Archives For Mission Illinois

Great Partners

ib2newseditor —  September 19, 2016

Recently my wife, Beth, left town for a few days to visit our sons in the Chicago area and to attend a bridal shower for our soon-to-be daughter-in-law Alyssa. I had a couple of local commitments, and so I agreed to take care of the home front while she was gone. I thought to myself, “This won’t be that hard. I’ll just do all the things she normally does, plus my stuff. There should be plenty of time left over to relax as well.”

How wrong I was. After a few days of preparing my own meals, doing the laundry, tending to the dog, and a dozen other surprisingly time-consuming duties, I realized the lawn needed mowing. Now before you judge me, let me point out that my wife says she likes to mow the lawn. She loves being outside, considers it good exercise, says it gives her a sense of accomplishment, and even uses it as prayer time. So I let her mow.

Our missionaries and staff couldn’t do what we do without the partnership of IBSA churches and the generous gifts of Illinois Baptists, especially through the Mission Illinois Offering.

Beth chose to be absent, however, on one of the hottest and most humid Saturdays of the summer. On top of that, our self-propelling mower recently stopped self-propelling. Its handle is held together by little plastic ties. And at least two of its wheels wobble badly. As I forced it up the hills and around the curves of our yard, I seemed to remember Beth saying something about perhaps needing a new one.

During the many times I stopped to wipe the perspiration off my brow and out of my eyes, I found myself thinking how much I missed not just my wife, but my life partner. I pictured trying to do both of our jobs all the time, plus parenting and serving in the church, and all the other responsibilities that we share. And I realized again that I can only do what I do because of what she does.

The following Sunday I was scheduled to speak at one of our state’s most generous missions-giving churches, though they are far from the largest. In 2015, this faithful church gave by far the state’s largest Mission Illinois Offering.

They are between pastors right now, and I had already planned to try and encourage them from Philippians 1, where Paul says, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you I always pray with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”

As I introduced the text, I found myself telling them about the unsustainable few days I had just spent without my wife. I told them those days had really made me appreciate the value of a good partner. And then I thanked them sincerely, from my heart, for their partnership in the gospel, not just this year, but for so many years.

Without the partnership of local IBSA churches, we could not have planted 23 new congregations last year, or delivered 20,000 trainings to pastors and church leaders, or mobilized more than 24,000 missions volunteers.

Across the state this month, hundreds of IBSA churches will receive the Mission Illinois Offering, focused on reaching more than 8 million lost people here in our state. Some offerings will total a few hundred dollars, and some several thousand. But together, they help form a powerful partnership in the gospel that gives my prayers joy as well.

Beth is back, and this week we bought a new lawnmower. It’s one small way I can thank my wife for being a great partner. Our missionaries and staff couldn’t do what we do without the partnership of IBSA churches and the generous gifts of Illinois Baptists, especially through the Mission Illinois Offering. Thanks for being great partners.

Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org.

Offering Day

ib2newseditor —  September 18, 2016

Mission Illinois Offering  Week of Prayer Day 8

MIO-box-smallToday many churches across the state will collect the Mission Illinois Offering. With a goal of $475,000, the ministries in this prayer guide depend on faithful giving in order to continue reaching people for Christ. The Mission Illinois Offering is the most direct channel through which Illinois Baptists can fund mission work close to home and really invest in the things important to us here.

Mission Illinois encourages the work of local congregations, is built on solid Baptist doctrine, and helps share Christ in every setting where IBSA missionaries serve. Missions giving through this offering helps equip and mobilize people to reach our specific mission field—the lost and unreached people in Illinois.

Pray for IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams and all the missionaries and staff of IBSA. Pray for generous giving during your own church’s offering for state missions.

Learn more about the Mission Illinois Offering

Watch Nate Adams’ video, “Turn on the light.”

Mission Illinois Offering Week of Prayer Day 6

MIO-box-small75% of Illinois’ 13 million people don’t know Jesus Christ. Almost 2 million residents are from outside the U.S. and many more have not understood their need for salvation. In Chicagoland, for example, “every block is a different world, every community is a different community with different races, different beliefs,” said Kenyatta Smith, planter and pastor of Another Chance church in Chicago’s Inglewood neighborhood.

In an area filled with killing and violence, Smith is dedicated to bringing the hope of God back into this community and offering people “another chance” just like he got, through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. And he’s planting a second congregation in nearby—but very different — Evergreen Park.

Learn more about the Mission Illinois Offering

Pray for spiritual awakening in Illinois, and the unreached people who live in our state.

Watch Kenyatta Smith’s story, “Reaching unreached people in Illinois.”

IBSA conferences and camps

ib2newseditor —  September 15, 2016

Mission Illinois Offering Day 5

MIO-box-smallHundreds of children, teens, and church leaders visit IBSA’s camps at Streator and Lake Sallateeska. Whether for a quiet spiritual retreat, or a fun week filled with games and summertime activities, these sites are home to many fond memories. And many young people have come to know Christ and have committed to ministry. The missions camps challenge students to think about mission work locally and worldwide. And worship and leadership conferences held at Christian colleges train teens to be leaders in their own churches.

