Mission Illinois Offering: Serve

Lisa Sergent —  August 24, 2015

Mission Illinois Offering: ServeHEARTLAND | The Mission Illinois Offering helps IBSA help churches…and together we advance the gospel across our state in many ways.

The 2015 MIO video “Together, In Concert” tells several stories about the work Illinois Baptists support through prayer and giving. Evangelism is “the point of the plow” in all our work, whether it’s mission trips or mission projects, children’s camps or VBS training, or equipping church leaders: the overarching goal is to help churches make disciples.

IBSA offers training in evangelism, discipleship, and missions. More than 20,000 times each year leaders are equipped for ministry. More than 25,000 Illinois Baptists are mobilized for missions.

Mark Emerson, Associate Executive Director of the Church Resources Team, recalls an IBSA church that learned the importance and necessity of missions through its children:

A few years ago they participated in Children’s Ministry Day where their children’s group drove to Springfield. They built a bookshelf for a shelter for battered women. The kids carried this bookshelf up to the door. One of the little girls knocked and then proudly proclaimed to the director when it was opened, “We’re missionaries!”

Now it’s not just the kids, the whole church gets it. Over 70% of their congregation has participated in some form of mission project. They all know they’re missionaries, serving and working together.

Meredith Flynn, Illinois Baptist managing editor shares in the video how she met a teenager whose experience at an IBSA camp, one of many offered each year, changed her life forever:

Hannah Batista arrived at Super Summer knowing hardly anyone. She admits she really didn’t want to attend the annual event held at Greenville College, but the family she was living with encouraged her. That she knew no one in the groups she was assigned to “was a really good thing, because it meant that I wasn’t distracted,” she said. “I could listen to the message that everyone all my life had been trying to give me, but I was finally listening now to it.”

On the last night of the week, in the quiet of her dorm room, she accepted Christ. “I remember I was crying, just so happy and so glad that I knew that Jesus would accept me despite my sin, and I could become a child of Christ,” Hannah said. “I don’t ever want to go back to the life I lived before I came to know Christ.”

She calls the week “an event like no other that I’ve experienced in my life.”

And it was possible because 85 Illinois Baptist missionaries and ministry support staff are able to serve—and many thousands more volunteer each year—through the Mission Illinois Offering.

Will you encourage your church to support the service of IBSA missionaries and ministry staff?

Will you show the video “Together, In Concert” in a worship service Sept. 13?

Lisa Sergent

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Lisa is IBSA Director of Communications. A Missouri native, she moved to Illinois 22 years ago and arrived at IBSA a few years later. Lisa and her husband, Chris, have been married 19 years.