During the Baptist Assembly 2004, jointly organized by the Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) and the Baptist Mission Society (BMS) World Mission, the apostolic mission spirituality was once again ignited in the heart of every Baptist.
Alistair Brown, the General Director of the BMS World Mission reported on the “World Mission Update” session last Saturday morning. She described world mission as essential for life, “It's essential for the lives of the millions of people in physical and spiritual poverty and it's essential for your spiritual life.” This may be a challenge to most people who consider mission as something very far from modern life.
The multimedia presentation was like a story about how God changes lives around the world and in the UK through the BMS mission team. Delegates from the Baptist church family shared stories from their mission lives such as raising funds, evangelizing, and their world mission visions.
Keynote speaker Anna Maffei, Vice President of the Baptist Evangelical Union of Italy, explained that Christians are all to be the bread of life to hungry people. She drew the attention to the spiritual hunger and unrighteousness people are suffering in this world. She emphasized that these are the concerns to all Christians.
"There is a desperate need for justice, wholeness and redemption in this world. We shake our heads at it all - but that is not enough. We need to become aware that our decisions have an impact on the world. We must work for justice so that no man, woman or child has to go to bed hungry each night."
Therefore, she urged Christians to rely on and be fed by the even greater bread - Jesus Christ so that they can become the one who can help to quench the thirst of the others.
"Whilst earthly bread is important, there is bread that is more important still. Jesus said, 'I am the bread of life.” she said.
"We must bring the power of love, truth and forgiveness. Humanity needs to hear different words - Jesus' words. This requires people to offer themselves, not just in tragic situations, but all at the time. We need to become the bread of life ourselves."
The final part of this “World Mission” session covered more practical things about motivating, training, sending and the resourcing of mission. Ten missionaries who have been training at the BMS International Mission Center (IMC) returned and shared their experiences and ideas at the Assembly. Highlighted is the importance of the long-term mission. One BMS worker said, "Building relationships is paramount, it's not about 'smash and grab'. We need to win, befriend, train, release and nurture."
David Kerrigan, BMS Director for Mission announced a piece of encouraging news that more long-term supported partner workers were now being sent from the UK now. He said, “The face of mission is changing. BMS is a multicultural team serving Christians in many nations. It is a privilege as British Baptists to share our resources with our international colleagues.”