Mission & Ministry Summit

Take the Land

by Clint Cook, Executive Director

Clint Cook - Summit Keynote Speaker - possessIn 1994, I was privileged to speak at the General Association held in Nashville, Tennessee. My scripture portion was from Joshua 1. “Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the Lord said to him: You are old, advanced in years and there remains much land yet to be possessed.”

This passage is very similar to the key scripture chosen for the 2017 Summit theme: Take the Land. Deuteronomy 1:8 says, “See I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore to your fathers….”

These two passages have some interesting similarities: they both deal with the Promised Land, and they are both statements to Joshua. The difference between the two passages is Joshua’s age.

In Deuteronomy, we see a younger Joshua who was following a senior leader. Later we have a seasoned, mature Joshua who had encountered many ups and downs over a 40-year span of time. Joshua 1 shows us a man who had weathered the death of Moses, navigated his growth from warrior to national leader, and saw the result of disobedience. It was under Joshua’s leadership that the people of God finally conquered and possessed the Promised Land.

Then, in Joshua 13, the Lord gives a very clear analysis: “There remains yet very much land to possess.”

Like Joshua and the nation of Israel, each of us is given a similar directive by God to Take the Land. Disciples of Jesus are commanded in the Great Commission to go and make disciples. I see a direct correlation between God’s directive to Joshua and the Great Commission to the church.

As a 32-year-old pastor at that G.A., I was a lot like Joshua: young, impetuous, and intimidated. I knew the Great Commission commanded me to share the gospel and make disciples. I also knew of many older General Baptist pastors and preachers who had been blessed with fruitful ministries and growing churches. I recall that I reminded the 1994 audience that the General Baptist movement needs young, middle-aged, and older disciple makers, because, “There remains very much land yet to be possessed.”

Our movement has made wonderful progress for the Kingdom through souls saved, thousands of disciples trained, new churches organized and new international fields opened. Yet, have we run out of communities to change? Has every person we know been won to faith in Christ? No!

Just because General Baptists have had some successes, our assignment is not finished. In the midst of our praise to the Lord for these blessings, we must never lose sight of God’s mandate that remains unfulfilled: “There remains very much land yet to be possessed.”

So what can we learn from these passages?

First, whatever the age of your church, the age of your members, or the age of your pastor, we will give an account one day not only for what we have accomplished, but for what still needs to be done.

Second, the Great Commission is an ongoing, never-ending, retirement-free directive to the church. Church member, leader, pastor: our assignment is not complete. There is more land yet to possess!

Third, let us remember that making disciples is like fighting those Old Testament Canaanites. Sharing our faith is a spiritual battle that is full of obstacles, obstructions, and strongholds. But it is a battle we must continue to fight. The children of Israel dwelt on the obstacles. They asked, “Where can we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our hearts saying the people are greater and taller than we are. The cities are great and fortified up to the heaven.” (Deuteronomy 1:28)

We’re in this fight together. When we Stay Connected, we Stay Strong. Let’s hold fast to God’s response to the nay-sayers in verse 29: “Do not be terrified or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you, He will fight for you.”

My prayer is that 2017 will be the year every General Baptist church renews its commitment and obligation to Take the Land for, “There remains very much land yet to be possessed.” Join us at the 2017 Summit where we will challenged even more to Take the Land!

GBBC Update

GBBC Update – Growing Bolder and Braver Conquerors

By Joyce Porcadilla, President of General Baptist Bible College, The Philippines

Happy new year! We do hope all of you had a blessed Christmas celebration and that you are excited to embrace whatever the Lord has in store for all of us this 2017!

Here at GBBC, Christmas has always been a grand celebration. We started off with our annual Christmas missions outreach in a very remote elementary school where the students and staff of GBBC held a Christmas program, served a meal, and gave out gifts. This was held on December 6th. It is always encouraging to see our students voluntarily put their resources together and share their blessings to the pupils and their families, as well as teachers of the said elementary school. But more importantly, it was a great blessing to see the joy in them because of the love they felt that no matter how simple the celebration was, we were able to make known to them the real meaning of Christmas and the reason of the season we are celebrating—Jesus.

Furthermore, on December 12th, the college students went around the neighboring communities to share the Christmas story through giving out candy canes. The students had the opportunity to share the Gospel and pray for and with various families and even those they met along the streets.

