The International Mission Board announced a new initiative to include more partners in the task of bringing the gospel to the nations through microevents sponsored by churches, associations and state conventions. These limited-capacity gatherings, the IMB noted, allow for close interaction between participants, IMB missionaries and staff.
The inaugural Together for the Nations event was hosted by Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma in Edmond on Oct. 11. While this event, which included around 200 attendees, was the first of its kind for IMB, the goal is to host four or five more regional microevents per year for the next three years.
Chris Derry, the IMB’s director of church and network mobilization, noted, “Our hope is to spend time in the backyards of missions leaders and influencers to find ways to partner in the Great Commission. That includes sharing about IMB strategies globally — the unique ways we are implementing the missionary task in different contexts to combat the world’s greatest problem.”
Last year, 592,408 people heard the gospel through IMB missionaries. Still, there’s work to be done. That’s why, “the IMB has a desire to spend time with missions leaders and influencers on their turfs,” Derry said.
In the subsequent microevents, more missions pastors and missions influencers around the nation are invited to gather to “hear the heartbeat” of IMB, the Southern Baptist mission entity said.
“The greatest problem in the world is lostness,” they noted. “The gospel is the solution to this problem. We, as Southern Baptists, must reach the nations, together. Gospel access that leads to gospel belief and gospel multiplication is only possible through steadfast missionary presence.”
Throughout this event, attendees learned specific ways they can be a part of the IMB’s Revelation 7:9 vision by attending Global Missions Focus breakouts where they had the opportunity to hear directly from IMB missionaries and other personnel. The theme of these events is “We’re better when we’re going.”
Those who felt called to take a next step toward serving with the IMB are provided resources and connected to do so by the end of the day’s events.
Amy Cordova walked into the one-day event with high expectations to learn how churches can come together and better learn how to engage with missionaries who are already serving overseas, she said.
The Oklahoma Baptist missions and women’s ministry partner wasn’t disappointed, IMB noted: “Not only did she walk away with that information, but she left better equipped with tangible ways to partner with IMB in praying, giving, going and sending.”
Cordova commented, “When we’re focused on the task that God has given us to reach the nations, together, there’s an eagerness and an excitement amongst our churches that is so inspiring and motivating to continue the work.”
Cordova, who is also a pastor’s wife of a small church plant, encourages churches of any size to attend future events. She believes participants will leave more prepared to partner with the IMB and ready to encourage missionaries who are on the field.
Joining the work
Mike Wall, Oklahoma Baptist’s missions consultant, was thankful for the opportunity to bring missions pastors and leaders across the state together to network. In addition, “my biggest takeaway was how God is at work and how there are pathways for us to join that work,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of buzz since then,” Wall said, noting that the churches he works with are ready to join in IMB’s work among the nations.
For pastors or a state convention leaders interested in hosting a Together for the Nations microevent, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the next event should be released early 2023 at IMB.org/events.