‘More than a check-writing church’
Ten years ago, pastor D. Lynn Hyatt had a vision of his church, a strong supporter of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program, becoming evem more missions-focused. Based on Acts 1:8, Hyatt partnered with local, regional, national and international missions following Jesus’ example of ministering in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the end of the Earth.
“I knew we needed to be more than a check-writing church,” Hyatt said. “My prayer was that people would recognize the Great Commission is for us.”
The vision has come to fruition in large part, Hyatt said, but he hopes his church can do more in the 10/40 window. The 10/40 window refers to areas of the Middle East, Asia and North Africa located between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude.
“When I see us making impact there, I’ll feel we’ve made significant progress,” Hyatt said.
The conference featured more than a dozen missionaries who shared their testimonies at meal times and led in workshops and in worship.
Open Hands, Willing Hearts
The opening night conference leader Charles Billingsley, worship leader at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, shared a story of a mission trip he took to Guatemala. He returned a changed man.
“We go to bless them, but we come back radically blessed by them,” Billingsley said of the those he worked among in Guatemala. “I promise you, all you have to do is open your hand and ask God to give you an idea. If you’re willing, He’ll use you.”
After the concert, Hyatt said FBCC members have gone on more than 1185 journeys, and they have given almost four million dollars for missions.
“More important than what He’s done through us is what He’s done in us,” Hyatt said. “For me, that meant changing from being a Christian who held their hand like this,” he said fisting his hand, “into a Christian who held their hand like this,” he added, opening it.
For weeks, members of FBCC Sunday school classes collected money to purchase requested items for missionaries assigned to them. At a church-wide banquet, church members watched as gas cards, laptops and tuition to counseling classes were some gifts given to them.
Joe and Linda Ledford conduct resort missions in Townsend, Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of FBCC’s Sunday school classes collected money to purchase an iPad for their use.
The church’s children’s ministry raised $665.16 for Paulette DeHart who works in literacy missions in Georgia. She will use the money to buy mini-tape recorders.
Last fall, DeHart interpreted for a woman attending an English as a Second Language class at her church. Concerned when the woman was late to class, DeHart found her sitting in the back of the church service. The woman said the Holy Spirit dealt with her and led her to make a profession of faith, DeHart shared.
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