News Articles

S.C. congregation 100th to take ‘Global Priority’ challenge

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, S.C., became the 100th Southern Baptist congregation to join a new network for churches that want to reach the whole world for Christ.
The International Mission Board’s “Global Priority Church” challenge, launched in May, equips churches with resources to become more effective in their mission efforts.
At almost 160 years old, First Baptist Church of Spartanburg has a rich heritage of mission support, said Kent Holt, the congregation’s education minister. But church leaders were looking for a way to do more.
“This church has always had a strong missions emphasis,” Holt said. “Our youth and senior adult choirs have found a niche in prison ministry. We have conducted Vacation Bible Schools in eastern Kentucky for 28 years. We’ve had overseas projects in Brazil and Romania for several years. We’ve had three families commit to career missions in recent years.
“But we felt we could be more intentional about our missions involvement and personalize missions for our people more than we have before. We felt the Global Priority Church challenge would give us a handle on those things.”
First Baptist Spartanburg joined the network Sept. 9. By Sept. 21, 108 congregations in 25 states had taken up the Global Priority Church challenge. Texas led the list with 23 churches, followed by Tennessee with 17. Twelve Florida churches had signed on.
First Baptist Church of North Spartanburg, S.C., was the 101st congregation to join the network. That church had just finished hosting a large missions conference and Global Focus pastors’ seminar when they signed on.
“We’re delighted to see the number of Global Priority churches pass 100,” said Bill Morgan, director of the International Mission Board’s Creative Access Networks program. “We want to identify churches with a passion for missions that begins where they are and goes to the ends of the earth. We want to affirm them and provide them with resources that will help them be more effective in their overseas mission efforts. And we want to encourage others to join them and become churches with a global priority.”
Congregations accepting the Global Priority Church challenge join a specialized communications network and participate in regional meetings where they can share ideas and be briefed on mission developments and opportunities.
“We have a closely tied electronic network with these churches so we can constantly be in touch with them, sharing vital mission information with them,” Morgan said. “When we learn of a special need, development or opportunity we e-mail a notice to them immediately so they hear about it before they ordinarily would through normal channels.”
Membership in the Global Priority Church network is not limited to large congregations. One Global Priority church, Grace Baptist Church of Cumming, Ga., meets in mobile facilities and owns no land, yet gives 15 percent of its resources to missions.
“We’ve tried to design this so churches of any size can be involved,” Morgan said. “We want to challenge all Southern Baptist congregations to become churches with a global priority. Some of them already are very serious about global missions; we want to partner with them to maximize missions involvement. Others have a heart for it but haven’t found a handle on it yet; we want to help them do that.
“Our ultimate aim is to see the largest possible number of churches have God’s heart for the whole world.”
For more information on the Global Priority Church challenge, contact [email protected] or call toll-free 1-877-462-4721.

    About the Author

  • Mark Kelly