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World ministries group hears Welch, Rankin

SAN ANTONIO (BP)–Bobby Welch, strategist for global evangelical relations with the SBC Executive Committee, and International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin addressed the Fellowship of Baptist World Ministries June 11 prior to the SBC’s annual meeting in San Antonio.

According to the FBWM website, the fellowship is an “organization of formally constituted world mission organizations whose primary function is overseas or global in nature and whose elected leadership are members in good standing of local Southern Baptist churches.”

Welch attended the breakfast meeting in his new role with the Executive Committee to which he was appointed earlier this year, in which Welch will help build an overseas network of relationships and develop partnering opportunities such as evangelism and discipleship conferences, in addition to speaking in churches, Baptist associations and state conventions to champion the urgent need for Baptists to be more active in evangelism and in biblical stewardship supporting the Cooperative Program channel of Southern Baptist support for national and international missions and ministries.

Referring to his global assignment, the former SBC president told the group, “As soon as I accepted this calling, I went straightaway to a store and bought a fold-up, global map — one I could carry with me. And the habit I am forming is to unfold that map, get on my knees, put my hands on that map and pray. Then I get up and shake that map like a rug, and I say, ‘God, you must shake them out. I can’t find them. If you depend on me to find them, we’ll never get them. You know where they are. You shake them out.'”

This “shaking out,” Welch said, represents his search for “likehearted Christians around the world who have a burden for the raw lostness of those who don’t know Jesus.” Welch solicited the group for prospects worldwide who are “evangelical Christians who would feel comfortable and effective in being loosely connected in joint venture projects for Great Commission causes.”

In an interview, Welch told Baptist Press he already has talked with more than 300 people worldwide regarding this initiative, and he is planning two global trips before Christmas to contact even more individuals.

Welch reiterated that the “relations word in my title has meaning — it doesn’t mean I’ll be globe-trotting to shake hands. I have in my heart the deep desire and sense of urgency to take actions with other evangelical Christians who believe as we do in helping people get off the road to hell and on the road to heaven.”

Welch said he appreciates the Fellowship of Baptist World Ministries because it “has within it some of the SBC’s most effective Great Commission Christians, who have responded to God’s call and now regularly engage in self-supporting ministries around the world. They are overwhelmingly significant in what’s going on overseas.”

Rankin expressed gratitude for Welch’s presence in the meeting, saying the FBWM has “a new member … the Southern Baptist Convention” embodied in Welch.

“What Bobby will be doing is not inconsistent with the work of our missionaries and our mission board. [It is] an added dimension of influence and impact of evangelism,” Rankin said.

Welch will be joining “a movement of mobilizing God’s people that will result in extending the Kingdom of God around the world,” Rankin said.

Citing statistics from missionaries’ reports that “there are more than a thousand new believers a day worldwide” and that global church plants have jumped from 17,000 to 23,000, Rankin told the group, “You’re a part of that. We couldn’t be reporting those kinds of statistics without your heart for missions, your partnership in mobilizing Southern Baptists … and for the encouragment it gives to our missionaries.”

In an interview with Baptist Press, Rodney Cavett, president of FBWM, said, “Dr. Rankin threw his arms around us and said, ‘We love you guys.’

“And where we can, we bring like strategies together. It’s a blessing for us to work with the International Mission Board and to coordinate with the IMB’s work on the field,” Cavett said.

“Inasmuch as I’m sure the IMB wants to see church planting movements sweep across the world’s unreached people groups, I know that our Fellowship of Baptist World Ministries would like to see a short-term, volunteer missions movement among Southern Baptist churches that also would reach the world with the Gospel.”

Cavett, who is also president of International Commission based in Lewisville, Texas, told Baptist Press that last year the IC completed more than 20 short-term overseas missions trips with Southern Baptists.

“We also helped Kenyans to reach Kenya with the Gospel, and Filipinos to reach the Philippines in what we call ‘church-to-church partnership evangelism,'” Cavett said, adding that IC has been involved with about 100 such international missions ventures.

The FBWM website details the kind of global evangelistic endeavors its members undertake, including pastor and leadership training, mission opportunities for students, evangelism through sports and recreation activities, medical/dental services, mass evangelism campaigns, humanitarian needs projects and building projects.
For more info about the Fellowship of Baptist World Ministries FBWM, go to www.fbwm.org.

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  • Norm Miller