RALEIGH, N.C. (BP) – Churches and Southern Baptist Convention entities must work together to see more missionaries reach the nations. That was the message of an all-day missions pipeline workshop for congregations in the Raleigh-Durham area.

Representatives from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the International Mission Board (IMB), and more than 10 churches gathered for the Oct. 26 workshop aimed at facilitating sending partnerships among local churches in the area.

Hosted at Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church in Raleigh, the pipeline workshop featured presentations from local churches with well-established pipelines as well as times for collaboration and discussion among participating churches.

“It behooves the local church, Southeastern and the IMB to work together to create pipelines that are congruent with sending healthy missionaries to reproduce healthy disciples in healthy churches in unreached places,” said Rick Fraley, a longtime missionary to Southeast Asia who now serves as an IMB liaison at Southeastern along with his wife Nancy.

“I see this ‘iron on iron’ sharpening as essential to help our churches to send well,” Fraley continued. “We realize the incredible responsibility that the local church has in preparing and sending as well as ongoing shepherding and receiving back these sent ones. Southeastern and the IMB want to be resources for these churches. We pray that all of us working together will be beneficial in reproducing holy disciples who are ready to go.”

Workshop presentations encouraged churches without existing pipelines to focus on cultivating a sending culture and developing rhythms of intentional training. Sharing strategies and best practices, churches with established pipelines outlined their processes of identifying, developing, deploying and supporting missionaries within their congregations.

Participants also heard from Alan Garnett, an IMB personnel consultant, about IMB sending pathways and practical steps churches can pursue to be involved in a congregant’s application process with the IMB.

Five of the top 10 IMB missionary-sending churches are located minutes from Southeastern’s campus in the greater Raleigh-Durham area, making this region a strategic place for missions sending partnerships.

“I truly believe there is something unique going on concerning local church cooperation in the greater Raleigh area,” said Keelan Cook, director of the Center for Great Commission Studies at Southeastern. “Around the seminary, we are blessed with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to healthy local churches. We are also experiencing a unique moment in the work of his Church to send many to the nations for the sake of the Gospel.

“This workshop brings together the various churches and organizations that have played a significant role in that sending movement,” added Cook, who represented Southeastern at the workshop. “It’s an opportunity for each of us, Southeastern Seminary, our area churches and the IMB, to further strengthen our cooperation and partnership in serving well those whom we will send.”

Cook invited churches to utilize the resources and programs of the seminary to fuel their training and sending efforts.

“Our role in this kind of partnership is simple, we serve our churches through convening and equipping,” Cook said. “As our area churches discover what it means for them to work together to equip their sent-out ones, Southeastern’s missions center plays host and convener for that process. We also serve by being a significant resource in equipping their sent-out ones in preparation to go to the nations. Southeastern has long had a heart for preparing our students to go to those who have not yet heard or accepted the Gospel.

“Often, those being equipped through these sending churches are also students at our seminary,” he continued. “By working with our churches, we create a custom equipping process that includes world class theological education, unique shepherding and counsel from their own local church and the IMB’s expert assessment of those who will go.”

Go to thecgcs.orgto learn more about mission trips, partnerships, and sending pathways through Southeastern’s Center for Great Commission Studies.

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