It would be hard to find a more mission-focused denomination than Southern Baptists. Through our history we have given, prayed, and sent missionaries into our state, nation, and world with an eye to making disciples. The Southern Baptist Convention has grown into the largest mission force among evangelical denominations. The Great Commission is not just a verse in the Bible; it is a part of the DNA of Southern Baptists.
As the world has grown smaller due to advancement in means of travel, our churches and their members have begun to realize that we can do more than give and send—we can go! Short-term missions has become more and more a part of the ministry of our state conventions, associations, and local churches. Volunteers from our churches have spread across the nation and the world to spend a few days or weeks on mission in support of full-time missionaries or church planters.
Many Southern Baptists add to their giving, praying, and sending by using personal vacation time and paying their own way in order to have the privilege of serving as missionaries themselves. These short-term volunteers assist with a variety of projects that have helped advance the cause of Christ. Missionaries at home and abroad have told me many times that because of volunteers, their work has been pushed years forward. Add to this the number of volunteers who serve through Disaster Relief, and the impact for Christ is huge.
But the time has come for believers to ask the question, “Who ME?” I believe every Christian—you—should not just be open to short-term missions, but should seek The Lord to see if He wants you to go. Are you willing to make yourself available to give a week to work alongside a missionary, church planter, or church in a new work area to advance the work of Christ?
But what if my church is not large enough to send a team to another country or state to serve? Where do I turn? One place to turn is to your association. Many of our associations have established partnerships and frequently take teams. These associations are looking for team members, and you would be welcome to join a team on mission.
Another source of mission opportunity is our larger churches. Nick Garland, BGCO president and pastor of Broken Arrow, First, has a passion to see members of smaller churches on mission. He and other large church pastors around the state have opened the door for people from other churches to join their teams on mission trips. You can call the Partnership Office at the BGCO (405/942-3800, ext. 4337) to connect with these sending churches.
I can promise you that time spent on mission will change your view of the world and missions. You will walk away filled with satisfaction knowing you have personally become a part of the Great Commission. Your appreciation for missionaries, church planters, and those who serve in new work areas will skyrocket. You will walk away understanding the significance of the Cooperative Program and giving to mission offerings. Time spent on mission will open your view to the world in which our missionaries live and serve. You will return giving thanks to God for the privilege you have of living in a state with strong churches, associations, and convention.
Who ME? Yes you. You can go the next step. Your heart for missions can become a living reality. You can go and serve. You can be a short-term missionary. The Great Commission can become more than a verse in the Bible. You can become an in-person fulfillment of the Great Commission.
My recommendation to you is to apply for a passport so you are ready to go when God calls. Do more than wait for a mission trip to drop out of the sky and into your lap; investigate the opportunities. Ask your pastor to connect you to opportunities and watch the Baptist Messenger for training opportunities in Disaster Relief. In the end, just GO! The answer to the question “Who ME?” is YES!