Updated 11:09 a.m., Oct. 6, 2005
Editor’s note: This report replaces the Oct. 5 version, which included incorrect numbers for missionaries commissioned and failed to include information about new chaplains.
MCDONOUGH, Ga. (BP)–Charged with spreading the Gospel of Christ throughout North America, 102 new missionaries and chaplains were commissioned Oct. 2 by the North American Mission Board.
In a special 90-minute service at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Ga., NAMB commissioned 48 married couples and six individuals. The new missionaries will serve in 27 states and five Canada locations — Alberta, Toronto, Ontario, British Columbia and Montreal. Another eight hold “national” assignments.
Following a processional, all the new missionaries and chaplains – accompanied by flags representing their new states or provinces – introduced themselves to the 2,000-person congregation while several shared their testimonies.
“Statistics show that existing Southern Baptist churches win 3.4 people for Christ per 100 resident members,” said Mark Gray, who, with wife, Esther, is a church planting strategist/consultant in North Carolina.
“However, new churches win 11.7 people for Christ per 100 members. So we must plant not only new churches but new kinds of churches,” said Gray, who focuses on new Anglo and African-American church plantings.
Donnie Spivey, along with wife, Sheri, are serving in Kamloops, a city of 80,000 in British Columbia. A church planter, Spivey is working with unchurched university students and young families throughout the city.
Referring to the unchurched population of Canada, Spivey said “there are only 229 Southern Baptist churches in all of Canada.”
“Here in Georgia, you have 229 Baptist churches in the 30 miles between McDonough and Atlanta,” he said to laughter.
“There’s a recent movie out, called ‘[An] Unfinished Life’, which was filmed in Kamloops,” Spivey said. “Using that theme, my wife and I don’t want to be sitting around the coffee table in our 80s regretting what we should have accomplished for the Lord. We don’t intend to have unfinished lives.”
In his charge to the new missionaries, Chuck Allen, NAMB’s executive vice president, told the missionaries and congregation that “we make God’s simplistic plan of salvation complicated when it’s really not.
“For instance, there are only three true colors, but look what great artists do with those three colors,” Allen said. “There are only seven true notes of music but we’ve all heard the beautiful melodies those seven notes can produce. It’s not what we have, but what we give back to God that counts.
“Do what you can with what you have and God will never leave you where you are at or give you more than you can stand,” Allen told the missionaries.
NAMB partners with state Baptist conventions, associations and Southern Baptist churches to support more than 5,200 missionaries in the United States, Canada and U.S. and Canadian Territories. The missionaries start new churches, conduct evangelism and mobilize Southern Baptists to do missions.