MARIETTA, Ga. (BP)–A group of 57 North American Mission Board missionaries was commissioned at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Atlanta May 4, symbolizing the prayer and financial support of both the local church and Southern Baptists across the country.
The missionaries serve in partnership with state conventions and local associations to plant churches, coordinate associational missions efforts, minister amid inner-city poverty and otherwise work to see individuals come to faith in Christ.
Two missionaries interviewed by Bryant Wright, pastor of the north Atlanta congregation, illustrated the diversity of the group.
Britton Elliott is a missions ministry consultant with the Spartanburg (S.C.) County Baptist Network, working to mobilize churches and volunteers for joint missions efforts.
“I speak at our different churches and plan exciting avenues for people to experience the blessings of God through missions,” she said. “Churches are eager to do that, but not really sure what to do. So my job is to empower them and equip them to go out and serve God.”
Lloyd Byers Jr., meanwhile, serves as director of missions for Guam Baptist Association — the farthest outpost of NAMB’s work, located just east of the Philippines.
His job is much the same as that of directors of missions in many pioneer areas, serving as a resource for local churches in recruiting pastors, starting churches, and otherwise presenting a Christian witness to the community.
“It’s very interesting, because there are so many nationalities,” he said. “Our role is to support the pastors and Disaster Relief forces.”
NAMB President Robert E. “Bob” Reccord, speaking during the third service of the morning in the packed sanctuary, challenged the congregation to respond to God’s call on their own lives. Addressing the theme that has come to symbolize NAMB’s work, he called on all believers to “answer His call, tell His story, and change your world.”
“Every Christian is called by God to be on mission for Him,” Reccord said. “You’re either going to be a missionary right where you are, or you’re going to be a mission field in need of a missionary.”
The interesting thing, he said, is that if an individual is faithful to answer His call and tell His story, “you inevitably will change your world.”
There are currently more than 5,200 North American Mission Board missionaries serving throughout the United States, Canada and U.S. territories. The next commissioning service for newly appointed missionaries is scheduled for Aug. 24 at the Century II Convention Center in Wichita, Kan.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: CHANGE THE WORLD, SHARING and TESTIMONY.