Baptism stories, cooperation

I wish you could hear all the stories I hear about Missouri Baptist churches baptizing new believers. Just last week I heard of 18 baptisms in one Sunday, five more in another church, and 60 baptisms per year for the last three years in another church. You might think these stories come from mega suburban churches in our state, but I am hearing reports like this from inner-city churches and rural congregations.

SBC President J.D. Greear has encouraged all SBC churches to hold a Baptism Sunday September 8. Free resources for a Baptism Sunday are available at namb.net/baptism-Sunday-resources/.  Whether it’s on September 8 or any time this fall, I hope and pray every Missouri Baptist church experiences a great celebration around the baptismal waters.

We would love to share your baptism story. Why not send photos and details of recent and future baptisms to Ben Hawkins at The Pathway (bhawkins@mobaptist.org). Let’s join in the celebration of God at work redemptively through His people called Missouri Baptists.

Of course there is no baptism apart from persons repenting and surrendering their lives to Christ as Savior and Lord. For that to happen, it means a concerted effort by everyone to share our faith as we live, work, eat, study, attend ball games, fish, hunt, shop, visit the doctor, help a neighbor, wherever. That also means every one of us being attentive to people in our sphere of influence who need to know Jesus and taking the initiative to compassionately speak the truth of the gospel into others.

Historic Cooperative Day!

The August 20 MBC Executive Board in Jefferson City meeting was a historic day. For the first time in 20 years, all six entities that are part of the Missouri Baptist Convention were present and represented by their respective presidents. Anthony Allen of Hannibal LaGrange University, Keith Ross of Missouri Baptist University, Eric Turner of Southwest Baptist University, Neil Franks of the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Steven Jones of The Baptist Home, and Russell Martin of the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home were all seated in a row demonstrating their support and gratefulness to be part of the Missouri Baptist family. The experience was both humbling and celebratory.

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Now, all of these ministries except for SBU have brought their updated corporate Articles to the MBC Executive Board for recommendation to the messengers at the Annual Meeting in October. There were three – HLGU, MBU, and The Baptist Home – that were received by the Executive Board on Aug. 20. When the last one was approved for recommendation, Executive Board members and guests meeting in the Baptist Building rose to their feet in praise and gratefulness to the Lord.

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With a new president at SBU, and challenges SBU has faced in the first 16 months of his tenure, SBU’s revised governing documents are in process but not complete. The Executive Board has requested, and will recommend to the MBC messengers, a gracious extension, with the first draft due March 1, 2020.

The recommended articles for each of our entities are similar to the governing documents of the MBC, the parent organization, which were revised and updated in 2017. Highlights of the improved documents include clarity of who the member is of the corporation (the MBC); that is called “sole member” just like the Southern Baptist Convention of ministries.

The documents also include the parameters of the sole member’s rights and clarifies expectations. Each of the three recommended for adoption joined the Foundation and the MBCH in establishing the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as their statement of faith.

Also included in the governing documents are statements that update the corporate language in light of current national and state court cases filed against people of faith. Some of these statements, especially those that deal with religious liberty issues, would be important for local churches to include in their documents.

These are great days to be part of something so grand and comprehensive as the ministries of the Missouri Baptist Convention. We are the people of God on mission with God. And everything starts with the glorious redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for your participation in the Cooperative Program.

Fill the tank, pray for a harvest across the land, and anticipate God to be at work through His people who “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I (Lord Jesus) have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19, CSV).

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