by Tim York
To find out more about the World Mission Offering and other ways you can support the ministry of International Missions, visit their website at: www.fwbgo.com.
AS I DROVE TO WORK ONE NOVEMBER MORNING, I thanked God for the wonderful things He has provided for me. I thought of my salvation, my walk with God, the prayers He’s answered, my great family, and a host of wonderful memories. Then, the Lord reminded me that all these blessings were centered around His church.
Church was where I learned about His grace—grace that brought me to a glorious relationship with Him. Church is where I received my call to preach, met my wife, dedicated my children, and listened to my oldest son preach the Word. It was in church that I learned how precious answered prayer is as I watched my mother receive Christ as her Savior.
I’ll never forget the influence of the men in our church who mentored young men, including me. They encouraged me to be faithful to Christ in all aspects of my life. My pastors—Clifford Austin, Vernon Barker, Burt Hall, and James Hayes—taught me to love and preach the Word.
According to Acts 2, the early church impacted their community and the world. They prayed, preached, produced more Christians, and praised God. As a result, the Lord added to the church daily.
Most of us live in cities, towns, or communities with many evangelical churches. Some of us have several Free Will Baptist churches from which to choose a fellowship of believers. We have a difficult time visualizing a town, community, or village that does not have a praying congregation of God’s people—a place where physical, emotional, or spiritual needs cannot be met by a church or prayer. We can’t imagine a day like September 11, 2001, without an available pastor or a praying church, or envision a day when a loved one dies and nobody bows to pray with the family.
Our goal is to one day have a World Missions Offering so strong it will support all projects of the Mission, thus lowering missionary budgets and expediting new missionaries advance to the field.
We can’t imagine a town where no one preaches the Word of God. Free Will Baptists are accustomed to hearing the Word taught on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night. We have Sunday Schools, revivals, conferences, and retreats. Radio, television, CDs, and many other ways to hear the Word are easily accessible. The preaching of the Word is a great blessing to any town.
But there are dark places where the light of the gospel is not shining. Places where the Word is not sounded. Most of us have never been to places without Christians and changed lives. We haven’t seen entire cities filled with people living in hopelessness or lived in communities where people dwell in total spiritual darkness. We can’t fathom the oppressive weight one feels in a town or village where no one has the joy of salvation in Christ.
God has called each of us to take the gospel around the world. International Missions is the tool Free Will Baptists have to plant His church overseas. In order to take this blessing to the nations we must have the support of Free Will Baptist people everywhere. The month of April is set aside to emphasize our international work and the World Missions Offering.
The World Missions Offering is important to the future of world missions—to continue to operate the office in the United States and to help with projects overseas. Our goal is to one day have a World Missions Offering so strong it will support all projects of the Mission, thus lowering missionary budgets and expediting new missionaries advance to the field.
This year’s World Missions Offering will include support for the Bible institutes in Russia, Cuba, India, and Côte d’Ivoire. These institutes are on the front line of church planting. They are training young men to pastor established churches and plant new ones.
At Left (top to bottom): Free Will Baptist Bible Institute, Bouna, Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa; Cedars of Lebanon Seminary, Pinar del Rio, Cuba; Volena Wilson Bible Institute, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India; Chelyabinsk Bible Institute, Chelyabinsk, Russia
Ivorian students have not been deterred from their task by the civil war and unrest plaguing their country. Persecution and the major religions of Hinduism, Animism, and Islam, do not prevent those being trained in India from staying the course. Russian students serve through political unrest, poverty, and a culture of hopelessness. Cuban students minister under the hardships of one of the world’s last Communist dictators and the influence of Catholicism. In each of these Bible institutes, students are being trained and graduates in these countries are planting new churches.
If you’re like me, you can’t imagine your town without your church, or any church. Free Will Baptist International Missions is working in areas where people can’t imagine their town with a Bible-believing church. Every city, town, and village needs a Bible-believing church. Why should I enjoy the blessing of my church, while others do not even have the opportunity to have a place where God meets the needs of people?
Now is the time for Free Will Baptists to decide if they believe the local church is God’s plan for evangelism and edification for all who will come to Christ. Our belief system will be underscored not by what we say, but by how we give.
Will you give to help International Missions plant churches in towns with no gospel witness?
Tim York moved his family from a successful pastorate in Kentucky to take on the role of director of development for International Missions. He began his responsibilities on September 1, 2005.