Bro. Dave Bryan
“The greatest limiting factor in putting missionaries on the field
comes down to a lack of funding.”
I heard those words in a meeting this morning. They were spoken by Dr. Paul Chitwood, the new president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. The weight of that statement pierced my soul.
To put his statement into the proper perspective, Dr. Chitwood was not saying money is what evangelizes people. He was not saying that we should not explore other avenues to bring the gospel to the nations. He was not saying the only thing he expects from the person in the pew is a check in the plate. No, what he was saying is that we have the structure. We have the ministry sites. We have the training. He even believes we even have the potential missionaries waiting in the wings.
What we don’t have is the $132,000 it takes to put a new missionary family in the field and to support their work. That’s how much it takes to fund the work of one missionary of the IMB – $132,000. The exciting part of this is that we have 3,665 missionaries at present. Yet we know there are more places to go and more people to tell. Our new president’s heart is to send more. Maybe hundreds more. Possibly thousands more. And while challenging on several fronts, the single biggest obstacle to the dream comes down to the dollars the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention provide through gifts to the Cooperative Program and special offerings to world missions.
I hurt when I heard those words. Because I know that for the first time I can remember, we did not reach our goal for our World Missions Offering last year. Oh, our people gave, and many of them gave sacrificially. Yet, we wanted to give more; we just didn’t do it. So, in the meeting this morning I gave my pledge to the Lord. To the best of my ability, I will keep our World Missions Offering before our people, encouraging us all to give all year long to the efforts of taking good news to those who need to hear it.
As you know, that while we have a special emphasis in December, we take the World Missions Offering all year long. Through it we support the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board and the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. It is an ongoing offering our church provides to evangelize the lost. And so, this year we will faithfully give in December. And in addition, this year the challenge will be for all of us to give just as faithfully throughout the months on the calendar!
Looking ahead for great things in the days to come.
It is a joy to be your pastor!
- Bro. Dave