Independent Churches Seeking to Affiliate with the Northwest Baptist Convention

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This week I met with a large independent church that is seeking to affiliate with our network of more than 450 churches in Washington, Oregon and northern Idaho.  This church numbers around 1,000 in the Sunday services. They are reaching young adults from Portland’s urban core.  And they way that are reaching young people is counter to how many think you reach young adults these days.  The sermons are long and meaty.  When I attended the message was 55 minutes long.  The singing  was warm and engaged the congregation.  There was no fancy “light show.”  There was nothing really “slick” about it.  Just straight-from-the-heart preaching and singing and praying.  I asked a couple beside my wife and I what drew them to the church and they said it was the quality of the Bible teaching as well as the testimony of changed lives.

I tell you this partly because this church, though large and growing, has come to understand that they need the fellowship and support of a network of churches like ours.  They want to start other churches, but they understand they need help doing so.  They don’t have a good way to send international missionaries either.  When I shared with them that this year alone we have started new churches that speak Bhutanese, Romanian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Spanish, Korean and English, they were amazed!  We have at least 122 churches in our network that speak a language other than English, and they were flabbergasted by that.

This church is one of two with whom I will meet this week that is seeking to affiliate with us.  When I share with them the genius of the Cooperative Program (CP) method of funding missions and evangelism they seem to understand very quickly what makes Northwest Southern Baptists different from independent churches.

A couple of months ago I included a document on this blog that I use when I meet with such churches. Below you will find an updated version of that article.  Feel free to share it with anyone interested in knowing more about the unique partnership we enjoy in the NWBC.  And if you are already a part of an NWBC church, please don’t take the CP for granted.  Consider how you and your church can support mission by giving through the CP.

A Brief Description of the NWBC

The Northwest Baptist Convention (NWBC) is a network of over 450 churches in Oregon, Washington and Northern Idaho which voluntarily cooperate to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. We believe that working together provides increased opportunity for kingdom impact. Our churches represent dozens of languages and ethnic groups, with about 130 worshipping in a language other than English. Baptist churches are autonomous, and we have no creed, but the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 describes the beliefs of Baptists regarding the major issues of the faith. The NWBC is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, and thus we benefit from all that the 46,000 SBC churches are able to do together. The following information demonstrates some of the ways that our churches partner together.

  1. Church planting in the Northwest. Together we facilitate over 20 new church starts every year. We do this in partnership with the North American Mission Board (NAMB). These new churches receive training, mentoring, encouragement and funding. In 2014 we started our first Bhutanese church in the Northwest. We are currently working to start our first Native American churches in Washington. In the past couple of years we have started churches that worship in African languages, Romanian, Japanese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Bhutanese, Filipino, Russian and English, among others. 76 percent of the churches started between 2004 and 2013 are still functioning and affiliated with the NWBC.

2.  Pastor/leader training and encouragement. Pastor clusters, retreats, conferences, and individual consultations are some ways this is accomplished. We also have a partnership with Golden Gate Seminary to provide Contextualized Leadership Development training, which is designed for pastors and other leaders who do not have a seminary or Bible degree.

3.  East Asia missions partnership. The NWBC has established a partnership with missionaries who focus on unreached people groups in East Asia. NWBC churches have the opportunity to work with overseas personnel that are placed through the International Mission Board (IMB). East Asia 1-Day trainings will be conducted at 9 locations throughout the Northwest from Oct. 9-19. These all-day events will be led by 11 East Asia IMB missionaries who are travelling from Asia specifically for the purpose of meeting with our churches. Additional information can be found on our website at www.nwbaptist.org.

4.  NWBC churches partner with, and support, over 4,800 IMB missionaries. Approved members of our churches can be trained, sent, and supported as missionaries through the IMB.

5.  Disaster Relief. The NWBC has over 600 trained D.R. workers who are members of our churches. They respond to disasters across the nation and around the world. The Oso mudslide, the fires near Twisp, WA, and a deadly school shooting near Portland, OR are just some of the disasters to which our teams have responded this year.

6. The NWBC provides My316 evangelism and new believer resources to all affiliated churches. These resources are printed in English and Spanish, and are currently being printed in Korean.

7.  NWBC churches partner with six Southern Baptist seminaries, each of which is fully accredited, and whose total enrollment exceeds 16,000 students. Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s Pacific Northwest Campus is located in Vancouver, WA and is housed in our NWBC headquarters. Members of NWBC churches enjoy greatly reduced tuition at all six seminaries. For more information the Pacific Northwest Campus, call 360-882-2200, email pnwc-info@ggbts.edu, or go to http://www.ggbts.edu/campus/pnwc/.

