The blog below was written by Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). Blogs written by ABCUSA Leadership Team members will be published periodically on the website. To learn more about the prayer vigil taking place on Friday, August 29 in Tijuana, Mexico, click here.
While in Argentina to address the Argentine Baptist Association a few weeks ago, Raul Scialabba, the president, and I began talking about our respective roles, his as CEO of several interlocking publishing firms and mine as General Secretary.
What we both remarked upon was our joy in serving as connectors. Raul talked about how people wondered how he could deal so well with several different businesses. The key, he said, was in connecting the right people with the need.
One of the key roles any General Secretary plays is exactly that – helping make connections happen. Recently at the excellent World Mission Conference, I asked our ABC missionaries in Latin America to meet with me to discuss immigration and how ABC might respond, especially to the issue of the thousands of unaccompanied minors that are fleeing drug and gang-related violence in their home countries.
Out of that conversation came the idea of a prayer vigil (set for Friday, August 29 in Tijuana, Mexico), and a statement by our missionaries to our churches about their perspective on the situation. Well out of that has come a ground swell of participation, not only from our churches but from others. May God bless our gathering and the prayers of the people for this humanitarian crisis.
Even our relationship with the Argentine Baptist Association is another example of how God works through our connections. I had worked with Raul for many years in the BWA where he has served as an influential and capable leader. One day as we were talking at a BWA executive committee meeting he asked, “Would ABC be interested in partnering with the Association for mission?” I immediately contacted International Ministries staff member Jose Norat and told him of that conversation. As a result, we are now in a mission partnership with the Association. I can’t begin to describe the joy I experienced as I met the pastors and lay leaders of the ministry projects we are supporting in cooperation with the Association. Every one of them is in an impoverished community where suicides, gangs, unemployment and hopelessness prevail. I was amazed at the courage of some who have braved personal attacks and remained for the sake of sharing God’s love in Christ with these communities.
There is a lot of joy in being a connector. It’s one of the things I enjoy most about my ministry as General Secretary of ABC.
A. Roy Medley, General Secretary, ABCUSA