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Rankin utilizes 2 time zones to share mission message in Ky.

ALBANY, Ky. (BP)–Who says you can’t be in two places at one time? Jerry Rankin, president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, preached Aug. 12 at the 11 a.m. worship services in two Kentucky Baptist churches in different towns.

Rankin, who spoke at an associational missions rally the night before, took advantage of the two time zones in south-central Kentucky to preach Sunday morning at Elk Springs Valley Baptist Church in Wayne County and at First Baptist Church of Albany. Rankin’s wife, Bobbye, also spoke at two churches on Sunday morning — 10:30 a.m. Eastern at First Baptist Church of Monticello and 11 a.m. Central at Stony Point Baptist Church in Albany.

Describing the Rankins’ speaking blitz as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for Freedom and Wayne County Baptist associations, director of missions Kenneth Dick noted, “We’re trying to utilize them to the maximum in our churches.”

Dick said he worked closely with Kentucky Baptist Convention President Jim McKinley, a retired Southern Baptist international missionary, to arrange the Rankins’ visit.

“I had it in my heart the Rankins were supposed to come,” Dick explained. “God just worked it out.”

During the Saturday night missions rally at Stony Point, McKinley welcomed the Rankins to his home church, recounting his Christian conversion there in 1938 at age 9. The Aug. 11 “Lord of the Harvest Missions & Evangelism Rally,” which attracted more than 300 people, also featured a mini-concert by gospel singer Lois Jane Wallace.

Declaring that “God is breaking down the barriers” to the gospel around the world, Rankin urged the crowd to be sensitive to God’s call to missions.

Describing 1 Chronicles 16 as “one of my favorite Great Commission passages,” Rankin said the children of Israel were challenged to “sing God’s praises and glory in his name that people in all the ends of the earth would praise him.”

Centuries later, however, “We’re the only ones singing those praises,” Rankin noted. He said Muslims, Buddhists, unreached people groups and others “know nothing of God’s grace that will elicit a song of praise.”

The answer, he said, is for Christians to accept God’s call to go to the uttermost parts of the earth.

“Where is the uttermost?” Rankin asked. “It’s those places where people are still waiting to hear the message of Jesus Christ. It’s where Jesus said we’re to go to proclaim the gospel to every creature and to make disciples.”

Despite overwhelming challenges, “God is at work throughout our world to exalt his name among the nations,” Rankin added. He said record Southern Baptist missionary appointments and thousands of mission volunteers are helping impact the world with the gospel.

Sounding a theme that frequently punctuates his mission messages, Rankin said, “I tell our missionaries I believe we’re sending them out to be the last generation of missionaries.”

Citing Matthew 24:14 — “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” — Rankin said, “When I read those words, my heart beats with excitement. Those words are being fulfilled.”

Though “I don’t get caught up in end-time eschatology,” he added, “the fact is the gospel has penetrated every nation of the world. … God is opening the doors.

“God is moving in providence and power,” Rankin said. “God’s Spirit is moving to fulfill the Great Commission.”

Highlighting Southern Baptists’ role in reaching the world with the gospel, he told the crowd, “If we’re going to be faithful and obedient to what God would have us do, we must have a vision for evangelizing the nations.

“God has not given any church permission to draw a circle around itself” and limit its ministry, he insisted. “The heart and passion of God is the ends of the earth.”

    About the Author

  • Trennis Henderson

    Trennis Henderson is the national correspondent for WMU (Woman’s Missionary Union). A Baptist journalist for more than 35 years, Henderson is a former editor of the Western Recorder of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the Arkansas Baptist News state convention newsjournal.

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