Looking for Leaders
A Passion for Global Evangelism
An interview of Robert Posner (pictured above with wife, Judy) by Mark Price, director of the World Missions Offering
William Carey once asked a question of the Church that still demands an answer: “Is not the commission of our Lord still binding upon us? Can we not do more than now we are doing?”
It is not only a convicting question. It is an indicting question.
This is why Free Will Baptist International Missions continues to send missionary families to the ends of the earth. We believe the Lord of the Harvest continues to call, and we are determined to respond to that call.
The Mission has weathered some economically challenging years. And, while we know we serve a God who is much greater than our circumstances, it is still easy for discouragement and frustration to bruise us a bit. So when individuals respond to Carey’s question in an extraordinary way, we are encouraged.
Robert Posner is one such individual. Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Robert, who pastors Collin Creek Free Will Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. Robert has served as the International Missions liaison to Texas for the annual WMO for the past two years. As we talked, I asked him about his interest in global evangelism.
Mark: Robert, tell me about your passion for missions and when it began.
Robert: When I was in college at Southeastern FWB College, former missionary to France Joe Haas challenged each of us to consider prayerfully what role we would play in missions...in reaching the world with the gospel. Then, during a missions retreat, Clint Morgan asked us how missions related to us. Different professors challenged us to pray about where we fit in reaching the world with the gospel. I developed this desire to support missions—here locally, as well as around the world. God opened a door for me to serve on the Texas Mission Board. As a result, I am blessed to be part of many mission works, not just one.
Mark: How, exactly, have you integrated your passion into pastoral ministry and the manner in which you lead your church?
Robert: Our folks are great. Many of them have taken mission trips. As a church, we regularly take trips to places like Mexico and Spain—even Cuba. As a pastor, I have a “two-handed approach” to doing missions. We participate in our local community and abroad. I tell our folks they each have a responsibility either to go or to send someone else.
Photo: Robert Posner (right) in Alpedrete, Spain, with missionary Lea Edgmon (center).
We use missionary prayer cards extensively. I regularly pass out the cards during a service, and ask members of the congregation to pray for that particular missionary during prayer time. I challenge them to take the card home with them and continue praying for that missionary.
Mark: Can you share a little about how Collin Creek does the World Missions Offering?
Robert: I promote the WMO…I like the resources and use them. This year, because of the way Easter fell on the calendar, we started promoting the offering three weeks before Easter.
On the IM website, you can download stories about children on particular mission fields. One of our young people dressed like and portrayed a child from the stories, telling the story in first person to children’s church. Our kids colored the black and white coin banks and then filled them up.
I used WMO videos in our adult services then passed out the WMO offering envelopes and asked our folks to take them home and pray over them, asking God what He would have them give above their normal giving. We took a break on Easter Sunday, but came back with the WMO emphasis the following week on WMO Sunday.
Mark: Do you have a yearly emphasis or challenge that your church utilizes to encourage and keep momentum and the passion growing?
Robert: Last year, during pre-Easter Passion Week, we hosted a different missionary from Wednesday through Saturday night. Each spoke about missions but brought a message about the resurrection as well. It was good for the church, and the focus was intense.
Normally, we spread out missionary visits throughout the year with a visit every couple of months or so. I get a lot of calls from missionaries who want to come. Since we have been blessed to have them so often, I now work hard to get them into churches that have not had visits in a while.
Mark: I can’t help but notice your state of Texas has become very involved in the WMO. As the state liaison for Texas, what has been the catalyst for such a high level of participation among your churches?
Robert: Much of the success is due to the fact that the leadership in our state is committed to missions. The structure or network that already exists is helpful, too. We have guys around our state who provide much encouragement at the local level. Pastors call other pastors and encourage them to participate, and that resonates more than a state leader like me calling all the time.
Mark: In a nutshell, what advice do you have for other pastors regarding the local church and global evangelism?
Robert: First of all, don’t underestimate your people. It doesn’t matter whether your church has 30 members or 500. One pastor told me, “If they are not able to give, they won’t give; but if they are, they will.” Another pastor was concerned about participating because the church he pastored was small, and might not be able to do much. I encouraged him to give his congregation an opportunity: “Don’t steal from them the opportunity to give.”
So, he agreed to give the church the opportunity to decide whether or not to participate. Later, he called me, ecstatic! His church of 30 folks received a World Missions Offering of over $500!
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I am thankful for Robert and each person who shares his or her passion for global evangelism. April is International Missions Emphasis Month—the month for the annual World Missions Offering. God has blessed International Missions the last couple of years with amazing offerings. He has done it corporately through local church WMO campaigns and through personal gifts. In 2012, the WMO exceeded one million dollars, and in 2013 it reached $825,000.
The WMO is an important part of the International Missions budget, and we want to see every Free Will Baptist church participate. At the same time, however, the WMO will never provide the funding to underwrite the cost of operating a denominational missionary sending agency. The offering represents 12-15% of the total budget. The remaining 85-88% of the necessary funds must come through regular, monthly support.
We should all consider what we can give on a regular monthly basis so men and women, boys and girls of other languages, tribes, and tongues, will have someone to tell them the good news about Jesus. As theologian Carl F.H. Henry said, “The gospel is only good news if it gets there on time.”
About the Writer: Mark Price is moderator of the Ohio State Association and pastors Porter FWB Church in Wheelersburg, Ohio. He is a member of the Board of Free Will Baptist International Missions.