Northwest and East Asia – It’s a Small World!

Standard

In two months I will travel with five NWBC pastors to East Asia on a vision tour with the hope that the Northwest Baptist Convention will enter a partnership with our friends overseas.  The purpose of the partnership is to join with our international workers to reach a people who are almost wholly unreached for Christ.  In so doing, our churches will have the opportunity to pray for these people and send teams to East Asia in order to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We will get to know our overseas workers and see first-hand what they do and what our Cooperative Program dollars are doing.  And we will help them do it!  Our pastors will train house church leaders in this country.  We will speak in universities.  We will evangelize in the streets and the villages.

I spoke about the possibility of a partnership at the NWBC annual meeting in Yakima last November, but at the time we had no specifics on where we might go.  Now we do.  And already we are discovering connections!   For example, Phil Peters, team leader for Region 2, has a sister serving overseas, and as it turns out she serves where we are going!  She and her family will be some of those with whom we will work.  I am expecting we will discover other Northwesterners there as well.

Not only that, but after our leader for all the work in East Asia asked us to go to this particular area, we learned that at least two of our churches are already partnered there.  Resonate Church in Pullman has been sending teams to this area for the past three years.  And Greater Gresham Baptist Church established a partnership in this same area about 16 months ago.

Now, get this: I was speaking with Keith Evans, pastor of Greater Gresham, telling him where we are going.  That’s when he told me that they are already partnered there.  He told me some of the overseas personnel they work with, and then he mentioned the name of a man that they work with most closely.  When he told me his name I said, “Keith, I was that man’s pastor!  We took him on his first overseas trip.”  And now he is one of our key workers in this area of East Asia.  Small world!  I expect that we’ll find other connections between people there and here as we move along.

I’ve been involved in establishing three state convention/international partnerships, and participated in three others.  Always we saw God do amazing things, including calling some of our people to join the ranks of our international workers.  A partnership in East Asia will give our churches the opportunity to send people and pray for people and engage in many other ways.  And we’ll get to do it together!  Think of how it will be when 20 or 40 or 100 of our churches can share the common the experience of overseas work in a particular area (I could only hope that the number would be higher still!).

This I know, when we give our people opportunity, some will step into that opportunity.  If your church does evangelism training and provides opportunities to share the gospel, not every member will take advantage of the opportunity, but some will.  If you plan a mission trip, not every member will participate, but some will.  Churches that provide opportunities will discover that some step into the opportunity.  In my experience, churches that provide opportunities produce more soul winners/missionaries/preachers/kingdom-minded people, than churches that provide few opportunities.  And you don’t have to be a big church to do this.  The teams we send will be small, typically 4 to 6 in number, and churches can join together to send a team.  Your association might send a team.

Northwest Baptists already have 110 overseas workers serving with our international board.  That is testimony to our churches and leaders and collegiate workers.  Praise God!  And I hope that you will begin praying and dreaming and thinking of how you and your church might participate in East Asia.

Randy Adams

Executive Director-Treasurer

Northwest Baptist Convention

Seven Ways to Help Your New Pastor

Standard

Today I spoke at New Hope Baptist Church in Creswell, OR where Sam Morgan served as pastor for 22 years.  Last week the church called Rob Walker to serve as their new pastor.  Rob will soon arrive with high expectations for what God will do.

When a new pastor arrives there are several ways that church members can help him to start well.  A strong start greatly increases the opportunity for a highly effective and enduring ministry.  Here are seven things every member can do.

  1. Pray for your pastor and his family every day.

Every aspect of transition to a new city and ministry requires God’s leadership if it is to be done well.  Pray for favor as your pastor and his family meet people, establish personal and business relationships, transfer their children into new schools, and a hundred other things.  You can do much for them, but God can do more and you need to pray that God will direct them and protect them in these first weeks and months.

2. Introduce your pastor to leaders and friends in the community.

A new pastor provides a new opportunity to impact your friends for Christ and the ministry of the church.  Also, your pastor needs to know the people of the community not just the members of the church.  You can help him do this by bringing him to civic and school gatherings and sporting events.  Among the membership of the church are those who know community leaders.  Who are the five most influential people in town?  Help your pastor get to know them.  Don’t forget those community leaders whose responsibility is to address the needs of the poor.  Your new pastor will want to know these people and how needs are being addressed in the city.  Who is the mayor, the police and fire chiefs and the school superintendents and principals?  Who are the major employers?  The pastor will want to know each of these.

3. Orient your pastor to the history of the community and church.

What are the most significant happenings in the history of the town?  What major decisions and events have happened in the past ten years?  Similarly, who were the people who helped to build the church?  It will take time, but the pastor should come to know the community as well or better than anyone.  You can help him do this by telling him the stories and history.  If a community or church history has been written, make sure the new pastor has a copy.  There are widows and widowers in the church whose spouses served as small group leaders, greeters, deacons and in other aspects of ministry.  It can be sad when a new pastor comes who didn’t know their deceased spouse.  Help the new pastor know who these people were and the contributions they made to God’s work through the church and in the community.