Before we finally ended year 2016 and before everybody went on a brief Christmas break, the entire GBBC family came together on December 14th for its annual Christmas program dubbed as “Christmasensation 2016,” with the theme, “Christmas is Within Us.” It was truly a celebration with friends and family, but above all a grand celebration of the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. The program was highlighted with various musical presentations that revealed the true meaning of Christmas, giving emphasis on God’s amazing love towards us that caused Him to give us the greatest gift we could ever receive. As we have received and experienced that love, GBBCians made sure that we also share and demonstrate that love to others. Continue reading

Turnaround 2020

Turnaround 2020 Launches!

The new Church Growth initiative, Turnaround 2020, was recently launched at the 2016 Mission & Ministry Summit. General Baptist Ministries is pleased to announce the launch of the corresponding website, www.turnaround2020.net!

Turnaround 2020 will assist General Baptist churches to discover and to achieve their full redemptive potential by the year 2020.  Many participating churches will see significant increases in attendance.  Others will double or triple in size as they realize the potential the Lord has placed before them.  Still others will see revitalized programs and more effective ministries. Turnaround, by simple definition, results in something different.  Change can be awkward and frightening or it can be pleasant and rewarding.  Undergirding our overall approach to turnaround in existing congregations are four core principles that will always show up in turnaround.

  1. An outward focus will be regained or intensified.
  2. Members will display responsible, high-expectation behavior.
  3. A clear discipleship process will be in place.
  4. Leadership and relational skills will constantly improve.

Turnaround 2020 is offered to maximize Kingdom impact by equipping and inspiring local churches to accomplish the Great Commission.  Many of these churches are already well down the road of turnaround.  Others are just beginning that sometimes daunting task.  Thus in addition to the plan book, coaching and mentoring opportunities will also be organized for those who are willing to make that level of higher commitment.

Turnaround 2020 addresses three important areas of turnaround found in numeric decline, the lack of evangelism and ministry ineffectiveness.

These will be addressed through a plan book produced annually to provide assistance with assessment, systems development and leadership training.  A storyboard of real life turnaround efforts reported by a variety of churches will also be developed as a companion piece and included on the website.  The plan book will be freely distributed by download and made available to all who request it.

Continue reading

Faith Home - Honduras

Starting, Equipping, Inspiring – Obeying the Great Commission

By Clint Cook, Executive Director

This post was originally published in the 2016 Spring issue of the GB Messenger. Don’t receive the Messenger? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the Messenger website, www.gbMessenger.org

General Baptists are obeying the Great Commission. I clearly recall the first-hand view I received back in 1999 when I went on my first international mission trip to Honduras.

Children singing along Sunday School songsMy first mission trip abroad was alongside one of my deacons, Ken Morris, in which I was to preach and he would lead worship on a medical/mission team. Our trip began at Faith Home where we visited with the children and workers and toured the grounds. We then traveled with the rest of our team several hours by bus over difficult terrain to the capital city of Tegucigalpa and then to a very remote village in the hills near Tegucigalpa.  The country of Honduras had only recently survived the deadly and destructive hurricane named Mitch. Their political and economic infrastructure lay in shambles, their roads and other transportation system was nonexistent, and their citizens were in dire need of help. One of the most amazing things I remember about that trip is that despite all of these obstacles, the Honduran people were joyful, grateful for our help, and starving for the gospel! The depth of their struggles and loss paled in comparison to their desire to learn about a man named Jesus and their need for a Savior. While some were unable to change their current situation, they were determined to change their eternal destination. I cried day after day as I watched the altars fill with people asking Jesus into their hearts. I realized I was watching the carrying out of the Great Commission! Continue reading

The Barnabas Project

By General Baptist Ministries

This post was originally published in the Fall issue of the GB Messenger. Don’t receive the Messenger? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the Messenger website, www.gbMessenger.org

In an effort to provide denominational services and connections as close to the field as possible, Executive Director Clint Cook has appointed a team of Field Representatives to provide personal connections to General Baptist pastors.  The Barnabas Project intends to establish personal connections to General Baptist pastors through regular, planned contact.  General Baptist Ministries has maintained a history of service to the pastors of its churches that can be traced back to the days when such ministry was funded and organized by the Christian Education and Publications Board.  In the reorganization of 1996 a Pastoral Ministries Department was included.

These Field Representatives have agreed to make personal contact with the pastors in their care by a phone call or by in-person conversation two to three times annually.  They will address the specific areas of concern identified by the executive director while also being sensitive to the needs and concerns of the pastors in their assigned group.

As much as possible the current listing of General Baptist pastors has been divided into regional listings with some specialized groupings.  Some of the regions are small enough geographically that the field representative will be able to attend Presbytery and Ordaining Council meetings to establish direct, personal connections.  In other regions contact will be primarily by phone.

