By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
COLUMBIA, Md.—“A healthier church is purposely transforming,” Randy Millwood, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware team strategist for church wellness told General Mission Board (GMB) members at the May 6 Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) General Mission Board meeting. Those transformations, individually and as a church, result in making a transformational difference throughout the region.
Millwood referenced John 20 and the account of Mary Magdalene at the grave. The disciples left, Mary stayed, she got down and looked into the tomb. She saw the angels.
“They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher).”
Millwood said that is one of the most powerful passages in the Bible, when Mary hears Jesus’ voice, turns around and recognizes him.
The “Turning Around Church” pilot is continuing with eight “bold pastors and courageous churches,” Millwood said. They have made a covenant promise to one another and to God to become externally focused.
In February, the participating pastors spent two days in retreat with a spiritual discernment theme and in March, they attended two days of workshops revolving around topics about the change process, conflict management, courageous leadership, externally focused mission and the impact of structure on the life of the church.
Millwood said the participants will later meet with coaches to help with implementation.
“The Love Your Neighbor/Share Christ emphasis is impacting our approach to wellness issues as well…after all, isn’t a ‘well church’ loving their neighbors and sharing Christ?”
LaVale Baptist Church and Administrative Committee Chairman Jim Jeffries prayed for the church wellness team.
“We pray for these eight pastors as they seek your face…grant them wisdom, discernment, courage…what needs to be in their personal lives, in their ministries and churches, that your Holy Spirit will breathe the breath of life in these churches,” Jeffries prayed.