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From ‘doing nothing,’ church moves to multifaceted missions outreach

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary students caught a glimpse of God’s heart — and a Missouri church’s passion for missions — Feb. 21.

Global Missions Day brought several International Mission Board missionaries to the Fort Worth, Texas, campus with one thing on their hearts: sharing Jesus across the world. They manned exhibits and challenged seminarians with opportunities for service in their countries. In addition, John “3:16” Marshall, pastor of Second Baptist Church, Springfield, Mo., was the featured speaker in chapel.

Marshall, who adopted 3:16 as a nickname as a teenager “and it stuck as a habit,” used the analogy of a baseball game to describe his involvement in the Great Commission five years ago.

“I felt like I was in the stadium but I was not in the game,” he said. “I felt that Jesus was at home plate giving the Great Commission, but I had somehow been left out.”

This greatly convicted him, so he put together a group of 100 leaders from his church who began meeting once a week. For the next four months they read the first 13 chapters of Acts over and over in hopes of finding out what their church was missing.

The answer they found: They were missing their part in fulfilling the Great Commission. They were missing missions.

The church decided to adopt five unreached people groups, Marshall said. One of the groups the church was assigned was the Dong of China. Now, five years later, his church has had a great truth revealed to them, the pastor said: “… the Great Commission was not given to the church or the Sunday School class, but it was given to every individual on earth, [and] that the [International Mission] Board, the church, and the Sunday School class exist to help me as an individual to go,” he said.

“You as a student at Southwestern Seminary are here to fulfill the Great Commission,” Marshall said. “Missions is not just a little category [in] what you are to do in life; missions is what you are called to do.”

Reading a long list of countries, Marshall said that more than 700 people in Second Baptist went on mission trips last year to Papa New Guinea, Taiwan, China, Japan, Nepal, India, Africa, Egypt, Spain, Mexico, Haiti and several areas in the United States.

“Five years ago our church was doing nothing,” Marshall said, and now the church has agreed to work in conjunction with the IMB to take responsibility for networking with other churches to take the gospel to everyone in Central America.

“God totally transformed us. He remade us,” Marshall said.

Marshall ended his chapel message with a challenge to the students to be on mission. “All of you, everyone of you, is called,” he said. Sixty-five students went forward to the altar, filling out commitment cards and visiting with IMB personnel to accept the challenge.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: JOHN ‘3:16’ MARSHALL, MISSIONARY’S FULFILLMENT and AT THE MISSIONS ALTAR.

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  • Tammi Mallory