4. Help your pastor understand recent community issues, including how they affected the church.

What have been the most significant issues in the community in the last five years and how have they affected the church and her membership?  Community issues could include divisive political battles or issues at the school.  They could include major issues between management and labor in a union matter.  The coming or closing of businesses that employ(ed) large numbers could have produced relational problems between church members or between the church and the community.  Your new pastor will be helped if you make him aware of such things.

5. Let your pastor be himself and resist comparing him with others.

Pastoral ministry is getting more difficult in several respects and one of these is the availability of sermons from most every preacher in America.  When I was a young pastor a church member compared me with the most prominent television preacher of the day who was famous, in part, for never mentioning the need to repent or confess sin.  “Possibility thinking” was his shtick and in the mind of this member that’s the kind of preaching I needed to do if I wanted him in attendance on Sunday.  I have never forgotten his comparison.  Please, please, don’t compare your new pastor with others, be they glitzy gospel superstars or merely his humble predecessor.  It won’t help him, you, the church or the Kingdom.

6. Support your pastor with your presence and faithful service.

Your presence in worship gatherings and faithful service through the church and in the community will greatly encourage your new pastor.  He can’t “do it all” and he shouldn’t try.  The church is the Body of Christ and every member of the body has a function in a healthy church.  Do your part and let him know you love Jesus, the church and the pastor and his family.

7. Encourage your pastor to take time for himself and his family.

Pastoral ministry is not a 40 hour-a-week job.  Most pastors work long hours, are always “on call” when needs arise, and often have a difficult time pulling their thoughts away from the next message they are preparing.  Add to that the tyranny of cell phones and it becomes nearly impossible for a pastor to take time each week for himself and his family.  If your pastor is bi-vocational the time pressures are greater still.  Lay leaders must insist that their pastor take time for himself and his family.  Give your pastor plenty of vacation and “make” him use it.  If he’s bi-vocational he needs additional vacation.

The relationship of a pastor and church is akin to a marriage.  It is spiritual and intimate and personal because it concerns the deepest needs of the soul.  Just as a great marriage makes all of life better, a great relationship between a pastor and the church improves the lives of all concerned.  You can help your new pastor begin well and establish a strong and impactful ministry.

Randy Adams

Executive Director-Treasurer

Northwest Baptist Convention

Spiritual Renewal in the Northwest

Standard

Greetings to all the saints in our Northwest Baptist churches who are faithful in Christ Jesus. We are excited to bring you news and information about God’s work through Northwest Baptists in this first printed Northwest Baptist Witness in over two years. The printed Witness will be printed and mailed on or near the first of February.  We are also thankful that your church’s giving to the Cooperative Program has enabled us to develop, print and mail the Witness at no additional cost to you or your church.

As I look back and press forward into 2014, my heart is filled with gratitude. Paula and I are grateful that our call to follow Jesus has led us to serve with you. Your affirmation of this step in our call confirmed that we were indeed hearing from the Lord. As I have listened to you, and to him, it seems clear our greatest need is Kingdom praying and gospel witness. If together in our churches we will “look up” and “look out,” we’ll see the Lord of the Harvest do the things we dreamed in the early days of our walk with Jesus.

Prayer Gatherings

Prayer is our greatest privilege and most important work. For this reason I will come and pray with you in a series of prayer gatherings across the convention throughout 2014. The first will happen in Spokane on Monday evening, February 3. The purpose of these meetings is to gather believers to pray for spiritual awakening and revival throughout the Northwest. We will also have several “MY316 Saturdays” across the convention in which we gather to pray, serve, share Christ and then celebrate what God did.

The intent of these Saturdays is to model what any church can do on a quarterly basis, which is to intentionally love the community and pray for the people for whom they are spiritually accountable (Ezekiel 33:1-9). If you would like to host a prayer gathering, or if you have an idea for how to do a MY316 Saturday in your area, please let me know.

MY316 Evangelism Resources

All English language MY316 evangelism resources are printed and ready for distribution to every church that requests them. Your Cooperative Program dollars have already purchased these for your church. You simply need to request and use the resources. Translators are working on Spanish and Korean language versions.

International Mission’s Partnership

Steps are being taken toward a mission’s partnership with the International Mission Board and the Northwest Baptist Convention. A vision trip to East Asia is planned for the end of March. Five pastors have committed to participate on this trip at their own expense. We will travel to an area that is largely unreached and has dozens of UPGs (unreached people groups) including some who do not have the Scriptures in their language. Our IMB leader for all of East Asia is so enthused about this that he will travel to the Northwest in latter April, giving a week of his time to travel our convention and meet with all interested persons. If we enter into this partnership, every church and each member will have the opportunity to participate. You will hear much more about this in months to come.

God bless you Northwest Baptists!  Hopefully I’ll see some of you at a prayer gathering over the next several months. And always remember, never forget, it is a good day to serve the Lord and it’s a good day to serve him in the Northwest!

Randy Adams

Executive Director-Treasurer

Northwest Baptist Convention