ST. LOUIS (BP)–They are baptizing former Muslims in Alberta, Canada; starting house churches in Reno, Nevada; sharing the Gospel in Times Square; and enlightening Harvard students with the Light of the world.
These are just a few examples of the life-changing ministries led by 86 of the North American Mission Board’s newly commissioned missionaries currently serving throughout the United States and Canada.
The missionaries were commissioned before about 2,000 people Nov. 4 at a ceremony during the Missouri Baptist Convention’s annual meeting. The newly appointed Southern Baptist workers join more the 5,200 NAMB missionaries and more than 2,500 chaplains currently serving throughout North America.
NAMB President Robert E. “Bob” Reccord commended Missouri Baptists as well as Southern Baptists throughout the country for their support of NAMB’s charge to reach North America with the Gospel.
“The only way [our missionaries] serve is because of you and the faithfulness of your churches,” Reccord said. “A long time ago, Southern Baptists found we could do so much more together than we could ever do separately, and that is what has made us strong as we have kept evangelism and missions the core heartbeat. The moment we let that slip from the center of focus in what we’re called to do is the moment this denomination begins to crumble.”
In his commissioning service message, Reccord challenged those in attendance to follow the example of the missionaries standing before them.
“Every one of these has answered His call,” Reccord said. “Every one of them has committed to tell His story. And every one of them is focused to change their world.”
Recalling how he came to know Christ as his personal Savior while a “party animal” at Indiana University en route to medical school, Reccord said, “Jesus Christ calls everyone in this room tonight to a personal relationship with Him, and when He does that He calls us by name.”
Reccord said God’s call on people’s lives into a personal relationship with Him also is a call to serve Him. “Have you thought how marvelous it is that God called you by name personally and also that He’s called you purposefully for a mission that He’s got just for you?” he asked.
Suggesting that the church has “unintentionally lost a key message,” Reccord emphasized that God’s call on the lives of the laity is no less of a call to ministry and missions than the call of a fulltime vocational minister or missionary.
“God has called you and me to be one-on-one telling people about Jesus Christ and how He can change their life if indeed He’s changed ours,” Reccord said.
Reccord concluded his message by challenging the audience to complete a commitment card pledging to pray for North American missionaries, or pursue short-term or fulltime mission opportunities offered through NAMB. At the end of the service, hundreds of people turned in their commitment cards at the speaker’s platform.
“May You call them to the great cities,” Reccord prayed. “May You call them to go across economic and social and racial barriers, and may You call them just to go across the street.”