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Pastors challenged to find place in God’s story

BALTIMORE (BP) — Southern Baptist pastors and members were challenged to “Find Your Place in God’s Story” during a dinner hosted by IMB as Southern Baptists gathered for their annual meeting in Baltimore.

“We believe your heart’s going to be touched. You’ll see where you fit in the picture,” IMB President Tom Elliff said. “And there’s one place where you fit the best.”

God has worked powerfully through Cuban Baptists, Juan Carlos Rojas, president of the Western Cuban Baptist Convention and pastor of Havana’s Calvary Baptist Church, told the dinner group, with the help of a translator.

“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is unstoppable in our nation and in the rest of the world, as well,” Rojas said during the June 9 dinner. “Today, we are able to harvest what many others have planted … with great sweat and tears.”

In 1990 there were 238 Baptist churches in Cuba and now, “to the glory of God,” there are 977, Rojas said. Including missions, house churches and small groups, God’s Word is preached in more than 7,000 places in Cuba every week.

“God has given us a great harvest,” Rojas said. “Yes, this is a great reality, but there’s still a lot to be done. And we … join Him in this one sacred effort together. Brothers and sisters, the fields are white unto harvest. And we don’t only want to preach and bless Cuba; God has also called us to go to the nations.”

J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., said the question we should ask is not, “‘God, am I supposed to be used for these [billions who have never heard the name of Jesus]?’ The question is only, ‘where and how?'”

Four things that shape how individuals and churches see their role in the story and the mission of God, Greear said, are that everyone has a part, the Holy Spirit has to tell your part, the greatest stories are yet to be written and we need pastors who will pray for God to bless their churches greatly for the sake of the Great Commission.

“Let’s ask God to make us great, to bless us so that His way would be known in all the earth and His salvation among all nations,” Greear said as he asked attendees to enter a time of prayer.

Motivational speaker Christina Lovelace and former International Mission Board Hands On missionary to Brazil Isaac Adams shared a spoken word presentation of “The Story of God” by Matt Papa, a Christian musician and songwriter.

“[The Gospel has] spread like fire, and came to America by sailing,” Lovelace said. “Here we are, the 21st century, the Gospel cannot fail. The Gospel shall not fail in places where there’s oppression and persecution.”
Laura Fielding is an IMB writer. Baptist Press reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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  • Laura Fielding