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SBC mobilization for missions keyed to ‘spiritual motivation,’

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–The mobilization effort necessary to win the world for Christ “will not come from program promotion but only from a spiritual motivation that captures the heart of God for the nations,” International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin told agency trustees July 29 in a meeting at Glorieta, a Lifeway Conference Center, in New Mexico.
Mobilization of Southern Baptists “will not happen with generic support but only through opportunities for personalized involvement,” Rankin said. “We must be willing to forego exclusive control in order to mobilize partnerships in which churches, state conventions, associations, seminaries, LifeWay Christian Resources and others can have a sense of ownership and empowerment in what they do and contribute to the task of winning our world.”
Mobilization is a word the International Mission Board uses to describe involving every individual Southern Baptist and every Southern Baptist entity in an all-out effort to witness to those throughout the world who do not know Christ.
Rankin made the comments to trustees during their July 26-29 meeting, held in conjunction with the first-ever International Mission Week at Glorieta. More than 1,800 people were involved in the week’s activities, including an appointment service in which 56 new career and associate missionaries and 14 new apprentice missionaries were appointed.
During their meeting, trustees elected Rodney L. Hammer as the new regional leader for Central and Eastern Europe. Hammer, 34, is strategy associate and training coordinator for the IMB’s Southeast Asia and Oceania region. He succeeds John Floyd, who recently retired.
From 1990-96, Hammer served as strategy coordinator for China with Cooperative Services International, the board’s former relief and development arm. Prior to joining the IMB in 1990, Hammer was a pastor and church staff member in Missouri. He holds degrees from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.
In other action, the board:
— approved moving $286,933.31 from operating reserves to offset the shortfall created by the 1998 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering not reaching its $110 million goal, $102 million of which had been allocated in the board’s 1999 operating budget.
— appropriated $115,000 from the operating reserves to “cover costs associated with implementation of regional leadership teams.”
— increased from three months to 12 months the full salary a surviving spouse of a career or associate missionary receives after the death of a spouse.
Rankin, in his report to trustees, said IMB’s “staff, missionaries and each part of our organization are focusing on mobilization efforts to multiply our impact on a lost world. This entails envisioning, informing, enlisting, involving, encouraging, equipping, enabling and empowering others. It implies networking and partnership.
“I often say, ‘If we can get to the point of ceasing to be concerned about who’s in control and who gets credit, we will be amazed at what God will do,” he said. “There is a natural tendency to become a restrictive funnel and futilely attempt to maintain control rather than being driven by the lostness of our world and focusing on mobilizing the resources to penetrate that lostness.”
Rankin identified “three distinct paradigm shifts in attitudes that are being made [by the IMB] which contrast our vision for the 21st century with the past:
— “We must no longer be limited to the organization potential of the IMB but base our strategy on the resources of the entire denomination and a network of Great Commission partners.
— “We must no longer be satisfied with incremental statistical growth but nothing less than a global impact and all peoples coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
— “We must be driven, not by man-sized goals, but a God-sized vision.”
During the meeting, trustees also attended a two-day seminar on new directions in international missions today.

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  • Louis Moore