By Sharon Mager, BaptistLIFE Correspondent
COLUMBIA, Md.—Joel Rainey, reporting for the Engagement Team for Evangelism and Missions during the December meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network General Mission Board (GMB), explained that the team “wants to help you more effectively share Jesus with the world; to love your neighbor and share Christ.”
Rainey said in the fall of 2014, the team focused strategically on Islam, which Rainey said is currently the second fastest growing religion in the world, and the fastest in Great Britain. The United States has experienced a 25 percent growth rate in Islam in the past decade, he said.
“We want Muslins to know who Jesus is and to come to faith in Him,” Rainey said.
The team sponsored two events, a simulcast featuring the testimony of a young Muslim who came to faith in Jesus and converted to Christianity and how that decision affected his life; and an interfaith forum featuring Muslims, Jews and Christians talking openly about religious freedom and the differences in the religions. Both events were offered to help Christians understand the differences between the faiths, to break down walls and to develop unconditional friendships with those of other faiths.
In an effort to teach evangelism, Joel Rainey and Doug DuBois led “Love Your neighbor; Share Christ,” breakout sessions during the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network Annual Celebration in November.
Rainey encouraged GMB members to get involved in the ministry with international students in Ocean City under the leadership of Resort Missionary Lynn Davis.
Other team ministry highlights include:
• Twelve churches participated at the Network’s fall Disaster Relief regional training in Upper Marlboro in October. Teams were deployed 12 times since the beginning of the year. Recently they were deployed to provide kitchen support for a manhunt executed by Pennsylvania State Troopers in the Poconos.
· Deep Creek Lake Resort Ministry leaders and volunteers manned a children’s ministry tent and baby changing station to support families that attended the World Canoe and Kayak Championship that took place in Garrett County in September. Volunteers also provided daily prayer time and Bible study for athletes and coaches.
• The Network’s Woman’s Missionary Union recently held “Breathless,” a women’s conference featuring South Carolina Woman’s Missionary Union President Laurie Register and the Network Ministry Evangelism Specialist, Wendy Mindte.
• Church Strengthening Specialist for Women, Melody Knox, taught about how to help combat human trafficking for four weeks at Manna Bible Baptist Church. Knox also taught at a ladies retreat in October and early November based on “Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free,” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network staff represented the Network at various associational meetings and emphasized evangelism and missions.
• The Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network’s Amped Student Ministry drew over 100 students and leaders at various events in the fall. Network Church Strengthening Strategist, Doug DuBois, hosted a brunch at the Network Annual Celebration in November focused on student discipleship. A student version of “Lead Like Jesus’ launched recently at Skycroft Training Center.
Rainey said a big focus next year will be peer learning groups that will serve to equip and encourage pastors and leaders throughout the Network.
“We approach 2015 with great excitement as we continue to more effectively focus our resources and embrace the lost,” Rainey said.