California Southern Baptists are facing a great deal of change in ministry because of the reorganization and change in ministry philosophy of the North American Mission Board.
In its written report to the Southern Baptist Convention in 2011, NAMB said, "We are involved in an effort to narrow our focus around evangelistic church planting." As a result, there are new mandates for Southern Baptists to start "healthy, evangelistic Southern Baptist churches."
California Southern Baptist Convention has been and will continue to start "healthy, evangelistic" churches. For decades NAMB has been a partner in this ministry, for which we are grateful.
However, with new structures and philosophies come decisions that will cause CSBC to change its approaches on funding ministries to reach California for Christ. At this point, none of us knows what those are. However, I can tell you that my mission is to continue to see that the gospel is shared in multiple languages to reach "every man, woman, boy and girl for Christ in California."
Change of this magnitude can create uncertainty, fear and anxiety among ministry leaders, churches, associations, CSBC staff, field missionaries and others who have questions about their ministry.
This uncertainty can paralyze us to inaction, but it shouldn't because through the Bible, God has offered us His perfect Word and guidance for all situations. It is in reading His Word, meditating on it and praying about any situation in which we find ourselves that we can claim the promises of God and His faithfulness.
Since He has never failed to provide, we will continue to serve Him without fear for tomorrow.
Here are a few biblical promises:
Joshua 1:9: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Jeremiah 33:3: "Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Philippians 4:19: "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
Matthew 28:20b: "And surely I am with you always, to the end of the age."
My encouragement to California Southern Baptists, and to those who find themselves in difficult situations: put your life and hope in the Master's hand and let Him guide and direct you.