Your Giving Is Part of the Harvest
“If the goal of a mission is to plant churches, it won’t last,” says Larry Bailey, missions pastor at Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ark. “The priority must be making disciples. It’s a slow process, but it’s worth it. It takes a minimum of five years to support it, but it will be successful.”
That’s precisely the goal of the Arkansas Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Program (CP). When Southern Baptists in Arkansas give their tithes, part of their gift goes to the Cooperative Program which directly helps make disciples in areas like Seattle, Chicago, and Denver that have high concentrations of unchurched Americans.
“We’ve got to get out of the church and get with the people at places where they like to gather,” Larry says. “That’s what Jesus did. Not to be a part of the world, but to get out there and bring them the Good News.”
A good example of this kind of ministry is CBC’s missionary Andy Brown in Seattle, Wash., where he is planting The Landing Church and establishing SALT, a ministry for the homeless. While Andy admits that the ministry in this area is slow, the roots are going deep, and the Browns are beginning to see fruit.
Many of CBC’s members have had the privilege of planting seeds with Andy in Seattle through short-term missions trips. Robin Gillum was one who volunteered with the homeless, but her greatest ministry moment happened in the grocery store, where she went to pick up some items for SALT. “Andy told us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and keep our eyes open for people who might need ministry. He told us just to listen to their story and ask if we could pray for them,” Robin says. As she looked around for the items on her list, she saw a woman who looked sad and asked if she could pray with her.
The woman immediately started crying and said, “I saw your face, and I knew you had something for me today.” She had recently moved to the area and was struggling, so Robin told her about the church and was able to get her connected to Andy for follow up.
Katie Hurst was another short-term missionary from CBC to Seattle who served in the school for community service. Katie was assigned to help in the classroom of a third-grade teacher who was clearly not a believer and not interested in hearing about the ministry, the church, or anything spiritual. So Katie graciously worked and completed a very long list of tasks and most importantly prayed silently in the back of the classroom during the teaching sessions.
At the end of the day, Katie encouraged the teacher, telling her how much she admired her teaching style. “I loved watching how you interacted with the kids,” Katie told her. The teacher’s eyes filled up with tears. “No one has ever talked to me like that before,” she replied.
“We got to plant seeds,” Katie says. “The people that have come to Andy’s ministry since our trip could have been those we talked with.”
Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not grow wearing in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Every single dollar given to a local Southern Baptist church which participates in the Cooperative Program is planting seeds for the Gospel. The results aren’t going to be immediate, but they will be everlasting.
Missionaries like Andy Brown and The Landing Church couldn’t survive without the help of the Cooperative Program, and the CP can’t continue without faithful giving. Everything given, no matter how small, is another seed planted for the Gospel. Every Arkansas Baptist can be a part of the harvest!