Lee’s Summit — Neville Callam made three Missouri stops last week on his North American tour as the new executive secretary of the Baptist World Alliance.
The Jamaican Baptist, a descendant of slaves brought from Africa, was elected as the leader of the worldwide fellowship of Baptists in July in Ghana, in western Africa.
Callam’s six-week introductory tour among Baptists in Canada and the United States brought him to rallies at First Baptist Church, Lee’s Summit, and Fee Fee Baptist Church, Bridgeton, in addition to a luncheon gathering with pastors in Columbia.
Callam observed that the group gathered in Lee’s Summit demonstrated a healthy diversity.
If “there is that experience, that confrontation in Jesus Christ, that encounter in which the Holy Spirit draws us into…God’s place and unites us in Christ and we are a new creation,…we are headed in the right direction,” Callam said.
Looking across the audience, he added, “I am delighted that we have here a mini-Baptist World Alliance Congress.”
The picture of BWA is different Baptists from different parts of the world “coming together in order to sing the praises of the One who has brought us out of darkness and into His marvelous light, which is all by the grace of God,” he said.
“For my part, I have the distinction of being the chief servant among the servants at the Baptist World Alliance,” he said.
Preaching on the subject of fear, the new leader said: “We understand something about fear because we have heard the language of fear. But we [also] have heard, ‘Fear not, do not worry, do not be anxious, put your trust in God.’”
Many Baptists in the world live daily under persecution, he reminded listeners, “But God keeps saying, ‘Do not be afraid.’ If this advice comes to us over and over, it cannot be wrong.”
Christians can take comfort because God places an inestimable value on us, Callam said. And if He cares for the lilies of the field, “whatever we face, we are able to go forward in confidence.
“We are able to live above fear because the God who places an inestimable value on us also exercises an invaluable watch over us,” he explained. “God waits to take care of us.”
Official greetings were offered by Jim Hill, executive director, Baptist General Convention of Missouri; Forestal Lawton, president of the BWA Men’s Department and president of the Brotherhood of the National Baptist Convention; Jeff Langford, associate coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri; and Steve Van Ostran, acting executive director, American Baptist Churches of the Eastern Region.