Pastors at SBC to hear mission challenges

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- Opportunities for pastors to deepen their churches' missions involvement and leave a legacy will be highlighted during an IMB-sponsored breakfast and luncheon in conjunction with the SBC annual meeting in Houston.

Both gatherings also will provide opportunities for fellowship and inspiration with IMB representatives.

At a luncheon June 11, IMB President Tom Elliff will share his vision for missions in this century. Also, attendees will hear from John Morgan, senior pastor of Sagemont Baptist Church in Houston, where members are using legacy giving to help reach unengaged, unreached people groups (UUPGs) with the Gospel.

On June 12, pastors interested in taking their churches to a deeper level of missions involvement with a UUPG can attend a breakfast where Elliff will share his vision for the International Mission Board's Embrace initiative and attendees will hear from others already involved in the effort.

Legacy planning

A few years ago, Morgan knew of only one person in the Sagemont congregation who had included missions and ministries in a will. But after attending a legacy planning luncheon at the 2008 SBC annual meeting, he invited PhilanthroCorp (a partner of the Southern Baptist Foundation and IMB) to speak to the congregation. As a result, families have bequeathed more than $20 million to church missions and ministry causes, both locally and internationally.

"Legacy planning enables people to meet genuine family needs and, at the same time, impact the world for the cause of the Gospel -- a legacy that will continue until Jesus returns," says David Clippard, IMB associate vice president of development.

"Most sincere disciples consistently tithe from their current assets yet they fail to tithe their estates," notes Jay Wolf, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Montgomery, Ala. Wolf partnered with PhilanthroCorp to craft a legacy plan to help provide for his family as well as to contribute to missions.

Englewood Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, N.C., worked through its state convention's foundation to establish a legacy giving fund.

"I started this journey wanting to help this church take a step of faith in their giving and living," says Michael Cloer, Englewood's pastor. "I was so encouraged in what God could and would do through this that I wanted my wife and me to be the first ones to make a will and establish a charitable trust where we could not only leave something to our posterity but also invest in God's Kingdom."

Embrace

Pastor Mark Mahaffie felt it was time to encourage his church to invest in God's Kingdom by deepening their commitment to overseas missions involvement. For them, the next step was to choose a people group and work to present Christ.

Members of Sequoia Heights Baptist Church in Manteca, Calif., prayed for the Kisi people group of southern Tanzania for a year before sending their first missions team. Just reaching that point was a stretch for the church with roughly 200 members, but three groups have now visited the Kisi to share the Gospel and train new believers to do the same.

"It's unbelievable that God is allowing us to do this," Mahaffie says. "Don't say 'no' before you say 'yes.' Start with saying 'yes' and let God take care of all the no's.... All of those no's are just saying, 'I don't trust God.'"

Registration

Breakfast attendees will hear from pastors whose churches are already taking a direct role in "embracing" a UUPG. The breakfast will be held from 7-8:15 a.m. at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Grand Ballroom A, level 3.

The luncheon, hosted by Sagemont church and IMB, is from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Houston's Hilton Americas Hotel, Americas Ballroom E/F, Level 2.

Both events are free of charge, but seating is limited and tickets are required for admission. To register for the breakfast, go to regonline.com/SBC_Breakfast. To register for the luncheon, go to regonline.com/SBC_Luncheon. For additional information on the luncheon, call 1-800-999-3113, ext. 1405, or email lconnerley@imb.org.


Reported by the staff of the International Mission Board.