Incredible evangelism, ministry and mission information continues to fill my mailbox. News from overseas, throughout the USA and especially here in California brings great joy to my heart.
Baptisms were up 18.5 percent in 2010 compared to 2009 in California. New church starts from January through June total 72. Yet we still face challenges daily. The economic condition of our state continues to impact the ministry of our churches. Finding leaders for new congregations seems to be more difficult.
It is in times like these that I continue to trust in God for direction and solutions. It is in times like these that I stop to remember how far the Father has brought us.
During the early years of California Southern Baptist Convention, our churches met in places and under circumstances we would call “extremely difficult.” The early years of ministry saw people sacrificing almost everything to share Christ. We chased license plates with names of states from the South, met in barns and slept in cars, all with a passion to live out our faith in Christ.
Thousands were saved as the gospel was preached across California. We were a small group in a big mission field, but the obstacles, though many, did not stop us. I have read our history and am amazed at God’s grace in the lives of countless men and women who sacrificed greatly to build His Kingdom here in the Golden State.
Our Southern Baptist brethren from across the nation gave, prayed and came to help in reaching the lost and making disciples. Passion, compassion, faithfulness and love were highlights of our lives. Trust in God was the flag flying high over our churches and associations. We were resilient!
I am encouraged just thinking of how far we have come from 13 churches in 1940. Today California Southern Baptist Convention is a fellowship of about 450,000 members in more than 2,100 language and multi-ethnic congregations that cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America. Each week 82 language groups are represented in CSBC churches.
Many generations have passed. With God’s grace, the next generation has answered the call and continues to impact lives for Christ. Jesus’ church, both small and large, is still alive. For this we are thankful. Let’s continue to tell the Good News of Christ and keep our eyes focused on the millions in California without Him.