As a movement of churches on mission together, we are all about the Great Commission. I am thankful for the many ways that is reflected in how our convention of 2,900 independent, autonomous churches partner together to plant churches, send missionaries and train up the next generation to see God’s kingdom come.
N.C. Baptists can celebrate the historic and ongoing support for missionaries and church planters through praying, giving, going and sending. I continue to be amazed by your generosity and sacrifice that is evidenced by your financial giving and faithful sending.
At last month’s annual meeting, messengers approved a $29.5 million budget for 2023 that once again increases support for our global ministry partners to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. In October, we learned that N.C. Baptists gave nearly $14.7 million in support of international missionaries through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, which led all state conventions for the 2021-22 Southern Baptist Convention fiscal year.
Additionally, nearly 500 missionaries currently serving with the International Mission Board (IMB) claim an N.C. Baptist church as one of their sending churches, which is the most of any state convention.
While I am thankful for the generosity that N.C. Baptists demonstrate through support and sending, I am also grateful that N.C. Baptists are a praying people. I and your state convention leaders believe that prayer isn’t our last resort, but it is our primary strategy.
I invite you to once again pray for this year’s Lottie Moon offering and for more people from our churches to be raised up and sent out to the nations. I would also like to encourage you to take part in a special prayer emphasis for 2023 titled “Praying for the Nations.”
Beginning in January, N.C. Baptists can pray daily for unreached people groups living right here in North Carolina, as well as for missionaries and church planters from our state who are working to make Christ known among least-reached people and in least-reached places.
You can learn more and sign up for the prayer emphasis online at praync.org. At that website you can sign up to receive a free downloadable prayer guide, digital prayer cards, email updates, promotional materials and other resources. Please join in praying for the name and fame of Jesus to be declared among the nations so that others will be drawn to Him.
Also, let me encourage you to make a personal connection with an IMB missionary. Connecting every church across the nation with a missionary is one of the major points of emphasis for IMB President Paul Chitwood and his team. You can learn more about connecting with a missionary by visiting the IMB’s website or by emailing [email protected].
Getting to know a missionary or going on a short-term mission trip can capture the heart of members of your congregation for missions. Plus, you’ll be a personal encouragement to those serving on the field. As a former missionary myself, I can’t tell you what it means to have a personal connection with a local church and see the hearts of those congregations come alive for missions.
I am excited for what God is doing in our state through these and other initiatives like our SendNC church planting partnership with the North American Mission Board and our Go2 Years initiative that encourages college students to spend their first two years after college living on mission. N.C. Baptists on Mission also has a number of opportunities and partnerships to get the men, women and students of your church involved in missions.
Pastors, if you don’t know where to begin, don’t hesitate to reach out to the regional mission catalyst in your area. These N.C. Baptist staff members are ready and available to assist and serve you and your congregation to be on mission across the street and around the world.
Thank you, N.C. Baptists, for being a movement of churches on mission together.