By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Staff Correspondent
COLUMBIA, Md.—First Church, Laurel, may sound a little like the upper room at Pentecost next month, filled with the sound of people with different languages raising their voices in unison to praise God when the church hosts the first Mosaic Language Regional Conference. The event will be Friday evening, April 3 and Saturday, April 4 with a grand language music celebration at Global Mission Church on Sunday, April 5. “Growing the church; Growing the kingdom” is the theme. The keynote speaker will be Daniel Sanchez, professor of missions, and director of the Scarborough Institute for Church Growth, and chairperson of the Missions Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Sanchez speaks internationally about language missions. He served as a missionary to the Republic of Panama, has served the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in various missions capacities and has personally started churches and supervised more than 60 church starts.
Friday will be a kickoff with dinner, worship, an introduction of speakers and an opportunity to peruse the information booths including the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D), the International Mission Board, LifeWay and other SBC agencies.
Mosaic is the first conference of this kind for BCM/D and Rolando Castro, BCM/D language churches missionary, is excited. The primary purpose for the conference is to foster a sense of the need for language churches to grow.
“We don’t have large churches, only two or three in an area where language groups are huge,” Castro explained. “We’re doing something wrong.”
Part of helping churches grow, Castro said, is resourcing them. That’s another component of the conference—showing pastors the resources available to them.
“We want language churches to know what we are offering. At this time, there is a huge lack of information on how BCM/D can help language churches. They don’t see us as resource people working for them,” Castro said.
On Saturday, there will be five different sessions each presented in different languages—Chinese, Spanish, Korean and Filipino and English.
Speakers for each language group are: Daniel Sanchez, keynote and Hispanic speaker; Jerry Sin, Chinese speaker, church planting group, North American Mission Board; Jason Kim, Korean speaker, multi-ethnic evangelism coordinator, PeopleGroup/Interfaith evangelism team, NAMB; Ralph Garay, Filipino speaker, senior consultant-Asian church planting, church planting & mission development department, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Also speakers from the LifeWay’s Multi-ethnic Church Support Department will be giving a conference in two separated rooms in Spanish and English for all attendants.
The conference is for all evangelical language churches, whether they are Southern Baptist or not. The cost is $25 if they are a member of the BCM/D and $45 if not. For more information, see http://www.bcmd.org/mosaic0409.