GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — The churches are “busy at work…being God’s hands and feet at work,” declared Robin Stoops, executive minister for the American Baptist Churches of Nebraska.
Stoops shared the ministries and programs in which Nebraska’s American Baptists had been involved in the last year as part of his report to the region convention in Grand Island, Neb., Sept. 20-22.
The regional office has provided several workshops and helped with conflict resolutions. Leaders have written grants to provide missional immersion opportunities, and the state continues to participate in the national body’s Missional Church Learning Experience emphasis.
Four pastors participated in a mission study tour to Serbia last year. The region also hosted a mission trip to Ottawa, Kan., ahead of the national biennial Missions Summit in Overland Park, Kan.
That was the good news, Stoops said. “But there is some not-so-good news.” The region continues to face financial challenges, with giving down about 7 percent. “We are making sure we are good stewards,” he said. And leaders remember that “we have a God that provides.”
Stoops closed his report with the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3. The three men refused to bow down and worship the golden image of King Nebuchadnezzar. When the king confronted them, they refused to answer his charge and declared that God was able to deliver them.
Then the trio went a step further — that even if God didn’t deliver them, they would remain faithful to him.
Stoops applied that concept to the region’s work. “We believe God will provide…but even if he does not…we will continue to serve,” he said. “We understand who is in control…. Even when we endure pain…it fulfills his plan….
“We encourage you to endure the fire…. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way we plan…, he still is the provider.”
He pointed out that “so much can be done with so little…. We need to be constantly looking for ways to do more.”
Stoops ended his remarks by reminding his listeners that the region has “great pastors, great people and a great heart for missions.”
During the business session, delegates elected Larry Harvey, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hastings, as president; Karen Denton from First Baptist Church of Beatrice as vice president; Ernie Denniston, also of First, Beatrice, as secretary; and Bob Fairchild from First, Lincoln, as treasurer.