Mission Conferences: “Connections for a Lifetime”

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Marching for the Master

COLUMBIA, Md. — Missions was the focus for several of the BCM/D churches during the month of March. This was true for Colonial Baptist Church (CBC), Randallstown, Manchester Baptist Church (MBC), and New Song Bible Fellowship (NSBC) Lanham.

Colonial hosted their 25th Missions Conference on March 8-10; Manchester held their second Missions Focus Day on March 16 and New Song Bible Fellowship celebrated their 33rd conference on March 20.   

Mission conferences create a renewed fire for attendees and the missionaries. Cecil Cunigan, who serves on CBC‘s missions committee, explained, “Mission conferences lead to connections that last a lifetime.”

This year, these conferences coincided with the Annual Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, which goes to the North American Mission Board (NAMB), to support missionaries throughout North America and U.S. Territories.

David Liebman, Jews for Jesus, delivered the keynote address at New Song Bible Fellowship’s Mission Fair. (Photo by John Butler)

​Each of these three churches followed different methods, but the principles were the same — increasing awareness of missions near and far and reminding everyone that the Great Commission is for all followers of Jesus.

Colonial’s and New Song’s times of worship music were inspiring and filled with enthusiasm. Both worship teams helped all to tune their hearts and prepare for God’s messages and challenges presented by the missionary speakers.

New Song Bible Fellowship Church’s 33rd Annual Missions Conference (Psalm 96:1-3)
The theme of New Song’s conference, “Proclaiming the Good News Everyday, Everywhere and to Everyone, So That All May Know Jesus,” was in the spotlight early during Saturday’s morning session as David Liebman with Jews for Jesus brought the message of “Evangelizing the Jewish Community,” with a challenge from Ezekiel 37.

Liebman, who works with the orthodox Jewish community in New York, stated, ‘When thinking and praying for missions, do not let myopia set in. Yes, we need to think globally, but never let that focus make us forget locally.”

Senior Pastor Bernard Fuller commented that one value of a missions conference is to remind people to “Work locally, but think globally.”

Other presentations during the day were by Missionary Joe Dine, Bridging the Nations; and Missionary John Seaton, a missionary with Biblical Military Ministries; a YWAM and a Youth Session led by YWAM Missionaries Tim and Corrin Brown, including a gospel skit by the Brown family.

The conference closed during the Sunday service with a procession of flags, introduction of missionaries, pastoral reflections, and ministry of the word by Missionary Mark Trostle, Bible Translation Association in Papua New Guinea. (PNG language).

Colonial Baptist Church’s 25th Annual Missions Conference, “A Heart for the Harvest” (Matt. 9:38)
At Colonial Church, the Saturday session was capped with a unique opportunity for all. Having heard from the various missionaries throughout the day, attendees were given the opportunity to gather around individual missionaries and pray for them. The missionaries, in turn, prayed for all in attendance, and attendees shared that this made for a very personal connection.

Doug Martin explains some of the ways that ABWE partners in missions with churches and individuals. Photo by John Butler)

There was a mix of local and international missions represented at the event, including representation from AWANA, YWAM, Essential Piece Ministries International, Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE), Ambassadors Fellowship International, Children’s Bible Ministry of Maryland, Open Air Campaigners, Compass (finances God’s way,) and several others.

Pastor Kieffer Bent of Berwyn Baptist Church, College Park, and co-founder of Essential Piece Ministries International, also delivered a challenge to fulfill the Great Commission. Essential Piece trains believers on how to share their faith. Bent stated, “We are responsible right here and right now because the power of God is practical and is available to all who personally know Christ.” He further stated, “Matthew 28:18-20 is the game plan from the Master! It is yours take it and go make disciples!” Bent also reminded, “In order to witness, we must find our place in truth, not rewrite it. Truth is a person who took on reality in front of us,” he said, referencing John 14:6.

Doug Martin, vice president of strategic initiatives with ABWE, and his wife, Sharon, ABWE administrative assistant, brought the message about witnessing on a personal level with an interactive workshop that included a self-assessment of “8 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelizers.” At the close of their workshop, Doug challenged attendees to participate in a 14-day prayer challenge, which tied right into the conference theme and Matthew 9:38: “Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Robert J. Anderson, the senior pastor of Colonial Baptist Church, stated that his desire is to see every Colonial Baptist member participate in a short-term mission trip. He said, “It may be only a few blocks down the road, but I want to see everyone be active in missions.”

Manchester Baptist Church’s Second Annual Missions Conference “Share the Gospel” (Mark 16:15)
Manchester Baptist Church, the newcomer to having a missions conference, held a Saturday event that included a general session where missionaries and groups were introduced to all attending along with video updates from Ben and Judy Armacost, International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries serving in South London, UK.

David Scafide, pastor of Manchester Baptist Church, welcomes visitors to Manchester Baptist Church’s missions event. (Photo by John Butler)

Micah and Emily Griffith, along with Nick and Jillian Toothman, gave an update on Team Poland’s ministry. Team Poland is supported through ABWE. Nick, a Team Poland member, relayed how privileged the team is to serve with the church in fulfilling the Great Commission. He also reminded attendees, “The word ‘go’ in Matthew 28:19 means, ‘as you go,’ make disciples.”

Joel Kurz, the pastor of The Garden Church, Baltimore, and director of ONE HOPE, a ministry of The Garden Church, brought the keynote message from Romans 1:16 exhorting all to not be ashamed of the gospel.

Following the general session, attendees visited each exhibit, asking groups for at least one specific prayer request. The requests were compiled to be used to pray individually and corporately for the ministries.

MBC members provided a fellowship dinner at the end of the day, giving additional time for fellowship, one-on-one sharing, and learning about the ministries. Representatives from Colonial Baptist Church attended Manchester Baptist Church in support of the conference.

Ron McGee, a Manchester Church Deacon, said, “We owe a great deal to Colonial Baptist for supporting us with their attendance, coaching us with ideas, and helping us make additional contacts.”

Manchester Pastor David Scafide stated, “Conferences like this help us to look at new opportunities of ministry here in our own community and out to the world. Giving our congregation a full understanding of everyone’s part in evangelizing and making disciples.”

March Conferences – A Heart for the Harvest, Speak the Gospel, Everyday to Everyone
All three churches feature local, national, and international missions. Each conference, however, had their own uniqueness, just as John Seaton, Biblical Military Ministries, referenced a Warren Wiersbe quote, “Methods are many, principles are few; methods often change, but principles never do.” This held true for each of these conferences, which all focused on taking the gospel to the local community and beyond. Each church was “Marching to the Master’s Command,” with different formats and themes, but staying true to the principles of the Great Commission.

John Butler, freelance writer and deacon, Manchester Baptist Church, Manchester, MD

Feature photo: Pastor Kieffer Bent, pastor of Berwyn Baptist Church and co-founder of Essential Piece Ministries International, talks with Marcia Clarke-Burke, who serves on the missions committee at Colonial Baptist Church. (Photo by John Butler)