Posted on : Thursday January 13, 2022

LEXINGTON PARK, Md. — Redeeming Grace Baptist Church (RGBC) has a heart for international missions. That passion is reflected in their giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. The church, which averages about 200 attendees, not only met its goal of $9,000 in 2021 but exceeded it by $2,800.

An IMB missionary (left – name. withheld for security) shares the religious climate of the area as he and Adam Polk (right) walk through Leicester, Great Britain (photo submitted).

“We’re in a three-year capital campaign for a new building being constructed. That kind of generous spirit in the church — giving money to other efforts — shows the generosity of folks and their desire to see nations reached,” said Senior Pastor Adam Polk. “We want to do everything we can to mobilize resources and people.”

Polk said the emphasis on international missions is year-long, not just at Christmas, and that there are several layers.

Each month, the church distributes International Mission Board (IMB) Prayer Points, email updates that provide specific, timely praises and prayer requests for current missionaries on the field. “This helps keep us globally aware of what the Lord is doing throughout the world,” Polk explained. Additionally, IMB provides emails with missionaries’ birthdays, designating a specific day to pray for individuals on the field.

Another significant part of a worldwide focus is the church’s new partnership with IMB missionaries in Leicester, Great Britain, near Birmingham. Polk explained that RGBC, as a church plant of Leonardtown Baptist Church (LBC), participated with LBC in international partnerships including Moldova, Puebla, and northern Thailand (The Puebla and Moldova partnerships continue from past Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) mission partnership opportunities). Polk said those partnerships were coming to a close. ”We had to rethink where RGBC could engage in a strategic part of the world.” The church prayed and contacted the IMB for guidance.

After discussions with IMB personnel, RGBC sent Polk and three others on a vision trip to Great Britain in October, where they met with missionaries in six different cities. “We were trying to explore where the Lord was leading us to partner. After consideration and prayer, we decided to try to plug in with IMB workers living and working in Leicester,” Polk said.

People walk through the town of Leicester. Polk said evangelical Christianity has dropped to as low as 2% in some areas of the U.K. (photo submitted).

The partnership will involve working directly with IMB workers in the chosen area and a church in Leicester. Polk said this will provide intentional prayer emphasis for the people working in this area. “We’ll also send short-term teams over at various points throughout the year, and we will be praying for God to raise up people to serve in those areas long-term,” he added.

There is an urgent need. “Evangelical Christianity has had a steep decline in England — to as low as 2% in many areas,” Polk explained. “Much of that has to do with a large influx of Hindu and Muslim immigrants.”

In addition to the ongoing missions emphasis, Polk highlights the Lottie Moon Week of Prayer for International Missions in December through their church communication, showing videos, and posting on social media platforms. Prior to his sermon on the Sunday of the week of prayer, Polk gives a 5-7 minute overview and appeals to the congregation. “I emphasize this is one of the most important offerings you can give to. There is a great need and many unreached people. Churches need to be planted. I share the significance of the need and ask the church to give.” And they respond. “We want to see the gospel transform people and communities,” Polk said.

Sharon Mager is a Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware communications specialist and BaptistLIFE correspondent.

Cover photo: People walk through Leicester on a sunny day (photo submitted).