N.C. ‘Impact Your World’ event draws leaders from 10 states
    May 7 2012 by Shawn Hendricks, BR Managing Editor

    Leading your churches to be on mission among those who have little to no access to the gospel will come with a price, said Michael Cloer, pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, N.C.
    Cloer spoke during the Impact Your World conference, presented by IMB (International Mission Board) and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina April 30-May 2 at First Baptist Church of Charlotte. The event attracted about 50 pastors and church leaders from North Carolina and a total of 10 states and 26 churches. Cloer shared about his church’s journey to “embrace” a people group, and tips for those interested in pursuing a similar commitment.
    Three years ago, while attending the Southern Baptist Convention, Cloer said his “heart was awakened,” to the needs of people groups that have no church-planting strategy among them and have less than a 2 percent evangelical presence.

    Leading your churches to be on mission among those who have little to no access to the gospel will come with a price, said Michael Cloer, pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, N.C.

    These groups are classified as “unengaged and unreached.” Before that discovery, Cloer said his church was involved in “outsourcing” missions or “Christian tourism,” not a long-lasting mission partnership.
    The church now works among the Koli of South Asia. And since that partnership began, it hasn’t been easy on Cloer and his congregation.
    “If you’re not ready for all kinds of attacks – attacks on your finances, attacks on your building, attacks on your health, attacks on your personality,” said Cloer, who acknowledged he has taken criticism for the church’s investment in the Koli, “… then don’t get involved with this.”
    This type of ongoing commitment is more than “a project,” Cloer added. “I’m not talking about taking a mission trip,” he said. “I’m talking about a long-term investment … it’s from now until they’re standing around the throne.” 
    “This should be the mission of all of us … that there is going to be a multitude from every language, people, tribe and nation, knowing and worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ.”
     Cloer said one of the toughest parts was realizing “I’m responsible.”
    “I thought I was already involved because I was supporting the IMB,” he said. “I’ll pastor a church. I’ll do my job, they do their job … I’ll send money and pray for them … I shirked my responsibility.”
    In addition to the partnership, Cloer is leading Englewood to mentor other pastors and churches, who share the same desire to share the gospel among unreached, unengaged people groups.
    “The only thing you could do wrong is to do nothing,” he said.
    Big screen, little dot
    Scott Holste, associate vice president of global strategy for IMB, showed a video screen filled with small squares. Each square represented 6 million “lost” people. In the center of the screen he pointed to a tiny red dot.
    “Here’s our work force,” Holste said. “If we had them all [of IMB’s missionaries] stand together, it would be a mile. If we are thinking that our strategy is to reach the world and to engage the people groups of the world and to complete the Great Commission, and we’re going to do it all with our 5,000 IMB missionaries ... it just doesn’t seem like it’s very likely.”
    “The good news is that we’re not all alone,” he said, noting the many IMB partners and churches the organization works with each year.
    With only 48 percent of the countries in the world having low restrictions to religion, about 70 percent of the people in the world lives in difficult to access countries, Holste said. In those places there are wars, persecution, disease, famines and many other challenges.
    “We certainly need all the help we can get,” Holste said. “We are going after the last hidden areas. This will not go without a fight. That’s one of the challenges we face.
    “The key is getting the right people in the right places, doing the right things.”
    It’s going to take commitment to go to the difficult places, said one conference attendee Dave Marshall, associate pastor of discipleship and evangelism at First Baptist Church of Hendersonville.
    “As a church leader I feel like our job is to equip people to make disciples and encourage them to get out there,” he said. “Five thousand missionaries are not going to get it [done].’”
    He described the American church as a “sleeping giant.” Though he believes that giant can be awakened, it’s going to take older and younger adults saying, “I could be on the mission field, or I can be a doctor or a lawyer or business man, and I can do what our missionaries are doing.”
    For more information, go to imb.org or call (800) 999-3113.
    5/7/2012 1:09:30 PM by Shawn Hendricks, BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Asia, IMB, mission, partnership

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