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76 new North American missionaries called ‘your mouth, hands, feet’

NORCROSS, Ga. (BP)–A group of 76 new missionaries and members of a suburban Atlanta church were challenged during a North American Mission Board commissioning service Feb. 20 to remember Christ’s purpose as he ministered to the tax collector Zacchaeus

“Jesus knew if he could change Zacchaeus he could begin to change the world,” said Bob Horner, pastor of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church, which hosted the commissioning service.

Just as the crowd acted as a hindrance to Zacchaeus being able to see Jesus, Horner noted, sometimes “the crowd” of Christians does the same for non-Christians today.

“Sometimes we crowd out all people from really seeing the Savior,” Horner said. “… Many times we simply don’t understand how lost this world is. And as we as a church help send out these missionaries, it’s not just they that go out. We go out [through them].”

The 37 couples and two single missionaries were commissioned to serve in a variety of roles across the United States and Canada, joining about 5,000 other missionaries across the United States and Canada supported by Southern Baptists through the convention’s Cooperative Program giving channel and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

The new missionaries include church planters, inner-city missions center directors, volunteer coordinators, state convention staff, associational missionaries, catalytic missionaries for ethnic groups and many other ministry roles.

Randy Singer, executive vice president for NAMB, reminded the congregation that the qualification for God’s call on the lives of the missionaries is the same in at least one respect for every Christian.

“What qualifies you to be a missionary is that you are sinners saved by grace,” he said. “The same thing that qualifies … everyone in here to be a missionary — because we’re either a missionary or a mission field. …

“When you go out, it’s not what you do for God that matters, it’s what God does in your heart and through you,” he added later. “The power of the call is the person of Jesus Christ.”

Singer also reminded the church that the missionaries are being sent out by them and other churches across the country.

“This is a partnership. They are your mouth, and your hands, and your feet to go places that you could never go,” he said. “They go to the inner city of places like Detroit, to student campuses all over Virginia, to rural areas in America that don’t even have one evangelical church. They are to be, and you are to be, a vessel to bear his name.”

The event was the first of six church-based commissioning services scheduled this year through the North American Mission Board. Other services will be in Alpharetta, Ga.; Sutton, W.Va.; Falls Creek, Okla.; Woodstock, Ga.; and Columbia, S.C.

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  • James Dotson