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Russian missions part of Executive Committee report


DULUTH — The GBC Executive Committee approved the re-election of Jerry Speer, pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Columbus, as chairman and Fred Evers of Northside Baptist Church in Tifton as vice chairman Dec.16.

Jay Moore, pastor of Jefferson Street Baptist Church in Dublin and chairman of the State Missions Budget Committee, presented the 2009 State Missions budget of $15,913,293, which was adopted without opposition.

The State Missions Budget, representing just over 32 percent of the total GBC budget, funds all evangelism ministries, language missions, new church development efforts, collegiate ministries, and a myriad of other ministries and services designed to fulfill the Great Commission in the state’s Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.

In another action Administration Committee member Wayne Marcus, pastor of Toms Creek Baptist Church in Martin, recommended that the line of credit for Truett-McConnell College be increased from $1.5 million to $2.5 million. The motion was approved without opposition.

John Waters, pastor of First Baptist Church in Statesboro and chairman of the Committee on Committees, nominated Wayne Marcus and Wayne Hamrick, evangelist and member of Prays Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, to be on the Administration Committee. He also nominated Jay Moore and Terry Quick, pastor of Sandy Springs First Baptist Church, to serve on the Board of Directors of The Christian Index and Dannie Williams, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lyons, and Phill Bettis, an attorney from Longstreet Baptist Church in Cumming, to be trustees for the Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation. All of the nominations were approved.

In the address of the Executive Director, J. Robert White mentioned that Cooperative Program gifts at the end of November were 2.8 percent behind the CP receipts in November of 2007.

White also reported on a recent trip he, GBC Music and Worship Ministries specialist Jon Duncan, and GBC Mission Volunteers specialist Michael Gravette had made to Russia. He indicated that the six-year partnership with Moldova would end this month and consideration was being given to a partnership with Russia, focusing primarily on the two major cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The missionary scouting team from Georgia met with Rhenn Cherry, the International Mission Board strategy coordinator for Moscow, and heard his deep desire to see reproducing churches planted within the ten districts of the Moscow metropolis of 15 million people.

White commented, “If all Southern Baptists could sit down with our missionaries and worship with them, feel their heartthrob for God to move, realize the lostness of the masses of people, and understand their deep sense of purpose and mission, it would give all of us a new passion for Christ and the whole missionary enterprise.

“We have Georgia Baptist missionaries over there – people like Buck and Leslie Burch of Eastman, who live in very small apartments in huge apartment complexes occupied primarily by Russian families. They have given up the comforts of life as we know them in America to serve in a difficult place.

“We rode on the subway in Moscow,” White testified. “Ten million people must ride the subway daily. It was unbelievably crowded. I felt uncomfortable when my personal space was invaded, but I immediately sensed the despair and lostness in the faces of those beautiful people. I want them to know Jesus, and I believe Georgia Baptists will help them form a strategy for reaching Moscow for Christ.

“In fact, Mike Williams, our assistant executive director, will be going to Moscow [this}month to meet with our missionaries in Russia to help them develop a plan for evangelizing the lost and planting churches.”

White explained that the Russian Orthodox Church has not been friendly toward evangelical Christianity. In fact when Central Baptist Church in St. Petersburg began to grow and flourish the Orthodox Church petitioned the city fathers and basically confiscated their property. The large Baptist fellowship relocated their church with a sweet and peaceable spirit. The area to which the Baptist church had relocated began to grow and once again the church began to increase and prosper.

The Russian Orthodox Church became envious of the success the Baptists were having and sued the church for their property, but the Russian Court did something almost unheard of and ruled in favor of Central Baptist Church. White stated that God is working in these two major cities in Russia and we have an opportunity to join Him in His great work in Moscow and St Petersburg.

It appears that a recommendation to develop a partnership with these Russian cities looms on the immediate horizon.