8.  Collegiate Ministry, Youth and Children’s Ministry, and Senior Adult Ministry are each a part of the work of the NWBC. Retreats, training and conferences focus on these various age-groups.

9.  The Northwest Baptist Witness is the primary communication arm of the NWBC. In 2014 it is printed quarterly and mailed to every member of an NWBC church, without charge. In 2015 it will be printed bi-monthly. It can also be accessed on the web at www.gonbw.org.

10.  The Northwest Baptist Foundation (NWBF) is an affiliate of the NWBC and provides loans to our churches for construction projects. Many people have invested a portion of their estate in kingdom causes through the NWBF, benefitting mission causes in the Northwest and around the world. Currently the NWBF has about $40 million invested. Again, this demonstrates the commitment of our people to support the Great Commission work that we do together.

11. In addition to cooperating with the NWBC, many churches are involved in local Baptist associations, working together at the local level to advance the Kingdom.

NWBC churches cooperate together in some of the following ways:

  1. The average giving from NWBC churches through the cooperative program budget of the NWBC about 7% of their budget receipts. Some give more, some give less. NWBC churches are completely autonomous and each determines what they give. The strong level of giving by our churches is evidence of their commitment to work together, believing greater kingdom impact will result.
  2. Three major mission offerings also support the work of the NWBC, IMB and NAMB. Churches generally receive these offerings three times a year, but each church determines how they support the mission work of the NWBC and the larger SBC. For example, some receive one mission offering throughout the year and divide this between the three entities.
  3. Attending the Annual Meeting of the NWBC during the second Tuesday-Wednesday of November. Each NWBC church is able to send messengers to the annual convention, at which we enjoy wonderful fellowship and worship, hear inspiring reports of the work that we do together, adopt our cooperative missions budget, among many other things.
  4. Annual Church Profile. NWBC churches are encouraged to report attendance information, baptism statistics, etc. each year as a means to track our Great Commission progress.

Randy Adams

Executive Director-Treasurer, Northwest Baptist Convention

Going the Second Mile, then Going Another

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How far do you go to reach another person with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Recently one of our Northwest Baptist pastors told me something that stunned me. I don’t think he thought what he said was striking in any way. He spoke about it matter-of-factly. What he said was this: “About 70 to 80 percent of our church is Ukrainian, but we speak Russian at church so that we can reach Russians and Russian speakers.”

I had never considered such a thing. The pastor preaches in his second language, and the singing and worship is conducted in the second language of most of the church, so that they can reach more people for Christ. Remarkable! And they are reaching hundreds of people.

When the pastor told me that, I quickly remembered a conversation with one of the church’s members when I spoke there several months ago. The church member told me, “At home we speak Ukrainian. At church we speak Russian. And in business we speak English.” I asked the congregation that day if any were from Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and a number of other nations comprising the former Soviet Union, and there were some in attendance from many of these countries. During the Soviet era, the various nations of the Union were required to teach Russian in the schools. Many citizens of these countries can therefore speak Russian as well as their national language. Thus, the church can reach people from all the nations of the former Soviet Union if they speak the common language of Russian.

In addition to most of the congregation worshipping in their second language, they also deal with different cultures and political commitments. With Russia occupying Crimea, and aggressing upon Ukraine, the church members have differing perspectives on what is happening in their home countries. The pastor told me that he needs to understand such things in order to lead the church effectively.

This pastor helped me understand in a deeper way what it means to go the second mile, then go another, to show God’s love and share the gospel with another. Few of you reading this will better reach people by worshipping or preaching in a language other than your mother tongue. If, like me, you were born in the United States you probably speak only one language. But there are other matters that give us opportunity to lead our people to go the second and third mile in order to reach people.

If your church struggles with style preferences in worship, music, clothing, time and length of services, ministry methods, etc., then consider this Russian language congregation and what they are doing to reach people. I must say, they encourage me, and challenge me, to go the second mile, and then to go another, in my efforts to help others know God’s love in Christ Jesus.

The World’s Ablaze – Again

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The World’s Ablaze – Again

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare (2 Pet. 3:10).

A century ago the world was at war. It was an age of massacre. On one single day, August 22, 1914, France lost 27,000 men, killed in what came to be called the “Battle of the Frontiers.” On that day half as many French soldiers died as America lost in 10 years of war in Vietnam. Corpses were heaped up, lying every which way, with rain falling and shells screaming and bursting. During August and September of that year, 400,000 French soldiers died, and by year’s end 2 million were dead on both sides of the war. The elite French military academy of Saint-Cyr systematically listed its dead from the various wars. For 1914 there was one brief entry: “The Class of 1914” – all of it (Philip Jenkins, The Great and Holy War).