For more information or to provide updated contact information please contact Congregational Ministries at 573-785-7746 or cmofc@generalbaptist.com. Continue reading

Six Thoughts on Six Living Generations

Six Thoughts on Six Living GenerationsBy Dr. Franklin R. Dumond – Director of Congregational Ministries

Six generations of people now live in the United States.  They range in age from those who are centenarians to those still in their formative years.  The labels given them and the chronology of their generations are:

GI Generation—born 1901-1926, now age 90+ years of age

Silent Generation—born 1927-1945, now 70-88 years old

Baby Boom Generation—born 1946-1964, now 51-69 years old

Generation X—born 1965-1980, now 35-50 years old

Generation Y (Millennials)—born 1981-2000, now 15—34 years old

Generation Z—born after 2001 and now in their formative years.

While lengthy descriptions abound to label and define each generation here are six observations about these six generations.  For further discussion of generational characteristics see this interesting article.

  1. Generational labels are cultural, not necessarily chronological.

    Just because an individual is of a certain age doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she holds the same worldview, preferences and habits as everyone else in that generation.  People come in all shapes and sizes.  Habits and lifestyles are learned and chosen not imposed and required.

  2. Each generation enjoys unique experiences and thus has its own language and style of communication.

    Typically those unique experiences are little known or recognized at the time and are understood by the participants in hindsight.  My great-grandmother was born in the 19th century.  Her generation experienced the innovations of electricity and DDT.  Electricity provided lights and power.  The insecticide DDT provided respite from the plague of insects so prevalent during the growing season.

  3.  Cross generational networks are important to aid mutual understanding of and appreciation for the similarities and differences between the generations.

    The most natural mechanism for cross generational networks is the family of origin since it has always been the case that one generation gives birth to, nurtures and then releases the next generation.  Cross generational networks often form in the workplace, in the neighborhood and in faith communities.

  4.  Intergenerational networks are vital to form identity, share values and develop the new alliances that characterize adulthood.

    Without peers we can never realize our own full potential for no one is an island.

  5.  Authenticity and mutual respect are essential within and across each generation.

    Enough said.

  6.  With six active generations present at the same time, each influenced by unique circumstances, life-events and preferences, niche marketing is essential.

    This principle has been expressed by a businessman who became a public relations spokesman.  He advocates that one must become all things to all people to convince a few of the truth being shared.  This businessman was originally a tent manufacturer who later became a primary spokesman for Christianity. He also reminds us that unless we speak their language they will never hear our message.  Logically he also concludes that unless someone tells them they will never know what we know.

To further explore these notions see the New Testament writings of Paul as found in “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” I Corinthians 9:22  and  “Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying?” I Corinthians 14:9 and “How can they hear unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14

An Interview with Gary Baldus – Part 2

This is the last of a two-part post of an interview with Gary Baldus, pastor of New Walk Church in Zephyr Hills, Florida.

General Baptist Ministries asked Gary several questions about his walk with Christ, his calling to ministry and church planting, the personal and ministry connections with General Baptists, and the ongoing work of New Walk Church.

General Baptist Ministries (GBM):  You served as Moderator/Host for the Mission & Ministry Summit in 2013. How did this experience impact you personally? How did it impact New Walk Church?

Gary Baldus (GB):
 What an unbelievable experience!  Our church loved it.  They look back on that as one of the coolest things to be involved in that we have ever done by serving all those leaders who traveled to Florida.  It was like a New Walk Event.  We just watched our church rally to the cause. We told them, “We have all these people coming down and these are the General Baptist people who helped us get started.”  They just thought it was awesome that they could serve those people who had invested in New Walk from a distance.

Pastor Gary Baldus

GBM:  As you look to the future what do you see as the greatest challenges for our General Baptist network?

GB:  It all boils down to money and men.  Many are called and few are chosen.  God sifts through people and not all guys are capable to lead church work.  I have people tell me of their call so I give them ministry assignments.  It is not unusual that six months later they are crying because ministry is so hard and they quit.

GBM:  How did your connections with General Baptists aid in the construction of New Walk’s first permanent buildings?

GB:  Our building would not have happened if not for the General Baptist Investment Fund.  This was like when the Kingdom Expansion Campaign was involved at the outset.  This is a faith based thing for us so we had to have someone who believed in us to be the right kind of lender. We are going to spend the next 2-3 years on stabilization and taking care of things to maintain a healthy operational base but if it had not been for a group of people seeing the potential in New Walk we would probably still be in the YMCA setting up and tearing down every time we had a meeting. Continue reading