From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Dr. Clifford E. Jones (Opelika, Alabama)

This weekend has been a historical one here at Greater Peace Missionary Baptist Church, as we hosted the First Annual Mission Conference. It has been an exciting time from Friday evening to the present. Someone might be thinking why is it so important to host such a Conference. It is important because we need to understand God’s view on mission. God is interested in all of mankind to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The only way that will be done is for people to hear and understand the Gospel. Listen to Jesus’ words as expressed in The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. He said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” The charge that Jesus gave His disciples is “TO GO!”

This Conference, I trust, has brought home to all who participated the mandate that Jesus gave to His disciples – to go. Far too long, African Americans have not sensed the urgency to go into foreign lands and carry the good news of Jesus Christ. I am presently reading a book by Dr. Michael Johnson, who is a medical doctor who gave up his prospering practice to become a missionary in Kenya. In his book entitled “What Jesus Wouldn’t Do: Making the Blind Man Lame,” Dr. Johnson states, “Everywhere I go as a missionary I am asked, where are the African American brothers?” He says his inner spirit response is, “They are at home, getting ready for the Annual Usher, Choir, and Pastor’s Day Banquet. They are frying chicken in celebration of having survived slavery, Jim Crow laws and having won voting rights.” He concludes by saying, “We are focusing on celebrating the past and survival. We should be more focused on helping others claim the present and prosper for the future.”

Now, whether you agree with Dr. Johnson or not, it is very important for us as a people to become more involved in taking the good news of Jesus Christ to our brothers and sisters across the waters. If we have identified ourselves as Missionary Baptist Churches, then we must look for opportunities to go beyond our own comfortable environments. While we support some missionary efforts, we are nowhere close to what we should be. I think the time is now for us to begin to broaden our missionary efforts. If not now, then when? I long for the day when this church will have its first fulltime missionary serving abroad. I hope we will begin soon to initiate some short-term mission trips in developing countries. Someone may be asking, “How can I help now to begin to have an impact in mission?” Let me suggest some things that you can begin to do:

  • Pray for missionaries serving abroad and at home.
  • Give financially toward the church missionary budget.
  • Adopt a missionary and pray for him/her daily.
  • Pray and ask God to reveal unto you if He has a place in mission for you.
  • Learn more about the work of missionaries at home and abroad.

I pray that the Mission Conference this weekend has been a catalyst to challenge us to become more involved in mission, and that we will truly become “Greater Peace Missionary Baptist Church.”