By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
ROCKVILLE, Md.—Iglesia de Bautista de Washington, a church that joined the BCM/D last year has had a missions revolution and the children’s ministry initiated it.
When Guillermo Mangieri began pastoring the church in 2004, Iglesia Bautista de Washington allocated missions funds through their budget, had some missionary moments and highlights, but Mangieri said there was a need to go further, walking in faith if they wanted to have a mobilized and involved church.
“We needed to start giving sacrificially, according to what God says we have to give for missions,” he said.
Mangieri’s father is a pastor, his mother is a seminary professor and his three brothers are pastors. His parents and grandparents, who were missionaries, instilled a global missions focus in Mangieri and taught him to be obedient to the Great Commission.
Under Mangieri’s leadership, the Iglesia Bautista de Washington began hosting missions fairs, inviting missionaries, especially Hispanics, to come, speak, and get to know them.
“I think it’s very important to get missionaries coming to the church,” the pastor explained. “And it’s important that the missionaries feel welcomed by the church.”
Church members meet missionaries at the airport; welcome them into their homes, learn from them and develop relationships with them.
Mangieri began working to encourage the church to be intentional in teaching children about missions. The children’s department took the kids and their parents to the International Mission Board’s Learning Center in Richmond, Va. That made a huge impression on both the students and their moms and dads, Mangieri said.
In fact, when the pastor pitched a challenge to the congregation to dream about missions and what the church could do, the children’s church committed to raise $1,000. Mangieri said the children really did sit down and come up with that amount as their goal. Then they worked to bring it in. They sold cookies, t-shirts and bookmarks and raised $1,200. That began to fire up the whole church!
In 2005, the church, which had previously given $500 to missions, gave $5,000 – a 1,000 percent increase. The church caught the missions fire. In 2007 their offering was $10,700.
The church began taking mission trips to North Africa, to Senegal and Turkey, and at this moment they are going to South America (Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) supporting the IMB annual emphasis (men, women and youth going to the Nations).
Before sending any teams, the church has a special prayer service. The children are always involved in praying for the outgoing teams.
As teams go on mission trips and return, they bring their contagious enthusiasm with them and the congregation continues to get excited and wants to do more.
The church has always given to designated missions offerings such as Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, State Missions, etc. But now, they collect a weekly missions offering, so the church gives the whole year.
“It’s not part of the tithes or offerings. It’s what God has put in their hearts to support missions. It’s a faith offering,” Mangieri said.
They also take a part of each worship service to dedicate to missions—a short presentation from a team, a testimony, or sharing of a special need.
Iglesia Bautista de Washington members also do outreach in their own communities. They regularly have special prayer time for the lost and they give food to the needy. But Mangier said the church stresses relationship over event.
Mangieri said the three parts of missions are pray, give and go, but that we need to prepare more to go. The church wants to raise up missionaries within their congregation. Currently one member has applied to the IMB to serve as a full-time missionary.
Iglesia Bautista de Washington averages about 150 in service each week. That’s a lot for a Hispanic church to sustain, Rolando Castro, BCM/D language missionary said. Hispanic churches in the Baltimore/Washington area are always dealing with a lot of people in transition. They don’t have roots here so they move where they can find work, or they go home to their own countries. That will change as more Hispanics begin to settle, have children and develop deeper roots, Castro said.
But for now, Iglesia Bautista de Washington just keeps being obedient and steadily works to plant and harvest in His mission field.