NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. (BP) — In celebration of the 40th anniversary of its founding, the Berkland Baptist Church network of churches (including Antioch Baptist Church in Cambridge, Mass.) donated $1 million to the Baptist Convention of New England. The gift is the largest ever received by the BCNE and will be used to fund church planting, church revitalization and collegiate ministry.
An offering of gratitude
In addition to supporting work in New England, the Berkland Baptist Church network also made a donation of $100,000 to the Alaska Baptist Resource Network and $100,000 to the California Southern Baptist Convention. The decision was made when more than 400 members of the extended church family gathered in Plymouth, Mass., in November 2021 to celebrate the network’s anniversary. Shortly after, it was approved unanimously by all 11 congregations.
“As much as 2021 is a monumental landmark year for our church, we give God all the praise and glory,” said Paul Kim, pastor emeritus of Antioch Baptist, in a joint statement with his wife Rebekah. “We hope and pray that our offering to the three conventions can encourage all local SBC workers to continue laboring tirelessly for the Gospel. May many churches be planted and revitalized so that a great number of souls can be saved in fulfillment of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.”
A passion for churches planting churches
The Kims founded Berkland Baptist Church in Berkeley, Calif., in 1981. Ten years later, they moved to Boston and planted Berkland Baptist Church – Boston, now Antioch Baptist Church in Cambridge. The church continued to plant more churches over the next three decades, including Philadelphia Mission Baptist Church; Worthy Life Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore; Koinonia Community Baptist Church in Long Beach, Calif.; and Frontier Baptist Church in Fairbanks, Alaska; as well as churches in South Korea, the Republic of Georgia, Uzbekistan and the Republic of Armenia.
Members of the network, which now includes 11 churches, prayed about how to make their annual Thanksgiving Mission Offering even more special for the network’s 40th anniversary. They collected a record amount and opted to make donations to regional Southern Baptist entities in some of the least-reached areas of the United States for the purposes of church planting, church revitalization and other local ministry.
Supporting New England ministry
“We are so thankful to Drs. Paul and Rebekah Kim for their Gospel faithfulness over the last 40 years, for their ongoing partnership in ministry, and especially for leading their network to make this incredible gift to help expand God’s Kingdom in New England,” said Terry W. Dorsett, executive director of the Baptist Convention of New England (BCNE). “Many souls will be saved as a result of their ministry, and many new ministers will be raised up because of this special gift. …
“Though the BCNE Board of Directors will make the final decision, in keeping with the long-established ministry focus of the donor network, our current plan is to split the gift equally between church planting, church revitalization, and collegiate ministry and use it over the next three years to push back spiritual darkness and create a healthy foundation for future ministry in those three areas.”
Antioch Baptist Church has been a member of the BCNE since the church’s founding in 1991. It is consistently a top donor to the Cooperative Program in the region and a leader in collegiate ministry, missions and church planting.