American Baptists Make New Commitments to Missions

The board of directors of American Baptist International Ministries made new commitments to mission partnership and missionary sending at its meeting last week in Denver, Colo.

In recent years, International Ministries (IM) staff have been developing a mission partnership with leaders of the Baptist Convention of Zambia and with American Baptists who have become directly involved in the life and work of Zambian Baptists, according to office of communications for American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA).

Under the leadership of Dr. Walter Parrish II, the American Baptist Churches of the South (ABCOTS) has played a vital role in the development of this partnership, and has established its own Sister Convention relationship with the Zambian convention.

"It has been a special privilege to help sisters and brothers from Zambia and ABCOTS as they have worked together for the cause of Christ in Africa,” said the Rev. Eleazar Ziherambere, IM's area director for Africa. “I am also very excited to see International Ministries and the Baptist Convention of Zambia deepen and formalize the mission partnership we have been developing for years."

During last week’s meeting, the board of directors also authorized staff of IM to begin screening new candidates for missionary service throughout the world.

After a two-year freeze on appointing new missionaries, and after American Baptists' “amazing response” to the 2004 World Mission Offering, the board expressed its faith that God will continue to move churches to provide the resources needed to move ahead in mission.

Charles Jones, IM's acting executive director, noted that all new missionary appointments would function within the Missionary Partnership Networks approach to missionary support that IM began to introduce in 2003.

"The board and staff of IM are fully committed both to responsible stewardship, and to abound in hope, trusting in the Lord who calls us to glorify God in all the earth, by crossing cultural boundaries to make disciples of Jesus Christ," Jones said.

As the service organization of American Baptist Churches USA, American Baptist International Ministries is involved in overseas mission work in dozens of countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America and Europe. The Valley Forge, Pennsylvania-based organization relates to more than 500 educational institutions and 125 hospitals and medical facilities. International Ministries missionaries work in partnership with some 15,000 trained national workers, who serve about 22,000 congregations and nearly 3,000,000 baptized members.