RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–The International Mission Board’s vision for Kingdom growth is laid out in a new book by Jerry Rankin titled, “Empowering Kingdom Growth: To the Ends of the Earth.”
In it, the IMB president shares not only the vision but also practical ways Southern Baptists can become involved in carrying out the Great Commission.
While the book seeks to help pastors encourage and inform their congregations, Rankin hopes the book also will be useful to missionaries, volunteers and others with hearts for the lost world.
“The chapter on prayer alone is more than worth the price of the book,” said John Swadley, senior pastor of Forest Park Baptist Church in Joplin, Mo. “Southern Baptists have one of the most effective missions enterprises in the world. This book will help you understand why and how to get involved in God’s work of redeeming the world.”
Because many Southern Baptists do not know how God is moving on the earth, Rankin said the book includes stories of resistant peoples turning to Christ and explosive multiplication of churches, along with stories from his own missionary career.
He envisions the stories helping readers see how God is working and want to be a part of the mission.
“It is a vision that is greater than church or denominational growth,” Rankin writes in the book. “It is bigger than our programs. It is a God-sized vision for impacting our world for Jesus Christ.
“Every Southern Baptist Convention entity -– whether an association, a state convention or mission [board] -– exists only to serve, equip and enable churches and the people of God to fulfill the Great Commission.”
Rankin challenges believers to see the Great Commission as their responsibility and to take ownership of the responsibility by finding ways to reach the lost.
“Jerry Rankin clearly articulates the shifts taking place in the world and the church today,” said Bob Roberts, senior pastor of Northwood Baptist Church in Keller, Texas. “He also gives practical steps that every church can take to engage the world.”
“One of the primary messages is that the International Mission Board doesn’t do missions on Southern Baptists’ behalf but exists to serve, empower and facilitate their involvement in fulfilling the Great Commission,” Rankin said.
Churches and individuals wanting to participate in missions will find both traditional and new ways to help, he noted, such as taking part in short-term volunteer projects, adopting unreached people groups and providing cooperative support in sending missionaries.
“Dr. Rankin’s book provides a detailed description and practical illustrations of the vision and strategies that guide the work of our Southern Baptist international mission efforts,” said Jerry Daniel, who leads the IMB’s church and partner services. “Church leaders will gain new insights into the creative ways God is using missionaries and partnering churches in impacting the remaining lost peoples of the world.”
Rankin said he has wanted “to write such a book for several years to communicate the compelling vision and passion driving our mission efforts, to communicate our contemporary mission strategies and to challenge churches to become involved with us.”
“The more I wrote,” he said, “the more humbled I was to realize the privilege I had of being a part of the tremendous things God is doing, and I desired more than ever that all Southern Baptists would join God on mission to reach the ends of the earth.”
“Empowering Kingdom Growth: To the Ends of the Earth” is available for $19.99 at LifeWay Christian Stores and through the International Mission Board at http://resources.imb.org or 1-800-999-3113.