Perspective - September 2013
Recently I spoke in a small, rural congregation without a pastor. As I drove into the community, I noticed field workers and knew many were working to harvest rich, ripe crops the Golden State is known for.
I drove into the church parking lot where it was break-time between Sunday school and worship. Several children were playing outside. Their voices filled the air and caught my attention. I thought what a blessing children are and how important it is for them to know about God and His love, forgiveness and salvation, as future leaders of our churches.
I also thought about my own children and my grandchildren. It was a reminder for me to continue praying for my two sons and my grandchildren, to grow knowing the deep love of God through Jesus. What special gifts and blessings children are in our lives, as we guide them to a life filled with Jesus and service to Him.
The church service began and the music was wonderful. A leader stood to introduce me, and during his introduction he said this was the church's first year to set a goal and participate in the California Mission Offering. He noted the church goal of $400 and proudly proclaimed that they only needed $45 more to reach their objective.
A small congregation filled with migrant farm workers, a few very senior adults and children. Although attendance was less than 25, the congregation was appreciative of my coming to preach. After the service many of the children I first noticed when driving into the parking lot approached and gave me peaches. What a special treat!
This small congregation symbolizes the cooperative spirit fostered among Southern Baptists to be involved in missions, evangelism and ministry. Small congregations joining together to reach their communities and the world is a hallmark of Southern Baptists nationwide and here in California. LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention reports the median weekly worship attendance in SBC congregations is less than 70 and the median Sunday school/Bible study/small group attendance is about 45. So being a small church is the "norm" for Southern Baptists, even here in California.
But that is the beauty of being a Southern Baptist. That small, rural congregation alone could neither start more than 100 churches annually, nor support evangelistic ministries throughout the state. But through participation in the Cooperative Program and the California Mission Offering, that small congregation is involved in evangelism and church planting as well as associational missions, migrant ministry, Disaster Relief and much more.
If your congregation has not yet decided to participate and set a goal for this year's CMO, why not do it now? Let us not forget to minister and serve alongside each other. Together we can accomplish much more for the Kingdom of God.
Last Published: August 29, 2013 11:40 PM