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The Open Door


I am deeply honored to have been invited to have a part on the program of the North American Mission Boardís Missionary Commissioning Celebration to be held at First Baptist Church of Rincon, Georgia. The date for the commissioning service will pass before you receive this edition of The Index. Dr. Bob Rogers serves as pastor at Rincon First Baptist and has also served as a faithful and supportive member of the Board of Trustees at NAMB.

First Baptist Rincon is an exciting church with a missionary heart. I cannot imagine a finer location for the commissioning service.

Dr. Geoff Hammond, president of the North American Mission Board, extended the invitation and I sincerely appreciate the opportunity. When we think about missions, our minds often go to the international mission fields across the world. How thankful we are for our international missionaries. They do incredible work for the Lord and His Kingdom.

Perhaps we need to be reminded that a lost person here in the states is just as lost as a person in Africa, Germany, or the Netherlands. In fact, you and I are sitting in the middle of a vast mission field called the United States of America. Right here in our own state, it has been estimated that between 70% and 80% are lost and unaffiliated with any church. Indeed, from recent studies we have become aware that inside the I-285 corridor in downtown Atlanta, where 800,000 people live, our population is 90% unchurched.

A vast majority of these folks are in their 20ís and 30ís. The North American Mission Board has agreed to help us reach them with the Good News through the Atlanta Impact Initiative over the next several years. This is merely one example of a huge pocket of unchurched people that fill our cities and suburbs.

On Sunday evening, February 22, at 6 P.M. we will be commissioning between 90 and 100 new Southern Baptist missionaries who have sensed the call of God to reach America for Christ. I invite you to join me in praying for them as they go to work in the fields.

Jesus reminded us that the fields are ready to harvest, but the laborers are few. Perhaps you will be willing to join these laborers to make a difference in the harvest in your community, around your church, and in your neighborhood. You can also have an impact by supporting these missionaries and their work through the Cooperative Program and through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

I have been encouraged in recent years to see this offering on the rise as the people in our congregations understand the vastness of the need to reach our own homeland. Because of the generosity of Georgia Baptists supporting missions through the Cooperative Program, you are able to provide significant resources being used by the North American Mission Board to strengthen missions and evangelism in our pioneer state conventions and fellowships throughout the United States.

Often the executive directors of these smaller but highly strategic state conventions thank me for your faithfulness in giving, citing the fact that they would be unable to accomplish ministry in their states without Cooperative Program support that comes to them through NAMB and supplied by the older and larger state conventions. I consistently assure them that it is a great joy for Georgia Baptists to be able to have such a significant role in blessing their ministries. What you are accomplishing through the Cooperative Program is quite possibly one of the finest things that you are doing to reach our own nation for Jesus Christ.

Letís join together to make up a mighty army of Georgia Baptist prayer warriors with the commitment to pray for revival in America and to lift up in prayer our North American Mission Board missionaries.