Southern Baptists celebrated the appointment of 42 new missionaries in a service held Wednesday (Nov. 14), near Richmond, Va. Churches of all sizes from Louisiana to Indiana and North Carolina to Kansas are sending singles, couples and families to large cities, small villages and hard-to-reach places around the world.
Vance Pitman, senior pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, reminded new missionaries and those attending of the importance of cooperative giving and cooperative going.
“This is our denomination at its absolute best,” Pitman said. “This is the tip of the spear. We can do more together than we can do by ourselves.”
Preaching from Acts 1-2, Pitman described four characteristics that enabled the early church to change the world: faith that produced obedience, passion that produced unity, desperation that produced prayer and the Spirit that produced power.
At Pentecost, a small group of people launched a church in Jerusalem that saw 3,000 people saved on its opening day, Pitman said. “That is a successful church start!” he exclaimed.
“At their second gathering, 5,000 men came to Christ, not counting the women and children,” he noted. “Within six months, the church had grown to over 100,000 believers in Jerusalem…. Within a few years the Gospel had spread throughout their region of the world, and in less than 40 years, the message of Jesus had reached every corner of the known world.”
Reaching every corner
The 42 missionaries will serve in countries around the world. Many of those appointed could not be identified publicly for their own safety. Pitman reminded them that the first Christians were also called to start a church in Jerusalem — “a place where Jesus was whipped, beaten, tried, crucified, and buried; a place that hated them and their God.”
Each of the new missionaries shared testimonies of how God led them to the point of giving up the comforts of their everyday lives to take the Gospel around the world. They came from large and small churches and a variety of backgrounds.
Chris and Anna Garduce, sent to serve in Madagascar by The Church at West Vista in West Columbia, S.C., shared how God “rescued” each of them and gave them each a zealousness to share the grace they received with those who have not yet heard the good news.
“So many people need to be rescued from darkness and brought into His marvelous light as I was,” Chris told the standing-room only crowd.
From the moment she met Christ, “there has been a roaring fire inside my heart to see the nations worship and love King Jesus,” Anna said.
Click here to read more.
Source: Baptist Press