put on your rally cap!
by Barry Simpson
Find out more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist International Missions by visiting their website: www.fwbgo.com.
AS A LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER in Shawnee, Kansas, my team (pictured below) and I were occasionally in one of those nail-biter games—when an error can cost you the game, or something as simple as a base hit can make you a hero. Momentum could shift swiftly. In those pivotal moments, fans laid aside their refreshments, stood to their feet, and cheered with all their might. Sensing that the big “mo” was suddenly thrust on us, my teammates and I put on our “rally caps”—turned our baseball caps around backwards—and joined the cheering.
Turning our caps was a tangible way for us to express our solidarity and boost our team spirit at an obviously critical point in the game. We were a team. We stood together. Everyone had a role to play; no one was unimportant. When we won, we won as a team. We all shared in the battle and we all shared in the victory.
I was reminded of those Little League days after a recent conversation with Danny Dwyer, pastor of the Cramerton FWB Church in Cramerton, North Carolina. Although a few years my senior, Danny is a dear friend and is well respected across the width and breadth of the FWB movement. During our conversation he indicated we as Free Will Baptists need some rallying points—some happenings that unite us and make us proud to be Free Will Baptists. It was the “rally” idea that arrested my attention and took me back in time.
Danny went on to state that missions should be one of those rallying points. I couldn’t agree more. Getting the gospel to those 2 billion people—people like you and me—who haven’t heard it is the heart of the Great Commission. It is the purpose of the Church. This should be a natural rallying point for our FWB movement, or team. Regardless of our disagreements, advancing the gospel to the regions beyond is something around which we can unite.
A Little History
Until 2006 the annual April offering (World Missions Offering) was used for one purpose—to help underwrite the expense of the home office. In 2006, the Change The World coin banks were introduced and the offering was also used to fund four Bible institutes—one each in Cuba, Côte d’Ivoire, Russia, and India.
We continued funding the office and the four Bible institutes in 2007, but the WMO also placed $2,000 in each missionary account. Over 500 churches “rallied” to the cause in 2007 and we broke the half-million dollar mark for the first time in the history of the Mission.
As we look to 2008, we do so with great enthusiasm and much expectation. The World Missions Offering goal is $750,000. When we reach the goal, we’ll once again see to it that the Bible institutes are fully funded and each missionary account will each receive $5,000. The WMO trains national pastors, preaches the gospel, disciples new believers, shares the Good News with boys and girls, and exalts God among multiplied peoples of the world.
A Team Effort
If I, as a shortstop, had been the only player to “put on my rally cap” during a strategic game, our team would not have received the boost it needed to forge on. Every member of our FWB team is important.
Each role is critical. As we rally for the cause of the advancement of the gospel, we do so as a team with many different players: missionaries in strategic places throughout the world, missions committees in local churches, faithful supporters and prayer warriors across our ranks, ambassadors, and stateside office staff. Each player fills a unique and indispensable field position, enabling the team to function successfully and, ultimately, experience victory.
Time to Rally
With the arrival of April (World Missions Month) we have an opportunity to rally for the great cause of missions. The annual World Missions Offering (WMO) is a excellent opportunity for Free Will Baptists to put on their proverbial “rally caps” and propel the mission effort to a greater advance.
Nine stateside missionary families currently face real financial challenges. To address this critical issue the board voted in late January to commit all WMO proceeds above $750,000 to get these missionaries to the field. Now that is what I call a rallying point!
Remember, we’re all in this together. We can all share in the giving, we can share in the praying, and we will all be able to celebrate in the victory. I have my rally cap on, the ambassadors have theirs on, and as I travel promoting the WMO I sense that a lot of other people are wearing theirs, also. What about you?
ABOUT THE WRITER: Barry Simpson has bee director of development for Free will Baptist International Missions since January 1, 2007.