Partners in the Gospel
By Sam McVAy
For more than 80 years, Free Will Baptists have been sending missionaries to unreached people groups around the world. We have seen, and continue to see, a great harvest. As those who have been reached with the gospel mature in their walk with Christ, they come to realize the Great Commission was not just given to the American Church. It has been given to every believer. This realization has led international believers to step forward and answer God’s call on their lives to become pastors, church planters, and missionaries to take the gospel not only to the people near them, but to those around the world.
International Missions rejoices in how God is moving to make His name known among the nations. Free Will Baptists have many opportunities to partner with those God is calling to be His messengers to those yet to hear of Jesus. Many who have come to Christ through the work of IM can enter countries where Americans cannot go. Because of political or historical relations, some places will not permit American missionaries to work in their countries. Often, people from other nations can enter those countries and share their faith. We want to partner with these believers to help fulfill the Great Commission. We have Free Will Baptist believers from Brazil, Cuba, India, and other places with whom we partner to answer the call to go and be witnesses of the gospel.
International Missions partners with people in countries where Free Will Baptists have invested heavily through personnel, finances, or other means but today have few or no missionary personnel on site. We partner with our brothers and sisters in Cuba, Panama, India, Brazil, and Côte d’Ivoire, focusing on seminary training and church planting. In these locations where Free Will Baptist missionaries labored in the past, a maturing national church now leads, and they just need assistance to fulfill the task of the Great Commission.
The Power of Partnerships
If you still doubt the value of supporting missions partnerships, perhaps you should talk with the young Cuban church planters and missionaries who received their theological training at Cedars of Lebanon seminary. They are now planting churches, going as missionaries, and reaching people with the gospel in every province of Cuba and around the world. Your support of partnerships through the World Missions Offering helps make that training available and helps fund these new church planting efforts.
Perhaps you should share a cup of café con leche in southern Spain with Manuel and Noemí and hear their heartbeat for reaching North African immigrants who have never heard the gospel. IM partnership funds make it possible for them to live and work among one of the largest concentrations of immigrants in all of Spain, building relationships, meeting needs, and looking for opportunities to speak truth into the lives of those they encounter in their ministry.
The pastors in Côte d’Ivoire would thank you for your support. It helps make the Bible institute training possible, preparing these men to effectively take the message of Jesus into villages across their country that have no evangelical witness. During the last ten years, the number of churches in Côte d’Ivoire has more than doubled as these pastors have faithfully proclaimed the message of salvation. Hundreds have come to saving faith through their ministries, and your support of the WMO helps make that possible.
If you had a few minutes to visit with Trif and Vanya and hear their stories of life and ministry in Bulgaria, they would thank you for supporting IM partnerships. They came to know Christ as university students and have dedicated their lives to reaching their fellow countrymen with the gospel. IM partnership funds make it possible for them to serve as Free Will Baptist missionaries planting a church in Varna and sharing their faith with all who will listen.
Just the other day, Trif had an opportunity to share the gospel with a man while waiting in line to register his car. The man recently lost a child and, as a result, became embittered against God. Trif was able to share hope with him (and others in the line who listened attentively to the conversation). Your WMO support makes it possible for the Bulgarian people to hear a message of hope in what often seems like hopeless situations.
Through IM partnership funds, Free Will Baptist doctrine and theology is shared around the world through our website, Global Training Resources (www.globaltrainingresources.net). Articles, sermons, videos, books, and other training materials are made available in multiple languages for anyone interested in growing in their understanding of Arminian theology. People worldwide are signing up for this free resource made possible by your support of WMO.
Our partnership with International Training Alliance (ITA) has helped make it possible to train almost 25,000 leaders from around the world. The Leadership Matters Course (LMC) is now being taught in Spanish, French, and English with some elements of the course offered in the Khmer language. We are thankful Free Will Baptists have the opportunity to impact Christian leaders around the world through the work of ITA.
It is exciting to see the growth of seminary training in Panama. This past year saw the highest number of students in the history of the seminary. These pastors and church leaders are training to serve churches without pastors and to start new churches in areas with no evangelical witness. The goal is to start churches in every province of Panama. Your support of the WMO and partnership ministries makes this training possible.
Partnership funds in Brazil allow us to help with a church planting effort in an area with no evangelical church and to support a Brazilian missionary working among Turks and Syrian refugees in Turkey. Praise the Lord for the way He is calling out workers from around the world to go into the harvest.
Russian pastors and church planters are trained each year at the Bible institute to become more effective in their ministry in Russia. Partnership funds make it possible to provide biblical training that would not be available otherwise. A new generation of Russian Christian leaders are answering God’s call on their lives, and Free Will Baptists have the privilege of providing them with training to lead the evangelical church in Russia and impact that country for the cause of Christ.
Our partnership in Central Asia makes it possible not only to train pastors and church leaders to carry the gospel to the countries in that region, but provides hope to many helpless individuals caught up in the clutches of sin. It is rewarding to work with the Hope Centers to provide basic needs for people who could easily be snared again by the drug and human trafficking trade. Hundreds of lives have been saved and changed as a result of this partnership.
Free Will Baptists have served longer in India than any other country. Today, partnership funds help make it possible for hundreds of pastors to plant and lead churches across that needy area of the world. Many faithful pastors labor despite the peril of losing their lives, as the enemy would love to destroy and discourage. Praise the Lord, the work continues and is growing through their faithful witness. Pray the funds will be sufficient to continue to provide these church planters with what they need to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
The Promise of Partnerships
As you can see, God is blessing everywhere we partner with the Body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission. People are being saved, trained, and sent out into the harvest, many times, across borders and cultures. Your investment in the WMO and these partnerships is reaping eternal dividends. Only eternity will reveal all that has been accomplished as a result of our partnerships with God’s people to reach the lost with the message of salvation.
Our missionaries are laboring faithfully to share the gospel with those who have never heard. We are blessed and thankful to have such dedicated and committed workers. God is building His Church, and He is using Free Will Baptists to do it. Many of our missionaries labor under the strain of underfunded accounts. Your gifts to the WMO help strengthen these accounts and relieve the stress of not having sufficient funds. Please demonstrate your support for our missionaries and their efforts as you obediently and generously give so they can stay focused on reaching the lost and discipling new believers. Once our partnership budgets are funded, all additional funds will be divided with 60% going to deficit and underfunded missionary accounts and 40% into the general fund.
I trust you rejoice with me in all that God is doing around the world. What a privilege He gives us to be a part of His work! Would you commit to pray for our partnership ministries? Then, would you please ask God to help you give generously to International Missions to support this year’s WMO? I know God will bless your obedience and faithful support.
About the Writer: Sam McVay is director of church relations for Free Will Baptist International Missions. Learn more: www.FWBGO.com.