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The Open Door


In SBC LIFE, the journal of the Southern Baptist Convention, Summer 2014 edition it is announced that at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore this week SBC Executive Committee President, Dr. Frank S. Page, will issue a challenge to Southern Baptists to “do more” to reach the world with the Gospel. This challenge to “do more,” is the theme of the vision Frank Page will share for what he is calling the “Great Commission Advance.”

This vision is a great vision and I commend Dr. Page for his leadership. The world, the nation, and our state are in a desperate spiritual condition. We need a worldwide movement of God to bring about global spiritual revival.

When you think about it, anybody can do more. Regardless of the level of your involvement in the Great Commission every last single one of us can do more than we are currently doing to reach the world for Jesus Christ. The need for the Gospel is visible everywhere.

Certainly, in our own state of Georgia, the need for the Gospel is expressed in the lostness of our state. At least 70 percent, and in some places as high as 95 percent, of our population has never experienced the joy of transformation through Jesus Christ, the incredible experience of having one’s sins forgiven and receiving the gift of eternal life that is extended through the grace of God.

When it comes to sharing a witness about Jesus Christ with those who are lost, the silence is deafening. Here’s an example: One of our fine state missionaries was telling me last week that his daughter, who is studying at Duke University this summer, was in a cab in Durham, North Carolina. The cab driver was a Muslim.

Very forthrightly and with deep compassion she shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the driver. He thanked her for what she shared with him about Jesus and then said, “You are the first Christian who has said anything about this to me. It is the first time that I have heard this about Jesus.”

We are not talking about a city in some foreign land; this was Durham, North Carolina where there is an abundance of Christians. No one had ever shared with him the Gospel.

It happens in Georgia as well. Dr. John Waters shared with me about a young lady in his church at First Baptist Church Statesboro who came to Georgia Southern for her collegiate studies. It was there through the witness of First Baptist that she heard the Gospel. She said, “No one has ever told me this before.”

What is true in Georgia is also true across North America and around the world. People need the Lord and we hold in our hearts the message that can make them “free indeed.”

The silence of believers in Christ is remarkable. So many are lost. So many need Jesus Christ as their Savior, and yet we remain silent about Jesus as the only way of salvation. When you consider the “Great Commission Advance,” I encourage you to remember that Georgia is a part of the Great Commission and is, indeed, a great mission field. Each one of us can do more.

What is true in Georgia is also true across North America and around the world. People need the Lord and we hold in our hearts the message that can make them “free indeed.”

On Tuesday afternoon in his Executive Committee report at the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Page encouraged Southern Baptists to do more in their support of missions through the Cooperative Program. He cites the fact that Dr. Tom Elliff, president of the International Mission Board, has declared the need for 7,000 international missionaries in order to reach the unreached internationally. Dr. Kevin Ezell has a vision of planting 15,000 churches in ten years.

These massive visions require the faithfulness of God’s people. Surely, Dr. Page is absolutely right in suggesting that we can all “do more.”

Take the Cooperative Program as an example. If Southern Baptist churches would increase their gifts to missions through the Cooperative Program by just one percent, that’s 1%, we would receive through the Cooperative Program $100 million more to support our Great Commission work.

Just think of that! Imagine what Southern Baptist ministries from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and to the uttermost would look like if our churches, grasping the concept that we can do more together than we can individually, would increase their gifts to missions through the Cooperative Program by just one percent. The results would be remarkable.

In the SBC LIFE article, Dr. Page stated, “If church Cooper-ative Program giving returned to an average of 10% as it was in the past, Cooperative Program receipts would be close to $1 billion, providing a platform for the most aggressive missions enterprise in the history of Christendom.”

He is absolutely right. The truth is, we can do that. How is it that we can do that? We can all “do more.”

At the heart of doing more for the Great Commission is the matter of personal stewardship. We can all do more through the giving of our tithes and offerings. When you do more in your personal stewardship there is a glorious ripple effect that touches the entirety of the Great Commission mission field.

My personal commitment is to do more for the Great Commission than ever before. I hope you will join me. Multitudes are lost without Christ. The spiritual needs worldwide are desperate. The time is short. Let’s do more!