OVERLAND PARK, KS (ABNS 6/26/15)—A new statement of vision and priorities to guide the work of American Baptist International Ministries (IM) during the next few years was unanimously approved by the IM Board of Directors gathered in Overland Park, Kansas on June 25.
IM’s board and staff give thanks to God and those who have contributed to its special bicentennial effort of spiritual discernment that resulted in this guiding statement.
Drawn from the Lord’s Prayer as recorded in Matthew, the vision statement for IM’s new guiding document is simply, “On earth, as in heaven.” These five short words point to the fullness of what Jesus announced in word, embodied in action, made possible through his death and resurrection and will bring to completion at the end of time. It is this sweeping, holistic vision of the mission of Jesus Christ that will guide the actions of IM into the early years of its third century of mission.
The vote of IM’s governing Board came as a crucial step in its “Responding to the Call” spiritual discernment process. It built upon the fruit of an extensive and intensive listening process, as IM interviewed some 1,800 people all around the world. Interviewees were invited to share both their experiences of God at work in the world, and their hopes and dreams for the future of their own churches and ministries, and for the future of IM.
“The results of the widespread interviews,” commented IM Executive Director, the Rev. Dr. Reid Trulson,” reinforced IM’s unwavering invitation to know and follow Jesus Christ our Lord embodied in a wide range of holistic service, carried out in partnership with fellow servants of Christ everywhere.”
Supported by a global prayer network, the 26 members of a diverse Discernment Team studied, discussed and prayed together for God to speak to IM through the testimonies and hopes of the larger Body of Christ. The fruit of their efforts was distilled into a brief statement of vision, purpose, context, core values and ministry priorities entitled, “Responding to the Call.”
“We were inspired by deep discussions, energized by powerful stories about great moments in mission and renewed by the sense of belonging to each other and serving a common task as we wove our hopes and dreams about the future into a collective tapestry,” said Karen Smith, IM director of Mission Design and IM missionary, about the nature of the interviews and the discernment process.
The action of its governing Board launches IM into the second phase of the discernment process, during which Responding to the Call will be translated into specific objectives, concrete operational plans and tools for measuring progress on the ministry priorities of “Inviting People to Be Disciples of Jesus,” “Proclaiming God’s Reign of Justice, Peace and Abundant Life,” “Equipping the Body of Christ to Engage in God’s Mission,” and “Pursuing Organizational Excellence.” This crucial work of phase two will be carried out over the next nine months.
“These are days of great possibility for IM,” said Trulson. “I believe the Lord desires to accomplish many things for the Reign of God through IM and our worldwide partnership network.”
For additional information on Responding to the Call, visit www.internationalministries.org and click on “Responding to the Call.”
American Baptist International Ministries celebrated 200 years of ministry in 2014. IM was organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America. It began its pioneer mission work in Burma, (now called Myanmar) and today serves God through more than 1,800 short and long term global servants in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationships 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 USA 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.