By the end of The Great War in November 1918, 10 million were dead. Among these were 114,000 Americans who died in about 1 ½ years of fighting. As if the bloodletting were insufficient to water the earth, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919 claimed between 50 and 100 million lives worldwide, with over 600,000 dead in the United States, 400,000 in France and 250,000 in Britain. To put this in context, AIDS claimed 25 million lives worldwide between 1981-2011.

Jenkins’ account of the Great War is a worthy read for multiple reasons, chief of which is, as captured by the title, it was considered a “holy war” by those on both sides of the conflict. Indeed, it became a “religious crusade” with preachers and leaders on both sides using biblical language and apocalyptic terminology to argue for the rightness of their cause. One takeaway for me, however, is that it helps put in perspective the circumstances in which we find ourselves in 2014.

Human beings are prone to the “illusion of specialness,” meaning that we see our times and situation as unique, most often as uniquely bad. Without question we live in dangerous times, and things could get much worse very quickly. A few bad actors with the right weapons and opportunity can kill thousands, and they have. Moreover, when even one person dies a gruesome death, YouTube can spread the horror to billions, and it has. Remember, wars have started over the death of one person before. The Great War is an example of that as well.

But if there is anything uniquely special about our times, I would suggest that it’s not the outbursts of gruesome violence that we are seeing in multiple places. The world has been ablaze many times. There is nothing new about this. Indeed, the blaze has seldom if ever been extinguished. No, the uniqueness of our times is best seen in the unprecedented Gospel opportunities that are before us. No prior generation has enjoyed the access to nations and peoples that we enjoy. And this access isn’t only experienced by our ability to go to exotic places and peoples. We are increasingly accessing the world’s peoples because they are moving into our neighborhoods. It is not uncommon for school districts in the Northwest to have 100 or more languages represented in the schools. In the past year Northwest Baptists have planted our first Bhutanese church, not in the country of Bhutan, but in the state of Oregon! We have Northwest Baptist churches speaking Mandarin, Japanese, Tagalog, Ethiopian, Russian, Korean, Spanish, English, and around 30 other languages. About 100 of our 450 churches speak a language other than English. For the most part, this is a recent development, occurring over the last 30 years, but greatly accelerating in the past decade.

The Scriptures tell us that the day will come when this planet will truly be ablaze. It will be a purifying fire that will lay bare the earth. The “day of the Lord” will come quickly and unexpectedly. We must be ready.

One hundred years ago, when Europe became a graveyard, preachers on both sides of the fight were certain the end was near. The British General Allenby even fought to victory in the valley of Armageddon! However, the Lord was not yet ready to blow the trumpet.   But one day He will. And until that day comes, we must make haste and seize the opportunity which is uniquely ours, that of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with every tribe and tongue and people and nation, some of whom live in the house next door to ours.        

The World’s Ablaze – Again

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But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare (2 Pet. 3:10).

A century ago the world was at war. It was an age of massacre. On one single day, August 22, 1914, France lost 27,000 men, killed in what came to be called the “Battle of the Frontiers.” On that day half as many French soldiers died as America lost in 10 years of war in Vietnam. Corpses were heaped up, lying every which way, with rain falling and shells screaming and bursting. During August and September of that year, 400,000 French soldiers died, and by year’s end 2 million were dead on both sides of the war. The elite French military academy of Saint-Cyr systematically listed its dead from the various wars. For 1914 there was one brief entry: “The Class of 1914” – all of it (Philip Jenkins, The Great and Holy War).

By the end of The Great War in November 1918, 10 million were dead. Among these were 114,000 Americans who died in about 1 ½ years of fighting. As if the bloodletting were insufficient to water the earth, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919 claimed between 50 and 100 million lives worldwide, with over 600,000 dead in the United States, 400,000 in France and 250,000 in Britain. To put this in context, AIDS claimed 25 million lives worldwide between 1981-2011.

Jenkins’ account of the Great War is a worthy read for multiple reasons, chief of which is, as captured by the title, it was considered a “holy war” by those on both sides of the conflict. Indeed, it became a “religious crusade” with preachers and leaders on both sides using biblical language and apocalyptic terminology to argue for the rightness of their cause. One takeaway for me, however, is that it helps put in perspective the circumstances in which we find ourselves in 2014.

