Published December 30, 2010
DOUGLASVILLE – Wayne Bray and his congregation at Beulah Baptist Church have an unquestionable love for international missions.
• The church has partnerships with missionaries in Southeast Asia, Russia, Ukraine, Peru, and Honduras.
• Of those locations, members of the congregation take an average of four 17-hour trips a year to the remote area of Lampa, Peru, where there is no evangelical presence and where they have begun a church.
• An average of 15 percent of the church’s small group participants take part on international mission trips.
• The congregation is a longtime supporter of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions as well as giving 10 percent to the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
But with all of that energy being directed toward reaching the nations, Bray strongly supports the Executive Committee vote to create a study committee to examine future Cooperative Program allocations.
“My vote in support of the study committee is based largely on what I heard about the growing lostness of the state at our annual meeting last month in Albany. The Mission Georgia 2020 report really opened my eyes to how lost we are right here within our own borders,” he said.
Bray, who is serving on both the Executive Committee and the Administration Committee, has lived in Georgia since the age of 2 and has seen firsthand the growing lostness of the state.
The nations have come to Georgia
“There is no denying that Christ’s call on us is to reach the nations, but those nations have come to Georgia. To ignore the 70 percent of Georgians who are lost in order to shine the light of the Gospel beyond our front yard would be a tragedy,” he told The Index.
Bray defended his congregation as being “very much a foreign-missions supporting church, but I am acutely aware now of how lost our state really is. The Mission Georgia 2020 report brought that into sharp focus.
“The report did a wonderful job of detailing the demographic shift we are expecting in our state in the next 10 years. The bottom line is that we are fast becoming more urban and more racially diverse and we must have an evangelistic plan in place to meet those needs.
“We average 550 in Sunday worship attendance at our church and I see the growing ethnic diversity every month. In the context of Act 1:8, we are not just Jerusalem, we are also the ends of the earth.”
Bray said he was concerned that if the denomination becomes too focused on reaching the nations it could easily neglect the homeland. And, a strong Georgia will translate into stronger resources for the international field.
Referring to the adage, “The light that shines the farthest shines the brightest at home,” Bray added, “If you take the batteries out of the flashlight it won’t shine anymore.”
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