Lessons Learned

 I believe it would be fitting for me to share some personal thoughts and lessons learned from the opportunity our church, Vandalia Baptist Temple, recently had to host the World Baptist Fellowship Fall Meeting. The emphasis of this “semi-annual” meeting is always world missions, which is very close to my heart. My wife Megan and I accepted the opportunity with “fear and trembling,” and wanted to give our best for the Lord and His servants. We felt so inadequate, but trusted God to put people in place to help accomplish the task.

It was an overwhelming experience to see God at work. And that reminded me of some important truths:

  1. Planning is important, but God has to meet with us. We did our best to prepare and organize what we thought would be a blessing to God’s servants. Not everything came about the way we wanted or planned. But we knew that if anything of eternal value was to happen, God had to do it, and anoint every speaker, song and service with His Holy Spirit. I believe He did – to His glory!
  2. Prayer makes all the difference. If God has to meet with us and do a supernatural work, then we have to seek Him in prayer. Not just talk about it, but do it. Each service provided us the opportunity to pray over our pastors, college leaders, and missionaries. What a thrill to hear the voices of God’s servants joined in intercession! I believe God’s presence was tangible during those sacred moments.
  3. Teamwork is essential. I know the host pastor often gets much of the “thanks,” but an event like this is never the work of one person, just like every other ministry for the Lord. I could not have done it without my wife, our staff, and our amazing church family. But beyond that, we received constant encouragement, advice and assistance from our Mission Director and fellow pastors. Teamwork is indeed essential, and it is something which I believe God blesses.
  4. There is so much to be done. As I opened my heart and shared ideas for our fellowship to engage the next generation of missionaries, I seemed to have “hit a nerve” (in a positive sense). There is a growing sense of urgency to take whatever steps are necessary to be more effective in world evangelism and in reaching the next generation for Jesus Christ. We face many challenges as churches and as a fellowship, but God has not called us to a task for which He will not equip us. May we work together, pursue excellence, and focus on the cause which unites us all as Great Commission pastors, missionaries, and churches.

It was our honor to serve the World Baptist Fellowship through this meeting. The 26 missionary families and dozens of pastors who came were such an encouragement to our people. God even used this meeting to lead our congregation to its highest Faith Promise commitment in our church’s history! I appreciate every word and expression of gratitude and encouragement that we have since received. God has branded these truths on my heart, and for that I praise Him. Let us “SO RUN” (I Cor. 9:24).

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