World Missions Week emphasizes serving, trusting Godby C. Walter Overman
The call to missions is a call to follow God, trusting that He will work through the brokenness and fears of His people, so that His glory will shine to all the earth. It’s a call to trust God’s promise that wherever believers go, He is with them every step of the way.
“When God calls us to serve there will be moments that are bigger than us,” said David Nasser, pastor of Christ City Church in Birmingham, Ala. “But then God has the audacity to say, ‘Do not fear for I am with you.’”
Nasser said that God’s promises can be trusted, for they are fundamentally different from worldly promises.
“Everyone in this room has been told promises that never came about,” Nasser said. “This one is going to come about because God never writes a check that bounces. God never makes a promise that he can’t cash later. This is a God-sized promise.”
Nasser spoke during World Missions Week, held recently at The North Carolina Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell. The annual event, sponsored by NC Baptist Men, is a weeklong camp that offers programming for all age groups from pre-school to adults. Each day campers heard testimonies from missionaries, participated in small group Bible studies, and attended morning and evening celebratory worship events. Nasser served as camp pastor during the week.
The theme for this year’s camp was “Glory Revealed,” based on Isaiah 40:5.
“The focus is missions,” said Richard Brunson, NC Baptist Men executive-director. “We want those who are here to learn about missions and we want to challenge them to embrace God’s call on their lives to serve as missionaries wherever they are in life.”
The camp was held in conjunction with Deep Impact, a youth mission camp that involves youth in service projects such as construction, Vacation Bible School, prayer walking, senior adult ministry and community outreach projects. More than 950 children, youth, and adults attended the two camps.
Participants from each camp joined in the morning and evening worship events, where they heard challenging messages from Nasser. By the end of the week, the two camps recorded 45 decisions to receive Christ, 65 rededications, and five calls to vocational ministry.
Speaking from Isaiah 41:9-10, Nasser said that God’s glory is revealed when believers live confidently in his promises, including the promise to call and equip believers to serve.
“God does not call us because we are awesome,” he said.“God knows every failure you ever committed. God knows every failure you will ever commit and yet he says, ‘I’m calling you.’”
Unlike the way the world works, God elevates believers to a higher calling based on the performance of someone else, the finished work of Jesus Christ, which removes all doubts and fears from the call to serve.
“In this world you get chosen by your performance. In God’s economy you are chosen by Jesus’ performance,” Nasser said. “If that doesn’t give you hope nothing ever will.”
Rely on God
Donnie Strader, a bivocational pastor from Greensboro, led a daily small group study of high school sophomores and juniors. He challenged students to rely on God’s promises, in both the good times and the bad times.
“We all have a lot of different things going on in life. If you are in a difficult situation, learn to lean on God,” he said. “Sometimes things don’t work out the way we want. But God has a purpose and a plan.”
Strader, who left seminary to pursue a secular career one semester shy of graduation from seminary, understands that principal more than most.
“I chose not to continue the path God was choosing for me, so I took a detour,” he said.
But God’s plan for Strader included ministry all along. A few years after leaving school, a seminary friend asked Strader to serve as the interim youth pastor at his church. Strader accepted, and served as the youth pastor for 10 years until he became the senior pastor at the Grove Church in Greensboro three years ago.
“How it worked out was perfect and it just shows that God is in control,” he said.
Though God is sovereign, he stressed how important it was for him to obey when God called him to ministry a second time.
“God wants us to trust and obey so that our relationship can grow in love and he wants us to fear him so his glory will be revealed,” he said.
Strader and his wife, Michelle, have served at World Missions Week every summer for more than a decade. He is passionate about leading youth to pursue Christ with passion and conviction.
“These kids are the church of tomorrow, they’re our future and instead of them relying on the world I would like for them to rely on God,” he said.
He said every year he can see God moving through World Missions Week to draw students to missions. It’s that experience that draws him back year after year.
“I’ve seen kids that we have taught in classes who are now teaching classes, or they are now working as youth group leaders. It’s been really cool watching them grow,” he said. “It’s nothing that we have done; it’s that we get to see God’s work in it. It’s been an awesome experience for us.”
For more information about World Missions Week, visit www.baptistsonmission.org.