“When I came here we had a lot of money in the bank, and we needed to fix that,” said Steven Carne, pastor of Hamilton Baptist Church for five years.
He challenged the congregation regarding financial stewardship.
“God entrusts us with His resources; not to save them for a rainy day, nor to bury them in the ground, but to utilize them to make disciples,” Carne told Hamilton Baptist. “I don’t want Jesus to return and say to us, ‘What have you done with what I have entrusted to you?’
“We don’t want to live in paneled houses while His name is unknown among the nations,” he said.
The church responded to the new pastor’s challenge by unanimously voting to invest more than ever before in God’s Kingdom work. The church began giving 35 percent of its resources to missions causes — an increase over its previous 20 percent — including 12 percent to missions through the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Adding to a 10-year or longer commitment to missions among Native Americans in the Dakotas, the church began an outreach to southern Ghana. The church’s desire to serve is bearing fruit through a community-wide program to serve orphans, foster children and the families who parent them.
“We believe in missions, and the Cooperative Program is part of our missions strategy,” Carne said, referring to the way Southern Baptists work together financially to spread the Gospel worldwide. “We feel God would have us send missionaries throughout the world as the International Mission Board does, to send church planters to underserved populations as the North American Mission Board does, and to train future pastors as our seminaries do. We give to the Cooperative Program because we yearn to be part of this Kingdom-building work.”
Hamilton Baptist Church, organized in 1889, is the only Southern Baptist congregation in the community of 2,000 people about an hour northwest of Washington, D.C. About 300 people gather for Sunday morning worship, and many also participate in home groups throughout the week.
“We seek to create a culture of discipleship,” Carne said. “Our mission as a church is to make disciples for the glory of God. We do that by seeking God through His word and encouraging one another towards godliness as we share our lives together.”
The church faithfully witnesses nationally and internationally, but needs to improve its witness to neighbors and coworkers, Carne said. Outreaches among Native American women and children in the Dakotas include a weekend ladies’ retreat, a ministry to children and a Thanksgiving program.
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Source: Baptist Press