North Carolina Baptists continue to be “Known by Love” throughout its many mission endeavors.
BR photo by Steve Cooke
“The Great Commission is for every believer equally,” said D.A. Horton, pastor of Reach Fellowship in Long Beach, Calif., to the N.C. Missions Conference April 5 at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte.
Baptists on Mission (NCBM) executive director-treasurer Richard Brunson thanked participants of the April 6-7 NCBM Missions Conference for their work and urged them to stay committed for the long haul of Hurricane Florence recovery efforts.
“You’re known by the great love of Jesus,” Brunson said. With 18 different ministries, NCBM offers many opportunities to share God’s love with our neighbors.
“I know it was in the power of God and the obedience of the people of North Carolina,” said Pastor Jason Burden of First Baptist Church in Nederland, Texas.
N.C. Baptists responded there after Hurricane Harvey. In the days after the hurricane to the time he appeared at the missions conference, Burden said 99 people joined his church, many by profession of faith and baptism.
Laura Story, senior worship leader for Perimeter Church in Johns Creek, Ga., provided the music for the two-day event, which started with a volunteer supper and included breakout sessions on a variety of topics. Several main speakers rounded out the schedule: Tom Richter, D.A. Horton, Jennifer Rothschild, Bryan Loritts, Karen Kingsbury and Bob Goff.
Richter, pastor of First Baptist Church in Cullman, Ala., walked participants through John 21 when Jesus meets the disciples on the shore to fish.
“He sent those fishermen out to fish, and He didn’t even need the fish,” Richter said. “When the smoke clears … He could do all this without us.”
Richter urged believers to follow Jesus every day.
“God’s call on your life comes regardless of your past,” he said. “The call comes regardless of the cost.”
Horton, pastor of Reach Fellowship of Long Beach, Calif., said he respected the faithfulness of N.C. Baptists’ work.
“The Great Commission is for every believer equally,” Horton said. “The reality is some things are worth dying for; Jesus made peace. A peacemaker does not sit in a place of peace they run toward the tension and work toward reconciliation.”
Horton stressed that our preferences need to die.
“The perfect life of our Savior covers us,” he said. “May we tear down the dividing walls of hostility. Let Jesus destroy those walls.”
After sharing a couple of stories about not allowing her blindness to keep her from trying new things, Rothschild, an author and speaker, said, “We need to be granted the strength to say, ‘I can.’ Saying ‘I can’ is my response to His ability.”
Loritts, lead pastor of Abundant Life Church in Silicon Valley, Calif., shared Revelation 2 saying the church in Ephesus had abandoned its first love.
“He’s dealing with the idolatry of ministry,” Loritts said, even though the members worked hard.
“Jesus not being first is sin. Something becomes precious to you when you treat it as precious.
“Buy the flowers, write the note, plan a weekend excursion,” Loritts said of his relationship with his wife. “Even when she doesn’t feel precious, when you treat her as precious the feelings will come.”
Best-selling novelist Karen Kingsbury shared about her father’s belief in her writing, even at a young age.
“My dad was always such a big supporter,” she said. “You’re writing a bestseller with the days of your life. Make it about the Messiah.”
God calls His people to be on mission every day, she said.
“If we are on mission, we will see the miraculous,” Kingsbury said.
Bob Goff, author of Love Does, encouraged loving people.
“We don’t need any more programs,” he said. “It will never be about Jesus if I make it about me.”
He questioned their motivation for ministry.
“Are we doing it for the applause?” he asked. “If we are doing it for the applause, join the circus. Satan doesn’t need to destroy us; he just needs to distract us.”
Goff urged N.C. Baptists to love people well.
“Love people without an agenda,” he said. “His biggest mission is that you would be His and He would be yours.”
Asatur Nahapetyan, general secretary for Armenian Baptists, presented Brunson with a plaque recognizing him and North Carolina Baptists for their work in his country.
Brunson presented Bobby and Wanda Temple with the volunteer of the year award. Currently, the couple serves in Puerto Rico.
They are members of Fellowship Baptist Church in Creedmoor.