Page challenges attendees to make commitment to missions, ministry togethercomment (0)
November 21, 2013
By Grace Thornton
When the tide started receding quickly from Indonesia’s Simeulue island in December 2004, its residents were tempted to pick up the mother lode of fish left behind on the beach.
But they knew better.
They’d been told by their parents that some of their ancestors had attempted to cash in on a cache of fish in low tide in 1907 and were swept away by a giant wave when the waters came back.
So they ran for the hills instead.
When “scores of thousands of people” in Indonesia were swept into eternity by the 2004 tsunami, on the island of Simeulue nearly everyone was saved, Frank Page told those present at the Tuesday night gathering of the Nov. 12–13 Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting in Huntsville.
“They had never seen a tsunami, but they had been taught from generation to generation what to look for. They paid attention to the lessons of history,” said Page, president of the Executive Committee (EC) of the Southern Baptist Convention. “We need to do the same. We have a marvelous heritage.”
Preaching from Hebrews 12:1–3, Page said that being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses has great power.
“If there’s one thing we need to do, it’s to not forget the lessons of the past,” he said.
One of those lessons, Page said, is that we can “do better together than we can do on our own” through the Cooperative Program (CP).
“I want to be a part of a movement of God to plant churches in places that I will only read about,” he said. “I want to work with patience with other brothers and sisters and see us join strings together.”
Does that mean the CP is perfect? No, Page said.
“But does that mean it’s being tweaked across this nation? Yes, it does,” he said. “I want you to join me tonight in a commitment to missions and ministry together.”
Page said he challenges young pastors not to give “blind commitment” to the CP but to take it apart, study it and put it back together.
“Take a looksee, and I believe in the end you’ll say ‘wow.’ I believe you’ll say it’s a race we can run together,” he said.
Alabama continues to be the No. 1 giver through the CP, giving almost $18 million to national causes last year, Page said.
“That’s not chump change. That’s serious missions money,” he said.
And the EC is serious about being partners in God’s work, Page said.
“When the money comes through the national office, it never stays more than four days,” he said. “We want it to get to the field as fast as possible.”
Page said they continue to cut funds used for administration in order to send more to the International Mission Board.
Doing more with less
“We’re convinced we can do more with less — that we can be less bureaucratic and do more to win people to Christ,” he said. “I want to see every man, woman, boy and girl presented with the gospel.”
It’s not about the denomination or even the church — “we’re in it for Christ,” he said. “He’s the Author and Finisher of our faith.”
Let’s win this nation and world for Him together, Page said.
Also during the Tuesday night service, convention messengers heard music from Charles Billingsley, songwriter and worship pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va., and a combined choir of Whitesburg Baptist Church, Huntsville, and the Alabama Singing Men and Singing Women.