By Sharon Mager
COLUMBIA, Md.—“I don’t think there’s a more serious time to think about what it means to take the gospel to the world, which now includes people who have come from the ends of the earth to our own back door,” Joel Rainey, Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network team strategist for evangelism and missions, reporting for the Engagement Team for Evangelism and Missions, said in a verbal report to the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network General Mission Board (GMB) on Sept. 9 at the Baptist Network Center in Columbia.
“Think about the shift in culture in just the past five years. Do you feel like the ground is moving beneath your feet? I do. If you are tempted in the middle of uncertainty to fear, these are not days for the faint of heart. If that’s where you are, don’t be afraid. Jesus loves this world in which we find ourselves every bit as much as he loves the world that existed five years ago.
“You and I have a very clear choice in front of us. You can pine for the world as it once existed, or you can engage the world God has put at your doorstep. That’s it; There’s no third direction. The first is disobedience. The second is effective engagement in fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission.”
Rainey highlighted the “Mid-Atlantic Summit on Faith and Culture” on Nov. 16 at Gethsemane Baptist Church, Glenwood, Md.
Calling it a unique experience, Rainey said, “In days past when we would talk about engagement and missions we would gather together on this side of the world and talk about people on the other side of the world and how we can best reach them with the Gospel but you see, those folks live across the street from you now. So we’re in a day and age where we have to stop having conferences where we talk about the world and start having the kinds of meetings where we talk with them.”
Summit participants include a rabbi, Muslim imams, representatives from the Rumi Forum, The Institute for Global Engagement, and others from various walks of life discussing various worldviews. Rainey said the Summit will offer an opportunity to understand these worldviews, and it will enable leaders to have follow-up conversations with those in their churches on how to have those conversations at work and school.
Rainey also encouraged GMB members to participate in a simulcast on Nov. 2 called “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus,” which features the testimony of a young Pakistani man, Nabeel Qureshi, and his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, including the challenges he has faced, supernatural dreams, and grace. The simulcast also features Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelburg. They will offer a balanced assessment of Islam through a special question and answer time with the audience and with those participating at the host site locations who will be able to interact using social networks. Host sites are being secured, and more information will be available soon.
Other highlights from the team include disaster relief work conducted at the request of Blue Ridge Baptist Association helping with flood recovery in Clear Springs, Md., in June following a flash flood. Two teams were deployed to New York in August to help with the continued rebuilding on Long Island as a result of damage from Hurricane Sandy, and incident command, recovery and feeding volunteers were deployed to the same area to assist New York Baptists responding to major flooding around Islip.
In the personal evangelism area, Executive Missional Strategist Will McRaney motivated older adults from across the region to “Love their neighbor and share Christ” during “Ports of Call,” a senior adult ministry equipping conference held at Skycroft in May. In addition to the classroom sessions, participants did hands-on missions projects as part of their learning experience.
Resort Minster Julie DuVall and the Deep Creek Lake Resort team ministered to athletes from around the country at the annual Grand Fondo cycling race. Ministry volunteers served between over 700 competitors at an aid station and had the privilege of praying for over a dozen.
Resort Minister Lynn Davis and the summer missionaries in Ocean City ministered to 3,000 young adults from 39 countries.
The collegiate ministry reports sharing the gospel 3,775 times, discipling 251, 67 leadership events and 60 mission projects.
The Woman’s Missionary Union had their annual celebration in Baltimore in June with 2,500 in attendance. Six hundred people participated in the Annie Armstrong tour during the Southern Baptist Convention. A Mother/Daughter camp for girls in grades 1 to 3 and their moms at Camp Wo-Me-To gave 21 girls and moms a chance to experience a mini-version of the week-long girls’ camp. They had Bible study, missions education and recreation. The girls’ camp brought 64 girls. The theme was “Gotta Tell It” and the theme verse was Acts 4:20.
In the Love Loud Ministry Evangelism area, Wendy Mindte, missionary for ministry evangelism, created and continues to update an online seasonal outreach resource. It offers seasonal ministry challenges and resources.
Mindte also continues to have conversations assisting churches in the area of English as a second language.
Joel Rainey said he looks forward to exponentially greater things as he and the team move forward.