By: Waylon Bailey ~
Last week Martha and I had the privilege of going to a missions conference in Southern California. The conference was the Send Conference 2017 sponsored by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board. Both of these entities are Southern Baptist and have been around for over 100 years seeking to take the Gospel to the nation and to the nations.
Here are some of the things we observed this week.
First, taking the Gospel to the world is a daunting task, but it is not any bigger than the task faced by Paul and Barnabas and the church in Antioch. The same God who directed and empowered the first missionaries will do the same in our day.
While the task in our own nation is demanding, from the world point of view it seems overwhelming. The good news is our God will supply all our needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Second, we are not alone. God is with us, and He is raising up many groups and people to take the Gospel to the nations.
This is one of the most encouraging signs I have seen. It seems there is more interest in planting churches and sharing the Gospel today than I have seen in my lifetime.
Third, we have the work and power of the Holy Spirit giving us what we need in making Christ known.
As the hand of God was on the early church, His hand will also be upon faithful people of our own day.
Finally, there is good news around us.
While we are not alone in doing this great work, I only have statistics related to my own denomination of Southern Baptists.
Southern Baptists have begun to grow again in the number of churches in North America. The latest statistics show 46,793 Southern Baptist churches. Of these over 10,000 self identify themselves as ethnic churches.
There was a time when Southern Baptists were only in the south, overwhelmingly white, and very homogenous in every way. That is no longer the case – – and that’s very good news. Of those 10,000 churches, 3300 are predominantly African-American churches, 2000 are Hispanic, and another 2000 or more are predominately Asian.
Let us be part of the response to the call of God to take the Gospel to all the nations knowing that heaven will be made up of “A great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language”(Revelation 7:9).
Have a great week!