“People who might not be as receptive in another setting are open to hearing the gospel” in a camp or retreat setting, Mike Young said of the Streator camp.

Pray for expansion of our camp facilities and programs, Steve Hamrick who leads student music conferences, camp directors Philip Hall and Mike Young, and the staff and volunteer leaders of Super Summer and other life-changing experiences.

Watch this slideshow of students enjoying their camping experience at Streator and Lake Sallateeska Baptist Camps.

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Mission Illinois Offering Devotion Day 4

MIO-box-smallLily Ohl grew up thinking Chicago is a scary place. But the 17-year-old from Sherman found during ChicaGO Week that many people were open to hearing the Gospel. Each summer, teens travel to the city and assist church planters in reaching their communities. They learn firsthand how new churches are started and get practice sharing Christ. “It’s a big city, but people are willing to listen and you can really change a life,” said Ohl.

Showing students the value of planting new churches is just one way IBSA is leading efforts to reach America’s third largest city, where less than 10% of people are affiliated with an evangelical church.

Pray for the salvation of Chicago, and IBSA’s Chicagoland church planting team: Tim Bailey, Dennis Conner, Jorge Melendez, and John Yi.

Learn more about the Mission Illinois Offering at missionillinois.org.

Watch Lily Ohl’s story, “Students on mission in Chicago.”

Mission Illinois Offering Devotion Day 3

MIO-box-smallThis spring seven Illinois women set aside their daily responsibilities for a week and said “yes” to a call to South Asia. There they worked with Muslim women. Team member Lindsay McDonald said it was a very dark and oppressed place, “but I think in the darkness, we were also allowed to see hope.” Even in a place of persecution, women raised their hands wanting to become followers of Christ.

“We went expecting to see certain things and then God delivers the unexpected!” said Carmen Halsey.

IBSA aids churches in sending more than 22,000 people each year to serve on mission teams, in their communities and around the world.

Pray for IBSA’s Carmen Halsey and Dwayne Doyle and the teams they help train. And pray for your church’s involvement in missions.

Learn more about the Mission Illinois Offering

Watch Lindsay McDonald’s story, “Mobilizing volunteers worldwide.”

Investing in churches

ib2newseditor —  September 5, 2016

MIO-box-smallNow is the time of year when most Illinois Baptist churches are preparing to promote and receive the annual “Mission Illinois Offering,” which is devoted to advancing the gospel among more than eight million lost people, right here in our state.

Most of the time when we describe our mission priorities here in Illinois, we talk about the desperate need for new churches, especially in northern Illinois, and in large, lost cities like Chicago. And indeed, the MIO is helping start about 25 new churches every year.

And many times we talk about the vast and strategic mission field of Illinois college campuses, where thousands and thousands of tomorrow’s American and international leaders are being trained, often with little or no exposure to the gospel. The MIO supports collegiate ministries too, on more than two dozen campuses.

MIO supports our greatest missionary asset: the local church.

Your gift through the Mission Illinois Offering also helps support the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis, and human need ministries like disaster and hunger relief, and IBSA-coordinated mission trips from Illinois to the ends of the earth.

But I received a promotional e-mail the other day that reminded me we often don’t talk enough about one of the most important ministries that the MIO makes possible—the ongoing investment of our missionaries and staff in the health and evangelistic growth of IBSA churches. Local churches are our greatest missionary asset as Illinois Baptists, and our investment in their health, growth, and leaders is as important as planting new churches, reaching college campuses, or meeting human and spiritual needs.

Watch the video, “Turn on the Light,” to learn more about why Nate Adams supports the Mission Illinois Offering.

The e-mail was from a church consulting firm. It offered training over a 3-day period on topics like church health models, conflict resolution, overcoming barriers to church growth, and individual church leader development. I thought to myself, ‘That’s what our staff does all the time!”

IBSA carefully measures our staff’s time investment in training and consulting with local churches. Consistently we have had direct consultation with 750-800 churches each year. Considering that ministry is delivered primarily by about 20 traveling staff, that means each staff member is serving an average of 40 churches, all year long!

But what really caught my attention about the church consulting firm’s letter was the cost of its 3-day training—$950 per student, with a minimum of 15 students. That would be over $14,000 for three days of help. To do that for 800 churches would cost more than $11 million. Our Mission Illinois Offering goal this year is $475,000.

I realize that’s not a precise apples-to-apples comparison, since Cooperative Program giving also funds our state mission work, and since IBSA does far more than training and consulting. But I hope it makes the point for you that it made for me. Every IBSA church has a staff of church health and growth consultants at its disposal, and their help is valuable! Your church’s gifts through the MIO and CP enable that staff to be available for your and hundreds of other IBSA churches—week in and week out.

Sometimes it’s awkward to ask for financial support. And maybe it’s a little easier to ask churches to support church planting and missions than to point to the “return on investment” that churches also receive through training and consulting. But if you stop and think about the value of what your church both receives and provides for other churches through your state missions giving, I hope it will make you want to give a truly generous gift through the Mission Illinois Offering this year.

Learn more about the Mission Illinois Offering and Week of Prayer September 11-18 at MissionIllinois.org.

Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org.