CEDAR HILL, Texas (BP) -- Annie Falconer is an active 74-year-old who likes to stay busy. She is director of the Good News Clubs for children in her community. But after attending an Embrace conference, she knew there was more she could do.
Photo by Tammi Reed Ledbetter
"I may not be as active as I would like, due to health, but there are a lot of things I can sit and do," she said.
Falconer and seven other members of Highland Terrace Baptist Church in Greenville, Texas, attended the IMB-sponsored Embrace event, a starting point for churches willing to explore the challenge of taking the Gospel to the world's 3,800 unengaged, unreached people groups (UUPGs).
"I need to do more than just one thing, and I was especially interested in the way IMB is reaching out in Central Asia to people from all of these countries who are our neighbors here in Texas, too," Falconer said. "... I still have a great desire to be involved in missions -- not only across the street but around the world."
"The fact that you're here this morning tells us something radical could and, perhaps, is happening," IMB President Tom Elliff told the 320 Southern Baptists in attendance, representing 130 churches from 19 states, at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Cedar Hill, Texas.
"It seems God has just breathed a fresh wind of his Spirit and is blessing what seems to be becoming a movement," Elliff said of the Embrace strategy by which churches "evangelize and disciple authentically through discipleship that produces reproducing churches."
"We want to be careful to give Him honor and glory, with an understanding that God is sovereign and we're His bond slaves," Elliff said. "We serve Him and serve one another as well so that other people can hear this wonderful announcement that Jesus saves."
Elliff and Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., issued a challenge at the annual SBC meeting this past June for Southern Baptist churches to commit to "embrace" 3,800 UUPGs by next year's annual meeting in New Orleans. An upcoming meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) will encourage Texas churches to embrace at least 1,000 of that number during a Nov. 15 missions focus in Irving.
Wright shared how Johnson Ferry had been transformed as mission endeavors became "the most spiritually impactful ministry" in the past 20 years. Read More