Have you ever been praying, and all of sudden you get this thought that’s indirectly connected to your prayers, but not exactly what you thought you were praying? It happens to me a lot. The only explanation that I can offer is that God is wanting to “cut to the chase.” That happened to me this past September.
I was praying for Wise Drive Baptist when the thought occurred to me that churches in America have gotten off track. We’ve become so distracted with attracting people to our places of worship that we misplaced our purpose. God hit me with a ton of bricks that day! The “ton of bricks” was YEAH! Our purpose as the people of God is to go; not sit and wait for others to join us.
I’m sure that you’ve heard of the Great Commission. It’s based on Matthew 28:18-20.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
When I was younger, Southern Baptist Churches were known as Going churches. We banded together, or cooperated, for one common purpose and that was the Great Commission. Not only did we want to be Going churches, we wanted to work in unison with other churches to be on God’s mission of Going.
For weeks after that epiphany, I kept praying about Wise Drive Baptist becoming a Going church. Finally, it occurred to me that if we were going to be a Going church, then we had to find a way to go. Then, I did something that I haven’t done in decades. I contacted our Associational Missionary, Kevin Litchfield, and asked him if the Santee Baptist Association had any Partnership Missions trips planned. By the way, Kevin is doing a remarkable job getting churches on the right path again. That path is cooperating in doing missions.
Kevin said that they did. They were planning on taking a Vision Trip to Maine. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was one of four pastors that had recently asked Kevin the same thing. Kevin said that when I contacted him, it was confirmation from God that Maine was where we all needed to be. He also said that there was room for one more if I knew anyone who would like to go. That sounded great because it meant that a church member would get to experience the Going too! Eric Prince agreed to go.
Eric and I had some great experiences in Maine. We met with four young men who had planted themselves and their families in Maine in order to be a part of the Great Commission. Two of them are originally from South Carolina! In fact, one of them will be speaking at Wise Drive Baptist on January 13. We also got to experience what it’s like to cooperate with other pastors and churches in a common goal of winning the lost to Christ.
Needless to say, I’m excited! We’ve already started the process of our church Going to Maine in order to help these young pastors spread the Gospel. You’ll be hearing more on Maine as we put the plans into place, but let me say also, that part of the plan in helping these young families can be accomplished from Sumter for those that can’t make the trip. You’ll be hearing more about this in the near future. For right now, PRAY for Maine. Pray for these young pastors and their families. Pray for our South Carolina guys; Roger Ferrill and JB Usher. There’s a lot of lost people there.
One last thing. I’m hearing that there might be some possibilities for Going to Peru. I’ll let you know what’s up with those trips when I know more.