May is fast approaching
For a century, Australian Baptists have focused on global missions in May. The Australian Baptist Foreign Mission (now Global Interaction) on May 4, 1919, organised Foreign Mission Sunday to promote the work overseas. A ‘Self Denial Week’ followed the Sunday to provide an extended time to focus on the work. An annual event resulted, and in 1990 the name changed to May Missions Month.
May provides a focused opportunity for Baptists to centre on God’s heart for the nations and to sow into cross-cultural ministry locally and globally through prayer, advocacy and giving.
We can look back and celebrate God’s activities. An encouraging example is the centenary of the Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship which, over the decades, has become increasingly self-sustaining and is completely locally-led. This was the first location where our cross-cultural workers were sent from South Australia and it formed a strong foundation for our ongoing ministry. Nearly a third of South Australian workers with Global Interaction and its predecessors went to Bangladesh, formerly East Bengal and East Pakistan. Our vision, to see growing, vibrant faith communities among the least-reached, has come to fruition among this community. However, there are many other communities yet to be transformed by understanding the Gospel in their own culture and language. Ros Gooden, cross-cultural worker from 1965-1984, states that “If ever we had a story of what our vision is, of empowering communities to develop their own distinctive ways of following Jesus, it is what is being celebrated today.” For a detailed account see the online Autumn/Winter edition of Vision magazine.
We can look forward and renew our commitment to the heartbeat of God and to the 42% of the world that live in least reached people groups. The theme for 2019 is ‘Grow where you’re planted, sow where He calls.’ Four key words emerge. As believers GROW more like Jesus and be transformed by God’s love and compassion for others. A commitment to understanding where we are PLANTED should follow. SOWing of gospel seeds results through putting faith into action and finding common ground with people we are seeking to build kingdom relationships with. A sense of CALLing sustains living out faith in contextualized community.
An image as I consider this theme is of a dandelion. The fluffy seeds tend to separate from the stem and follow the wind, planting where they land.
Please note, we apologise for the incorrect spelling of our friend Myra Mellor in the last edition.