Human beings are prone to the “illusion of specialness,” meaning that we see our times and situation as unique, most often as uniquely bad. Without question we live in dangerous times, and things could get much worse very quickly. A few bad actors with the right weapons and opportunity can kill thousands, and they have. Moreover, when even one person dies a gruesome death, YouTube can spread the horror to billions, and it has. Remember, wars have started over the death of one person before. The Great War is an example of that as well.

But if there is anything uniquely special about our times, I would suggest that it’s not the outbursts of gruesome violence that we are seeing in multiple places. The world has been ablaze many times. There is nothing new about this. Indeed, the blaze has seldom if ever been extinguished. No, the uniqueness of our times is best seen in the unprecedented Gospel opportunities that are before us. No prior generation has enjoyed the access to nations and peoples that we enjoy. And this access isn’t only experienced by our ability to go to exotic places and peoples. We are increasingly accessing the world’s peoples because they are moving into our neighborhoods. It is not uncommon for school districts in the Northwest to have 100 or more languages represented in the schools. In the past year Northwest Baptists have planted our first Bhutanese church, not in the country of Bhutan, but in the state of Oregon! We have Northwest Baptist churches speaking Mandarin, Japanese, Tagalog, Ethiopian, Russian, Korean, Spanish, English, and around 30 other languages. About 100 of our 450 churches speak a language other than English. For the most part, this is a recent development, occurring over the last 30 years, but greatly accelerating in the past decade.

The Scriptures tell us that the day will come when this planet will truly be ablaze. It will be a purifying fire that will lay bare the earth. The “day of the Lord” will come quickly and unexpectedly. We must be ready.

One hundred years ago, when Europe became a graveyard, preachers on both sides of the fight were certain the end was near. The British General Allenby even fought to victory in the valley of Armageddon! However, the Lord was not yet ready to blow the trumpet.   But one day He will. And until that day comes, we must make haste and seize the opportunity which is uniquely ours, that of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with every tribe and tongue and people and nation, some of whom live in the house next door to ours.        

East Asia 1 Day Conferences

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East Asia IMB missionaries will be touring the Northwest in October, conducting a series of one-day meetings, called EA1Days (East Asia One Days).  The meeting times are 9:00am to 5:00pm and include lunch.  The dates and locations are:

 

October 9 –        Greater Gresham Baptist Church, Gresham, OR

October 10 –      Riviera Baptist Church, Eugene, OR

October 11 –      Highland Baptist Church, Redmond, OR

October 13 –      Richland Baptist Church, Richland, WA

October 14 –      Emmanuel Baptist Church, Pullman, WA

October 15 –      Airway Heights Baptist Church, Spokane, WA

October 16 –      Chestnut Street Baptist Church, Ellensburg, WA

October 17 –      CrossPointe Church, Bothell, WA

October 18 –      First Baptist Church of Lakewood, Lakewood, WA

 

Below you will find a link to register online for one of nine East Asia 1 Day Conferences.  It is quite amazing that our East Asia missionaries are giving us 12 days of their time in order to invite us to join them in gospel work in that dark part of the world.  It presents us with a truly unique opportunity to connect with several IMB missionaries.

The purpose of these EA1Day conferences is to introduce us to the immense need and opportunity to impact lostness among the unreached peoples of East Asia.  Each day will begin with a large group gathering, followed by several breakout opportunities throughout the day, and concludes with a worship gathering focused on the mission of reaching the unreached.  Lunch will be served to all in attendance. 

The breakouts will include such things as: Ways to Pray for an Unreached People, Steps Toward Adopting an Unreached People, Methods of Evangelizing East Asian Peoples, East Asian Cultures and How to Research Your People Group or City, etc.  Also, you will be able to personally connect with some of the IMB personnel who live in East Asia and with whom you will work.  They will even have “project requests” available so that you can visit about specific places, dates, and ministry assignments.

There are literally hundreds of cities and towns in the area of our focus that do not have even one church.  When our vision team was there last March we met people who had never heard the name “Jesus” and had no gospel witness in their area.  Some of you will be led to serve in areas where there are no missionaries living (they will travel to the area with you) and no known believers.  The lost peoples in East Asia are Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, Confucius adherents, ancestor worshippers, and animists.

Who should attend an EA1Day Conference?  Everybody!  Anybody interested in missions and reaching the lost will benefit from attending, including those who cannot travel to East Asia.  They will learn how to pray for a people they will never personally meet (though we have many East Asians living in the Northwest and we will learn something of how to reach them too!), they will learn how they can support the efforts of those who go, and they will learn how their Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering dollars are being invested.  Others will want to attend because they want to personally engage the lost in East Asia and learn various ways to do that.

Here is the link to register individuals or church groups to attend the EA1Day events:  http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=r4pu18zlcvm6cwp410558