2014 Missions Conference: For the glory of His nameby Marty Simpkins
The 2014 North Carolina Baptist Missions Conference was held at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., on March 21-22. The conference theme was “For the Glory of His Name” and was based on Romans 11:36, which reads, “For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen!”
The Missions Conference focused on giving God glory through the various missions and ministry efforts of North Carolina Baptists in North Carolina and throughout the world.
Richard Brunson, the executive director-treasurer for NCBM, explained how God is given glory through the acts of service of believers.
“Our greatest prayer,” Brunson said, “is to ask, ‘God, what do You want to do in my life and how do you want to use me to serve You?’”
Throughout the conference, numerous volunteers spoke about their efforts in the past year on the mission fields where NCBM is at work. Volunteers promoted ministries in Kenya, Cuba, Guatemala, Romania, and the mission camps in Shelby and Red Springs, N.C.
Anne Graham Lotz, Billy Graham’s daughter and founder of AnGeL Ministries, spoke at the conference. She noted that God’s glory is in His character. Lotz expanded on this idea by sharing personal stories of how she had been hurt emotionally and spiritually by other Christians. From there, she talked about forgiveness and explained that it is a choice rather than a feeling.
“Choose to forgive because God has forgiven you,” Lotz said. “Reach out to bless the other person, do something to show your forgiveness, and then just get on with your life.”
Lotz declared to the congregation that Jesus understands what it means to be hurt and that if He has the power to forgive those who led Him to the cross, then we can have the power to forgive others as well. Lotz concluded her sermon by saying that we glorify God when we forgive others.
Bryan Loritts, the pastor at Fellowship Church in Memphis, Tenn., preached from Matthew 25:31-46, where Jesus spoke about the people who cared for the sick, the hungry, the poor and the naked. Christ proclaimed that what you have done for the least of these, you have also done for Him. Loritts reminded participants that God glorified Himself through William Wilberforce, one of the British parliament members who became a leader in the abolishment of the slave trade during the 1800s.
Loritts asked the same question to the congregation that John Newton, the writer of the song “Amazing Grace,” asked to William Wilberforce: “If you can’t be a witness for Christ at your vocation, then how can you represent Him across the seas?” Loritts spoke about the fruit of our salvation and the activity of the Holy Spirit in us.
“Every legitimate follower of Jesus Christ should look in the rear-view mirror of your journey with Jesus and say, ‘Number one: I am not the way that I should be, but God is not through with me yet,’” and “‘Number two: I am not where I once was. He is changing me,’” Loritts said.
David Platt spoke twice during the Missions Conference. Platt is the lead pastor at Brook Hills Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., and the author of the book Radical. His first sermon was based on the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20 and on how God’s glory is seen through His people. Platt challenged the congregation by saying, “The reason that we have breath is to spread God’s glory throughout the world.”
Platt added that he recently went on a mission trip to Nepal, and after his experiences there, he came to this conclusion: “The concept of unreached people cannot be tolerable for us.”
Platt challenged the congregation by asking, “Do you love the glory of God more than yourself?” He concluded by saying, “God does not need us. He involves us in His mission because He loves us.”
Break out sessions followed Platt’s first message. When the general session resumed, Leonard Sweet addressed the conference. Sweet is the founder and president of SpiritVenture Ministries. He noted that there are three things that are a part of revival: Church members need to return to the Bible, they need to read the scriptures in the language of their culture, and they need to rediscover Jesus. Sweet’s message focused on effectively communicating the gospel.
“If we can start communicating the Bible as a story,” Sweet said, “then we can speak the language of the culture.”
Sweet addressed the necessity of telling God’s story to an ever-changing culture so that future generations can retain the gospel throughout the rest of their lives. Sweet used the dinner table as a metaphor for how Christians solve this problem.
“The dinner table is the most sacred piece of furniture because that’s where you tell the stories,” Sweet said. “The Bible is a table where we eat and drink spiritually. We need to bring back the table and eat of the bread of life.”
David Platt concluded the Missions Conference with his second sermon. This message from Platt focused on each command found within the Great Commission. Platt declared to the congregation that “The only thing we can control in this changing culture is our confidence in the gospel.”
Platt reminded the participants that they have the power of the Spirit of God in them. From there, he asked them, “How are you intentionally making disciples?”
Platt stated that there are nearly 6,000 unreached people groups in the world and told the congregation that they must consider various ways of reaching people — not just locally but also globally through a multi-faceted approach. He concluded his message and the conference by proclaiming, “God is with us always, to the end of the age, and that same God that saved you from damnation is leading you in this world.”
The 2015 North Carolina Missions Conference will be held on April 10-11, 2015, at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.
For more information on North Carolina Baptist Men and its ministries, contact Richard Brunson, Executive Director of NCBM, at [email protected], or visit the Baptists on Mission website at www.baptistsonmission.org.