Pastor’s Friday Comments (02.14.19)

Through our support of and cooperation with mission partners at home and around the world, Parkway extends our influence for Christ in remarkable ways. Because of our financial gifts both through the Global Missions Offering and our general fund, as well as those from other congregations, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship supports missionaries in thirty countries, plus hundreds of short-term mission teams.

In our home state, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia undergirds the work of local churches, many of which do not have the resources that we have, and engages in missions in both urban and rural areas among the poorest of our state residents. They could not continue their important work without the support of churches like Parkway.

Bringing the subject closer to home, our local ministry partners, Rainbow Village and Norcross Cooperative Ministry, combine the resources of money, volunteers, and goods to provide for the financially challenged right at our doorstep. Together with other congregations of many denominations, we are able to do far more than we would ever be able to do alone — all in the name of Christ, who sends us to the last, the lost, and the least.

There is another field of ministry that we support enthusiastically and at a higher level than you might think. We are strong supporters of International Ministries of the American Baptist Convention. Their work is predominantly in the northern United States, and it is unlikely that we would have had the opportunity to work directly with them had they not decided that it would be a good idea to have one of their global field personnel located in Atlanta, close to our international airport.

When Kristy Engel joined our church family several years ago, we had no idea the direction in which her influence and example would take us, but she has led us into a productive and rewarding partnership. Through our support of Kristy, we touch lives in countries from Lebanon to India, from Thailand to Australia, and many places in between, as she improves the lives of countless people through medical consultation.

She also led us into our relationship with the House of Hope in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where we will be sending our fifth team this summer. (If you’d like to join this year’s team, which I highly recommend, see either Kristy or me).

But something that came as a surprise to me is that we are one of the most generous churches anywhere to support the work of International Ministries. Here is part of a letter I received last week from Ray Schooler, Senior Director of Development at IM:

“Thank you for your continuing generous support. It is my pleasure to inform you that your congregation’s giving last year qualifies you for continuing membership in the Luther Rice Society (LRS).

“The Luther Rice Society is named after Luther Rice who organized the first national Baptist Society in the United States. His work helped launch the first wave of missionaries sent along with Adoniram Judson.

“I realize that your church does not give support expecting recognition but does so because the needs around the world are great and you have a love for International Ministries and God’s global mission. At the same time, IM wants to honor how exceptional your congregation is!”

“Your commitment allows us to serve in over 70 countries through our partners and global servants.

“Additionally, your generous giving recognized in the Luther Rice Society is an encouragement to others. Thank you for modeling faithful stewardship.”

I’m proud of you as a congregation for all sorts of reasons, but one near the top of the list is your willingness to support missions with both your energy and your money. We can always do better. There are so many more ways that we can share God’s love, but today I just want to say you’re doing a great job and I’m proud to be your pastor. Keep up the good work.