By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
COLUMBIA, Md.—Worshippers from many languages and tongues belong to many churches in the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, making it one of the most diverse conventions in the country.
Located near Washington, D.C., the nation’s capitol, which is considered by many to be the “melting pot” of the United States, the multi-state convention supports nearly 20 different language groups in a variety of ways.
Specifically, this year the BCM/D held a retreat for language church pastors and their wives, as well as a concert of prayer, a language music celebration, and a Mosaic Language Regional Conference, which purposed to foster a sense of the need for language churches to grow.
Most recently, on Sept. 20-21, forty language pastors and their wives attended a free retreat designed to help them relax and have fellowship with other church leaders. Held at Skycroft Conference Center, the retreat was organized by Rolando Castro, BCM/D missionary for language churches and Hispanic church development.
On Sept. 12, 200 people representing 23 Asian churches in the BCM/D participated in the second annual Asian Concert of Prayer at Hanuri Korean Church, in Silver Spring, Md.
Organizer Robert Kim, BCM/D missionary for language churches and Asian coordinator for church planting/evangelism, shared that participants spent three hours in worship and prayer in a special effort to strengthen prayer in the churches, both corporately and individually.
“I think the feature of this time was for us to pray for newly planted church’s growth and for church planters engaging in church planting now in our convention area. We prayed the same prayer concerns in our own several different heart languages without God’s confusion—like the practice of the early church in the book of Acts,” shared Kim, pointing to the Pentecostal scene in Acts 2, where people from different cultures and linguistic backgrounds gathered to pray.
Held April 3-5 at First Church, Laurel, Md., the Mosaic Language Regional Conference theme was “Growing the church, growing the kingdom.” Daniel Sanchez, professor of missions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, was the keynote speaker and led the Hispanic breakout sessions. Five different sessions, each presented in different languages—Chinese, English, Korean, Filipino and Hispanic, were offered. On April 5, they celebrated with a multicultural musical worship program at Global Mission Church in Silver Spring.
With 11 different language groups and over 700 people in attendance, the BCM/D hosted its eighth annual Language Music Celebration at Global Mission Church on March 28.
On Aug. 13-14, a Hispanic Mission Conference called “Misión Glocal” (Glocal Mission), hosted by BCM/D was held at First Laurel. Speakers from NAMB, IMB and other Hispanic mission agencies gave workshops about becoming an Acts 1:8 church.
The vision of the language ministry is to facilitate healthy churches, through the planting and strengthening of congregations, among as many language groups in the area as God gives the opportunity. “Our dream is to expand into two new language groups annually,” Castro said.
Now included in the effort is Paul Mulani, senior pastor of Disciples Fellowship International Church in Silver Spring, who has been named a BCM/D language church coordinator.
A native of Kenya, Mulani will be responsible for mentoring African, African American and Haitian churches throughout the multi-state convention.
To learn more, visit online at bcmd.org/language-ministries.