November 2023 Mind of the Missionary

“The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are Co-Workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (I Corinthians 3:8-9)

The Alabama State Convention is commemorating its 200 year celebration at FBC Montgomery on November 14-15. It was founded on October 28-29, 1823 at Salem Church near Greensboro by 7 missionary societies for the purpose of promoting missions, education, and closer cooperation among the Baptist churches of Alabama. Some might say, “So what? What does that have to do with my local church, Brother Lyle?” Well, it has a lot to do with your local church because you have chosen as a congregation some time in your past to be a member of this Alabama State Convention. Yes, some of these primary purposes have been expanded to meet the different needs of our churches over these  200 years, but Alabama’s love for missions, evangelism, education, and cooperation has not changed.

Not being a Southern Baptist by birth, I chose to become a Southern Baptist for these and many other reasons. I was moved and still moved today by our statement on Cooperation as written in the “Baptist Faith and Message” 2000 statement: “Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have NO authority over one another or over the churches. They are VOLUNTARY…to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner.” Wow, what a mouthful, but it basically says that we, the local churches, have chosen to work together, cooperate, to further God’s Kingdom. PTL! Isn’t that what we desire?

It is impossible for one church no matter its size to accomplish all the purposes of the Kingdom. We need one another from the smallest to the largest. In Pickens County, there isn’t that great disparity of size as there is in many urban and suburban areas, but there are some larger than others. Rather than a church going off and doing its own thing, these larger churches should/must help supply resources to our smaller, needier congregations. However, both at times are too prideful. Too prideful to give help or to prideful to  receive help. Brothers and sisters, as Paul wrote, “we are Co-Workers in God’s service;…” This isn’t a competition, it is a mission with one purpose “to seek and to save the Lost”, which is Christ’s purpose. Let’s be about the task of cooperating to finish the purpose that Jesus left for us.

Until Next Month,

Bro. Lyle