WINTER HAVEN, Fla.—Faith Baptist Church held its annual missions conference using the theme “What is that in your hand?” taken from Exodus 4:2.
Col. John Murdoch, director of Regular Baptist Chaplaincy Ministries, opened the conference on a Friday night by preaching from Exodus 3 and 4. He pointed out how the shepherd’s rod that Moses had in his hand (4:2) became “the rod of God” (4:20). He challenged everyone to use for God whatever He has placed in their hands.
The next day the church hosted a breakfast and round robin, when participants fellowshipped with the missionaries and heard reports from them: Jim Blizzard (Child Evangelism Fellowship), John and Hope Murdoch, and Curt and Bonnie Jones (ABWE).
Sunday morning, the Sunday School hour featured a report from Chris and Diane Marine, whom the church has supported for many years. After the mission board they were serving with closed its doors, Faith Baptist Mission, a ministry of the church, took them on. Now Chris serves as West Africa field administer for the new mission agency.
Dr. Jim Jeffery, president of Baptist Bible College and Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pa., preached “Training Up Timothys” during the morning service. He defined missions as “the extension of Christ’s redemptive mandate in this world.” He said, “The work of the church today is to extend that message to the entire world.” He challenged guests, “If you call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ and you are not in some way involved in fulfilling that mandate [Acts 1:8], then you’re totally missing what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.”
The closing service on Sunday evening featured a question-and-answer session with the missionaries, led by Associate Pastor Peter Brock. The congregation learned what Scripture verse or passage has most impacted each missionary’s life (the book of Romans won), what each one enjoys most about ministry (people), and the biggest discouragement they face daily in ministry (various answers). Curt Jones and John Murdoch told how God led them from the pastorate into their current ministries, and several shared stories of how they personally have seen the gospel change a life.
The conference included the kids too. On Friday night, Helen VanHorn shared an object lesson using 25 pairs of gloves. She pointed out that a glove has no value until someone puts it on. She encouraged the children to put themselves into the things that interest them, and use them for God. The next day the kids enjoyed skits and singing as well as their own round robin. Three classrooms were decorated to match the missionaries’ countries, while a teacher taught about each missionary’s ministry.
Pastor Brock, who heads up the church’s missions ministries, says he believes the conference reached the goal of encouraging people to use their gifts to minister the gospel in local areas and around the world.