The Mission Illinois Offering and Week of Prayer, marked this week in churches across the state, focuses on ministry to kids and families. The crucial “4-14 window” is the best opportunity for churches to effectively share the gospel with the next generation. Use this daily devotion guide, and go to http://www.IBSA.org/mio for videos, stories, mission study teaching plans, and ideas for prayer and worship.

oneDay 1: Scott Kelly, Pastor, Campus Minister
A century-old house in Evanston, Ill., is a home base for ministry to students at Northwestern University. Scott and Megan Kelly and their three kids open their home on a regular basis to students who come for parties, prayer meetings, or just dinner. “The students I meet are open to speaking with me about Jesus and what the Bible says, as we meet in the dorm or over Dunkin coffee at the student center,” said Scott, who also pastors Evanston Baptist Church. “But the best conversations I have with students are when they are around my family.” Pray for Pastor Scott as he leads his church and the campus ministry at Northwestern University.

twoDay 2: Tim Sadler, IBSA Evangelism Director
IBSA churches baptized just over 5,000 people last year, but more than 400 of our churches baptized no one. Tim says, “Generous giving through the Mission Illinois Offering allows me to assist churches taking the Gospel to their mission fields. I can provide resources such as Gospel tracts and training to churches who want to reach their communities for Christ. It allows me to do customized training and strategy development for IBSA churches.” Pray for Tim and for renewed evangelism in IBSA’s 1,000 member churches.

threeDay 3: Chet Cantrell, Christian Activity Center Director
Every day after school at the Christian Activity Center, kids in East St. Louis get a healthy snack and help with their homework. They learn Bible stories and songs, play in the gym, and spend time in the computer lab. It’s a world far removed from how this street—known as a center of prostitution—used to operate. “In the early days our mission was to keep our kids alive,” said Chet Cantrell, who directs the CAC, “but our mandate was bigger than that. We want to help them thrive, so they can be what God intends them to be.Pray for Chet, the ministry team at the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis, and the hundreds of young lives they touch each year.

fourDay 4: Carmen Halsey, Mission Mobilization Director
There are 13 million people in Illinois, and at least 8 million of them do not know Christ. Carmen sees tremendous opportunity for the Gospel. “Our lives begin to make sense when we realize that they are a platform for God’s word to be demonstrated to others. Illinois Baptist Women are embedded into society all across our state. With our resources, we are developing women to recognize and seize everyday opportunities to share the gospel.” Pray for Carmen and Illinois Baptist Women who are mobilized to share Christ. Pray for spiritual awakening in Illinois.

fiveDay 5: Brad Pittman, Church Planter
Davis Junction in Northwest Illinois was a community of more than 3,000 people, but only one church. Until recently. In this town 15 miles south of Rockford, Brad Pittman and his family are planting Grace Fellowship Church. It’s the third location for a multi-site church that started in Ashton and also meets in Amboy.

Brad was a member of the Ashton location for 13 years before joining the staff with pastors Jeremy Horton and Brian McWethy. “We want to be an Acts 1:8 church that not only plants here locally,” he said, “but we’re going into our state, that we’re going into our nation, we’re also going into our world.” Pray for The Pittman family and all church planters in Illinois. Pray for the 322 places and people groups where new churches are needed.

sixDay 6: Chase Abner, Collegiate Evangelism Strategist
“God changed my life through a college ministry supported by IBSA,” Chase says. His salvation as a young adult at SIU Carbondale urges him forward. “Generous giving by Illinois Baptists helps me to assist churches as they reach out to students on campuses across Illinois. These campuses are home to nearly one million students. Before they leave school, we must share Christ with them.” Pray for Chase and the campus ministries he helps start and facilitate.

sevenDay 7: John Mattingly, Church Planting Catalyst
24 new churches were started in Illinois last year. And 13 are in progress in the northwestern region. “Our new church plants in northwest Illinois are building relationships that help bridge the gap of misunderstanding of who Southern Baptists are in the North,” John says. “They are also enjoying a harvest of souls that is due to the on-going relationships between planters and our established rural churches. It is a testimony of the power behind steady giving and praying.” Pray for new ministries to reach the 4 million people who live in non-urban settings in Illinois.

eightDay 8: Rex Alexander, Disaster Relief Coordinator
Rex is one of 85 IBSA missionaries, ministry staff, and church planters. This offering makes it possible for all the team to represent Christ wherever and whenever needed. “We provide opportunities for Disaster Relief workers to bring help, healing, and hope to victims of natural disasters in Illinois and North America,” Rex says. “God uses their skills, and the additional training IBSA provides, to help people physically and spiritually as they attempt to rebuild their lives.” Pray for all the IBSA team, including staff and volunteers. Pray that we will reach the $475,000 goal to keep them serving on our Illinois mission field.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.