"This is our day" to serve the Lord
September 24, 2018
In another day, on April 13, 1948, messengers from 15 Northwest Baptist churches met in Portland, OR, to organize the Northwest Baptist Convention (NWBC). They believed that together they could more effectively reach the Northwest for Christ. By 1952 there were 53 churches in the NWBC and there were 291 churches by 1972 (some of them in Canada).
Strong growth has continued over the past 40 years through sharing the gospel, training leaders and gathering new believers into churches. Today, we have 485 churches in the NWBC; there are hundreds more in Canada, which became its own convention in the mid-1980s.
In our day, the work of the NWBC is much the same as it has always been. Our churches cooperate in ways that maximize our effectiveness in key areas of Kingdom work. So how does your NWBC serve our churches in this, our day?
First, we put a priority on training leaders. Monthly pastor clusters is one of the large pieces of this training. The clusters focus on the spiritual life of the leader and the spiritual health of the church. They study and discuss disciple-making, evangelism, worship planning, and much more. We also support the Pacific Northwest Campus of Gateway Seminary. Currently I am teaching preaching to 17 students at our campus. Added to this is training for Bible teachers, worship leaders, Disaster Relief volunteers, college ministers and others. We train transitional “interim pastors” and help churches in their search for pastors.
Second, we prioritize evangelism. The NWBC provides evangelistic training and resources to every NWBC church. The Cooperative Program (CP) mission giving of our churches makes this possible. We continue to provide My316 evangelism materials to our churches. At our annual meeting this November we will launch a new resource available to every church, without cost, because we believe that making disciples should be at the center of ministry for every church.
Third, we help start new churches. Currently we have churches worshiping in 27 different languages in communities of all sizes. Churches are started in urban to rural areas, from cities to small towns. I am personally involved in a new church in a town of 8,000 people. The church launches September 30, but already we have had a young man come to Christ and enter the baptismal waters. With only one church for every 23,000 in population we need many more churches in many more places.
Fourth, we do missions beyond the Northwest. Through the CP and other mission offerings we support missionaries in over 100 nations. Also, the NWBC has a special partnership in East Asia in which many of our churches have participated. During July 10-23, 2019, we will bring about 130 people from our NWBC churches to serve hundreds missionaries and their children in a retreat in Asia. We are the only state convention of churches to ever do this, and this will be the third major retreat in which we serve our missionaries in this way.
You are making an enormous difference through your involvement and support of the NWBC, and we have much left to do. This is our day -- a good day to serve the Lord in the Northwest!