"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28: 19-20)
To accomplish the Great Commission, the local church must be what God has called it to be.
"We must never forget that it is God who empowers the work of missions," says Jim Carson, director of missions at Indian Springs Baptist Church. "The Holy Spirit must always lead and prepare the way for us as we go. Our job is to follow where and how He leads. ... Every member of Indian Springs Baptist Church can - and should - be involved in at least one dimension of missions."
"We are all called to a ministry of evangelism," explains Carson." As we go to minister in other parts of the world, just like at home, our primary focus must be to share the gospel with a world that is lost and in need of a Savior. The primary responsibility of evangelization always falls on the local believers; they know the people, the language and the culture. Our role is to assist them in that effort."
"Our mission trips are for a short period of time, usually about a week," says Keith Bartley, coordinator for Nicaraguan missions at ISBC. "But, as we do that, we must always have the long-term view in mind. We return several times throughout the year and as we evangelize, we must also train, encourage and equip the local believers to carry on the work after we go home. We build relationships, equipping the 'local' church to do God's work and empowering them to succeed even after we have left."
Carson and Bartley say a good example of how these partnerships work is their church's involvement with First Baptist Church in Corinto, Nicaragua.
The church, the second oldest Baptist church in Nicaragua, has a long and historic heritage. Founded in the 1930s, its ministry declined as the church entered the 21st century. In 2004, Pastor Ricardo Castillo and his wife Sandra were called by God to begin the work of rebuilding the church's ministry.
The couple worked tirelessly for several years to re-establish the school which the church had once operated, to restore the church's reputation within the community, to share the gospel, and to re-establish the church as a healthy, functioning body of believers. Then, in 2009, Ricardo and Sandra became discouraged and were ready to abandon their efforts.
"However, God led us to work alongside them to encourage them in their work for the Lord and to provide some much needed resources to strengthen the ministry," explains Carson."During 2010, we helped with some physical needs and built relationships with the believers there. In 2011, we focused on helping them with evangelizing their community. In 2012, we provided assistance with strengthening the body. It is very exciting to see what God is doing in Nicaragua!"
For more photos featuring ISBC's Faith in Action in Nicaragua, click here.comments powered by Disqus