VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/26/14)—Entering its third century of mission in 2014, American Baptist International Ministries (IM) has set its sights on new challenges and opportunities to help people worldwide come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationship with God, and change their worlds through the power of the Spirit.
Under the theme “Rise to the Challenge,” IM is encouraging U.S. and Puerto Rico churches to join in its effort to send new mission personnel into areas of great need, even as it continues to equip current long-term and short-term personnel now serving in more than 70 countries around the world.
IM’s educational materials, events, trips and activities throughout the year are based on Acts 16:9 in which the Apostle Paul and his companions received the urgent vision to “come over to Macedonia and help us!”
“Areas all over the world are still calling to the church to ‘come and help,’” says Stan Slade, IM’s associate executive director for program. “The same God who invited Paul and his companions to minister in new parts of the world invites us to do the same today.
“God uses everything—including our struggles to see the way ahead—to shape us for more effective mission service,” Slade added. “God uses it all to prepare us to rise to the challenge when new mission opportunities appear.”
Throughout 2014, IM is inviting U.S. and Puerto Rico churches to rise to the challenge though a variety of exciting events at the Green Lake Conference Center, Green Lake, Wisconsin:
May 18-23 – International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP) Global Conference
ICAP is a partnership devoted to offering freedom and change to people involved in prostitution and those who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation. Lauran Bethell, IM global consultant, is the ICAP coordinator and leadership team chair. For information: www.icapglobal.org
July 19-21 – Hear the Call weekend retreat
This is a time of prayer and conversation for people who are seekinig to discern God’s call in their lives, whether for missionary, pastoral or local service. For information: www.internationalministries.org/read/51502
July 21-26 – World Mission Conference: Rise to the Challenge
Celebrate IM’s 200th anniversary with ALL of the current IM global servants and their families! Plus 150 international partners from around the world! Housing is still available. For more information: www.worldmissionconference.org
July 21-26 – Contemporary Missiology Course
This course will be taught by Rev. Dr. Ray Bakke. Seminary credit available. (Runs simultaneously with the World Mission Conference) For more information: www.internationalministries.org/read/49675
NEW short videos currently in development
To reflect on the 2014 theme, IM is preparing a series of videos and biblical reflections to chronicle IM’s call from God through IM’s Chinese Christian partners to open new mission service in Macau—a Chinese region just east of Hong Kong. The gambling industry in Macau rivals that of Las Vegas, and is faced with its accompanying social and spiritual consequences.
These 90-second videos—ideal for worship services and Bible study settings—will trace the many steps leading to placing mission personnel in Macau — from the urgent call from IM partners, to the desperate need for basic education for the youth in Macau, to the obstacles that are faced, and finally to ways churches can participate in this – and other – vital IM ministries.
The videos, with an accompanying study guide and sermon suggestions, will be available to pastors and congregations in July 2014.
American Baptist International Ministries is celebrating 200 years of ministry in 2014. Organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America, it began its pioneer mission work in Burma and today works in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas serving more than 1,800 long-term and short-term missionaries. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationship with God, and change their worlds through the power of the Spirit. It works with respected partners in over 70 countries in ministries that meet human need.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.