With few days remaining in the school year, summertime is upon us. As Oklahoma Baptists, summer is home to some of our very best missions and ministry opportunities for children and youth.
From Baptist camp ministries to Vacation Bible Schools to local and global missions trips, opportunities abound for boys and girls in missions. Whether you are 8 years old or 80, you can find ways to participate in this going, including the following:
Did you know that Oklahoma currently has some 200 full-time and journeymen missionaries on the field, as part of the International Mission Board (IMB)? Did you know there are 3,671 total IMB field personnel?
These vocational missionaries can and should become a focal point of our prayers. By praying for today’s missionaries—and seeing ourselves as vital to their spiritual well-being and success—God will do great things, as He always does (Acts 13-14).
It always surprises me the degree of discomfort people will tolerate for the sake of a ballgame. They will spend hours in the blazing sun to see a kid play baseball.
They will wake up at the crack of dawn and drive hours, just to go to a tournament. But it can be hard to get the very same people to attend church, let alone go on a mission trip.
I’m not saying we should give up on sports. I am saying we can apply that same kind of commitment and loyalty seen at the ballfield to the mission field (Mark 16:15).
Hance Dilbeck has pointed out the connection in the New Testament between the biblical words for fellowship and giving. When we give to our local Southern Baptist church, we are fueling missions in Oklahoma and to the ends of the earth, through the Cooperative Program (Phil. 4:16-18).
Too often we minimize the impact of our personal giving. In God’s economy, the smallest gift can help make an eternal impact.
Writer Jana Magruder said, children’s ministry leaders, such as Sunday School teachers, “only see kids 1-2 hours per week at the most. Therefore, we need to make the most of our teaching hours on Sunday mornings and any other time during the week, always including stories of missionaries and those who have not heard the Gospel. We need to equip parents to embrace the Great Commission at home, teaching their children what it means to ‘go make disciples.’”
She is right. In our local church context, we can be part of the building up of the future generation of missionaries. That includes us being intentional about what—and Who—we emphasize week by week.
To that end, let’s lead by example, by how we pray, go, give and grow. May the summer of 2019 be fruitful, as we call on the Lord to raise up spiritual harvesters.
May God grant us His special favor at this key time—at GO time.