God's Work in the Northwest Encourages Us
May 28, 2019
In a world where tragedy, scandal, and politics dominate the news, sometimes you need to hear a good, refreshing word. With that in mind, I want to share some of the really good things happening in the Northwest.
As I write, 28 people are gathered in our Northwest Baptist Center learning how to serve churches as “transitional pastors.” These are leaders who’ve spent their lives as pastors, and now they will continue to serve churches seeking their next pastors. These participants are lifelong learners and in ministry lifelong learning is the “fountain of youth” -- it keeps you relevant, effective, and vigorous. Helping a church prepare for its next pastor, and find a good pastor, could be the most important, helpful thing we can do for a church.
This spring a preaching conference served 40 pastors, followed by another on reaching and caring for people (Count the Cost), with about the same number attending. “Count the Cost” is something you’ll be hearing more about as it will help any church regardless of size, location, ethnicity or language. We’ve also had 128 attend children’s ministry and VBS training this spring. Our annual Women’s Summit had 302 women, by far our largest attendance ever. One person reported she brought a friend who was a Buddhist and she gave her life to Christ during the Summit!
Our annual Student Conference had 440 in attendance, with 12 professions of faith. Our NWBC student ministry leader, Lance Logue, invited two boys playing basketball outside on the host church grounds to join the conference. They said they weren’t there for the conference, but he told them they were welcome to attend. They did, and both boys prayed to receive Christ!
In April we had 247 gather for our annual NWBC Church Planter’s Retreat. This included 58 pastors, 45 spouses and over 100 of their kids. Twenty-two volunteers taught the VBS curriculum to the kids. Languages represented among these church planters included English, Spanish, Korean, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Romanian and Mandarin. And we had four churches launch on Easter Sunday!
What about Northwest Baptist Disaster Relief? In April, 140 DR volunteers attended a two-day training event, preparing for wherever and whenever they might be deployed. If you have a disaster in your area, know that we have people ready to serve. DR chaplains have been called upon in school shootings and in the wake of other traumatic events.
You are providing all types of leadership training and resources by supporting missions through the Cooperative Program. When people are trained, you are providing the training through the NWBC. When Disaster Relief volunteers are deployed, you are sending them through the commitment of your church to invest in a cooperative mission strategy. At our church planting retreat, I told all of our church planters that every cooperating NWBC church is investing in them through Cooperative Program missions giving and through the Northwest Impact missions offering.
All of these numbers represent people, and most of these numbers represent people trained for ministry in our churches -- your church! Is it making a difference? Yes. According to our Annual Church Profile, our information reporting system, worship attendance increased in our NWBC churches to 33,433 in 2018, up from 29,412 in 2017. Small group attendance increase to 20,406, up from 18,455 in 2017. Total baptisms reported by our churches were 1,742. This number is down from 1,954 the previous year, but the general trend over five years is up. That said, we must make sharing the gospel a top priority and it is our commitment to help you by providing resources and training yearly.
One final word: please pray for the 115 people from 26 of our NWBC churches who will serve hundreds of IMB missionaries and their children in Asia this coming July.
I hope this brief report encourages you as it does me. It is a good day to serve the Lord in the Northwest!