When it comes to choosing a church there is no shortage on options living in Oklahoma. Finding a church building is easy. Finding a Bible believing, soul winning and disciple making body of Christ followers may come as more of a challenge.
Southern Baptist churches come in all kinds of sizes, shapes and styles. Some Southern Baptist churches utilize hymns during worship, while others enjoy praise songs. Some pulpits are filled with fire and brimstone, while others overflow with grace and mercy. There is hardly a language that isn’t heard or spoken in a Southern Baptist church somewhere. Best of all, it is hard not to find a Southern Baptist churches that doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to fulfilling the Great Commission.
These are all great reasons to be a member of a Southern Baptist church. But there are at least 5,234 more reasons to be a Southern Baptist. The number mentioned refers to the number of missionaries commissioned by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. This number, combined with the missionaries associated with the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board, makes Southern Baptists the largest evangelical missionary sending organization in the world.
There are more than 16 million people who call themselves Southern Baptist. Through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptist churches work together to support missionaries all around the globe.
It is encouraging to know when you are a member of a Southern Baptist church, you are not only reaching your local community, but you are literally reaching people across the world. Every dollar you give to the local church impacts lostness to the uttermost parts of the Earth because a portion of your tithes and offerings goes to support Southern Baptist missions endeavors worldwide.
Impressive? Yes. The best we can do? Hardly. Consider what Gordon Fort, IMB vice president of overseas operations told International Mission Board trustees during their Sept. 12 meeting at LifeWay Ridgecrest (N.C.) Conference Center.
“As I travel, I hear a lot about how ‘missions minded’ Southern Baptists are. Southern Baptists are great to talk about tithing. I want to ask whether a church shouldn’t tithe its membership to reach a lost world. If we gave just 1 percent of our 10 million active members for missionary service, we would have 100,000 missionaries. Instead, we have 5,000-and we are only asking for 3,000 more active missionaries on the field.
“We have a vision for deploying 8,000 missionaries around the world. Adding 3,000 new missionaries might be a difficult task if we were starting out with no resources, but the truth is that those 3,000 new missionaries are already sitting in our churches, and the finances to support them are already in our pockets. It’s not a hard task.”
The next time you enter an intersection, consider your self fortunate to have so many church options, and don’t forget what it means to be a Southern Baptist. As a Southern Baptist, you are a part of the largest missions sending organization in the world. Can we do more? Sure we can. But will we?