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‘Global Priority Church’ count tops 500, IMB says

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–The count is in — and 500 of Southern Baptists’ more than 40,000 churches across the country have officially become Global Priority Churches.
The Global Priority Church network, launched by the International Mission Board in 1998, encourages churches to develop God’s heart for the nations and step up global outreach ministries.
“We’ve recognized through the years that we needed some way to recognize and affirm churches that are serious about missions and want to become better equipped and personally involved,” said Bill Morgan, who directs the Global Priority Church emphasis.
“In the past few years, we’ve seen a great increase in churches wanting to personalize missions — to know missionaries by name, to pray for them, to adopt them, to have missions emphases and events,” he said.
“We encourage a church to have a comprehensive and balanced approach to missions — that they are doing everything they know to do to win their own community, association, state, nation and the world to Christ, and at the same time giving the one-third of the world that’s never heard the gospel an opportunity also to hear.”
A Global Priority Church meets (or is in the process of meeting) the following eight criteria:
— Prioritizes missions as a major thrust and provides staff leadership
— Prays for missionaries and the unreached world
— Provides missions education, information, events and displays
— Promotes growing missions giving
— Produces the missionaries for now and tomorrow
— Participates in short-term missions projects
— Partners in missions by adopting unreached people groups
— Personalizes missions by adopting IMB personnel
The board will work with GPC churches to tap into the missions resources available and maximize their potential for God’s kingdom. Each church will receive a plaque, hand-signed and, when possible, presented to the church by IMB personnel in a worship service.
The good news? With 500 churches committing to the GPC network, that’s a little over 1 percent.
And the bad news? At only 1 percent of churches accepting the challenge, there’s still a long way to go.
“While we rejoice in that, we recognize we have a big challenge ahead of us,” Morgan said.
He stressed that churches need not be wealthy or have paid staff to take part in the GPC network. Churches of different sizes, economic backgrounds and ethnic make-up are all represented — and welcome — in the network.
“When we say ‘Global Priority,’ we want to emphasize that we interpret that as an Acts 1:8 approach to missions, which means Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the world,” Morgan said. “Missions begins where we are and goes to the ends of the earth.”
A state-by-state breakdown of churches belonging to the Global Priority Church network has been sent directly to editors of Baptist state papers.

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  • Jenny Rogers