Big crowd celebrates missions - Word&Way

Big crowd celebrates missions

By Vicki Brown, Word&Way Associate Editor

Cape Girardeau — Missouri Baptists celebrated the commissioning of new missionaries and a new overseas partnership as part of the 172nd Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting on Oct. 30.

The International Mission Board commissioned 67 new workers in a special service Tuesday evening at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau.

MBC messengers approved a new missions partnership with Baptists in El Salvador.

IMB president Jerry Rankin reminded the new missionaries that anxiety is natural under the circumstances — leaving home, heading to an unfamiliar culture and facing possible hostile reactions. They can overcome that anxiety by focusing on God, he told them.

"The fear of God must become the single greatest passion of life," Rankin said.

Using Psalm 64, Rankin said they must have reverential awe for God. Jesus Himself did so, according to Isaiah 11. Isaiah predicted Jesus would delight in the fear of the Lord.

Awe leads to respectful obedience, the IMB president said. The fear of the Lord is obedience, not out of fear of punishment, but out of the pleasure of the relationship.

Fear leads to worshipful submission to Him. "You are called to stand in awe of a holy and righteous God," Rankin said. "As you walk in the fear of God…He will give you the wisdom you need."

Believers must concentrate on the Lord. "Don't let anything distract you from the Lord," Rankin said.

Southern Baptist Convention president Frank Page challenged churches to be the type of witnesses honored in Hebrews 11. He called on listeners to "set aside sin" and "run the race" even as Jesus did when He endured the cross.

When Christians belong to Jesus first, "we will serve Him and love Him with all our heart," Page said.

Before the commissioning service, MBC partnership missions specialist Norm Howell updated attendees about the convention's work with others in 2006. Between 40 and 45 teams had ministered in Romania this year, with 50 teams working in Colorado.

Messengers voted to extend the Romanian partnership for another year and agreed to a three-year partnership with the Baptist Association of El Salvador to begin in 2007.

(Complete coverage of the 2006 annual meeting can be found in the Nov. 16 print edition.) (11-15-06)