Our church hosted the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Missouri this past weekend. It was my privilege to translate for Roger Marquez from Guatemala at the annual missions banquet on Friday evening. He expressed gratitude to the BGCM for our ongoing partnership with Baptists in the western region of the country. He also challenged our churches to continue providing leadership training for pastors and leaders there. I accompanied Roger on Saturday afternoon to Farmington, MO, (a 5 hour, 300 mile trip) where he preached on Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church there. FBC Farmington sent a missions team last April to work with the FBC of Quetzaltenango where Roger pastors. He was able to thank the church for their support of his church's ministry and renew acquaintances with many of the team members who went to Guatemala last year.
One of the exciting things about the convention in addition to Roger's visit was the adoption of a new 5-year strategy plan entitled First Priority 2015. It builds upon our previous 5-year plan and also envisions some significant changes. Not the least of these is a name change for the BGCM to ChurchNet. We'll continue to be identified as the BGCM legally, but will operate under the name ChurchNet in the future. The name captures more of what we see ourselves being and doing--continuing to give first priority to serving churches but helping to do so by connecting churches and pastors to resources that can help them more effectively carry out their ministries. Our Mission Statement was only slightly tweaked and continues to express our reason for existence: "Our mission is serving churches as they fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission."
One final blessing of the weekend was convening a meeting of our church's missions committee together with the BGCM's Missions Mobilization Team to hear the pastor who is working among the Lakota Indians on the Lower Brule Reservation in South Dakota. Our youth and several adults will be returning there this summer, and we're also encouraging BGCM churches to consider adopting this work as a national partnership, much like Guatemala is our international focus. Bakary, the pastor, is a native of the Ivory Coast and is doing an outstanding job of ministering to the needs of Native Americans on the Lower Brule.