Messianics to highlight discipleship, cooperation

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- The Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship will focus on discipleship and completing an organizational restructuring effort when the group convenes in Birmingham, Ala., in conjunction with the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting.

Ric Worshill, executive director of the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship, talks with visitors to the exhibit hall at the 2018 SBC annual meeting in Dallas.
BP file photo by Van Payne
The SBMF -- which comprises largely Messianic Jews (Jews who follow Jesus as Messiah) -- will gather Sunday, June 9, at noon for a lunch meeting at The Westin Birmingham's restaurant, 2221 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North in Birmingham.

The meeting's "disciples making disciples" theme, SMBF executive director Ric Worshill said, references both a celebration of what has occurred over the past year and an encouragement to do more church planting and leadership development.

"We've actually increased our membership by about 20 people and also one congregation," Worshill said. "It's gone up a good amount" over the past year. "We're working on helping two more [congregations] get started, one in Canada and one here in the United States."

The SBMF's membership now includes 342 people in North America, Worshill said, plus 23 international missionaries engaging in Jewish evangelism, some of them serving through the International Mission Board.

Moving forward, the fellowship is "trying to encourage more of our membership to be active in the leadership," Worshill said.

After finalizing an organizational restructuring plan last year in Dallas, the SBMF will attempt this year to recruit members for vacant leadership roles. The fellowship needs three additional regional directors, a secretary and an assistant treasurer, Worshill said.

Additionally, the SBMF will encourage member churches to be active in church planting and "step up" to play a larger role in Southern Baptist life, Worshill said.

"We've got to get the people more active with being involved with the local association," he said, "being more involved with the state [convention], being more involved with the Cooperative Program. I don't care if they have five members. They can still be part of the Cooperative Program.... There are missionaries out there that really do a lot of work, and they need to be supported."

SBMF President Bruce Stokes said this year's meeting "is particularly important as we begin the process of updating our mission and revising our organizational structure to address Messianic ministry and related issues within the SBC and in association with the larger Messianic movement."

Following the SBMF annual meeting, fellowship members will help staff the Many Faces of the SBC booth in the SBC exhibit hall, highlighting the various ethnic fellowships within the convention.

Questions and reservations for the Birmingham SBMF meeting can be sent via the group's website at sbmessianic.net.

David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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