ministries, prison ministries, and much, much more.

Have you ever considered that He may be calling you?  Many times we think a missionary call means to serve in another country or another state, somewhere far, far away.  And, while that might be the case, He may be calling you to serve right here in Kentucky, perhaps right in your own county or community.

We have seven open requests for long-term, self-funded missionaries.  Seven of those are in Kentucky, one in Georgia, and one in Kenya.  Please pray with us that these positions would be filled.  And, ask God if He might be leading you to fill one of the positions.

Positions include the following.  Please click on each link for more detail.

  1. AIC Mukeu School for the Mentally Challenged – Lari Sub-County, Kiambu County, Kenya
    1. Need volunteers to serve in a school for special needs children.  (NOTE: This request is for 2022.)
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/aic-mukeu-school-for-the-mentally-challenged,3533?
  2. Allen Baptist Church – Allen, KY
    1. Looking for a student ministries missionary or missionary couple.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/allen-baptist-church,3649?
  3. Crossings at Cedarmore – Bagdad, KY
    1. Need volunteers to help in various positions at the camp.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/crossings-at-cedarmore,4122?
  4. Crossroads Community Baptist Church – Stearns, KY
    1. Looking for ministry partners.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/crossroads-community-baptist-church-missionary-need,3154?
  5. Divine Grace Church & Ministries – Atlanta, GA
    1. Looking for ministry partners to help with a church plant.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/divine-grace-church-ministries,3659?
  6. Freedom Center Ministries Assistant Directors – Cumberland, KY
    1. Married couple needed to serve alongside directors.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/freedom-center-ministries-assistant-directors,3146?
  7. Laurel Lake Baptist Camp – Corbin, KY
    1. Summer missionaries needed to help with the camp.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/laurel-lake-baptist-camp,3139?
  8. New Bethel Baptist Church – Eddyville, KY
    1. Couple needed to serve as church strengtheners.
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/new-bethel-baptist-church,3127?
  9. Emergency Christian Ministries – Williamsburg, KY
    1. Couple needed to serve in homeless shelter. 
    1. https://www.kybaptist.org/stories/emergency-christian-ministries,4291?

Please pray with us for individuals and/or couples to fill these positions.  If you sense God calling you to one of these positions, please email [email protected]rg for more information and how to get connected.

Love Thy Neighborhood

I enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day because it presents an opportunity to show love to those I care about … and eat chocolate too!   I will always try to remember my wife, daughters, and those closest to me on Valentine’s Day.  But what about my neighborhood?   If you’re like me, I don’t associate Valentine’s Day with showing love to my neighbors, but shouldn’t I? 

Matthew 22:34-40 says “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”   Jesus was saying, don’t stop at just loving me, love those around you too.   

I have the privilege and responsibility of being a covenant member in a young church whose mission is “to love God, love people and love community.”  From the beginning, it has been our goal to show our love for God by serving our community and those in it.  

One of the many ways that we loved and served our community early on was to spend afternoons tutoring children in the local elementary school.  The elementary school we chose to serve was struggling because very few parents were involved, many of the students were new to the US and learning English as a Second language, a majority of its students were on free or reduced lunches and academically, they were only in the 14 percentile state-wide.    

Our willingness to serve and love the children opened doors of trust with the faculty who were curious as to why we cared so much.  Our tutoring helped those students who were falling behind to catch up while discovering that someone genuinely cared about them.  It provided opportunities for sharing Christ and inviting families to join our community of faith.  It encouraged the teachers and faculty who had become so discouraged in their work.

Showing God’s love to the school greatly benefitted them … and us.  That school was recognized as the greatest success story in the district.  Their growth surpassed 90% of the elementary schools in the state, earning them a special distinction as “High Progressing” school, after finishing in the 71st percentile, up from the previous 14th.  WOW, what a difference our involvement and service had made. Their principal contributed the amazing turn-around to a team effort and thanked the church’s volunteers for loving the students and showing them the love of God.    

Our service through the school allowed me to see first-hand how loving our community opened doors that would have otherwise remained closed.  I saw the smile of a child who finally understood how to complete his homework assignment. I discovered what it means to love your neighbor and most importantly, I witnessed people coming to faith in Christ because we loved God, people, AND our community.  Let me challenge you to love your neighborhood this Valentine’s Day … and eat chocolate too?