IMB explores evangelism with international groups
Baptist Press
August 19, 2010

IMB explores evangelism with international groups

IMB explores evangelism with international groups
Baptist Press
August 19, 2010

PRAGUE — “We thought this

would take years to develop, this concept of the internationalization of

missions,” said Gordon Fort, vice president of the International Mission Board’s

(IMB) office of global strategy. But it’s apparent “that God has already been

doing stuff that we had no idea about,” Fort said, “and we’re just beginning to

get in on it.”

Fort spoke of the

internationalization of missions — Christians all over the globe sending their

own missionaries into other countries to share the Gospel — at the European

National Partners in Mission Sending Consultation in Prague, Czech Republic,

earlier this summer.

Leaders from the

International Mission Board joined missionary-sending organizations from

Romania, Germany and Panama. Also participating in the discussions on global

evangelization were representatives from the College of Theology and Education

in Moldova and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

IMB photo

Mark Edworthy, strategist for the International Mission Board’s European Peoples Affinity Group, addresses a meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, in which Baptists from several countries explored the internationalization of missions.

During the conference,

leaders forged partnerships and shared their struggles and victories in sending

cross-cultural missionaries — people from all nations, to all nations to share


Those from Central and

Eastern Europe spoke about their struggles with churches that still operate

under a communist-era mentality. Some shared stories of traveling to more than

300 churches, urging pastors to embrace a focus on missions. Others emphasized

the urgency of sending missionaries to unreached people groups in Central and

South Asia. The leaders shared ideas and needs, pinpointing ways they could

assist each other.

“When I see the pictures and

I hear the testimonies, I know that we are sharing lots of things, even though

we are so far (away from one another) and have different contexts,” said Carlos

Gomez, leader of PAAM, a Panamanian missions organization. “We have the same

challenges. We find problems with money issues (and) churches with no

missionary culture. But overall the main challenge we have is to go back to the

Word of God. What were we created for?”

While these international

missionary-sending organizations are growing, sending dozens of cross-cultural

missionaries annually, they are still relatively young. Throughout the meeting,

the 164-year-old IMB provided insight on evangelical strategy, missionary

training and equipping.

“This might be the greatest

contribution the IMB can make to global evangelization — more than anything we’ve

ever done,” Fort said.

IMB strategist Scott Holste

shared research showing missions leaders the urgency of sending missionaries to

countries without any evangelical presence.

“If you take all the

missionaries in the world … only three out of 100 are working with these

least reached people groups of the world … so we’ve got to partner together,”

Holste said. “We’ve got to get the whole church involved.”

Fort said, “We have sensed that God is really

stirring the church locally in this generation. And we have felt that perhaps

the greatest contribution we can make to global evangelization is making it

possible for those last peoples who have not heard.”