Southern Baptist International Mission Board Expresses Vision to Work Through ‘Every Church’ in ‘Every Nation’

The Ushindi Choir from the Swahili Evangelical Refugee Fellowship of Atlanta in Clarkston, Ga., sing to more than 1,600 attendees of the International Mission Board Banquet in the Sheraton Hotel in Birmingham, Ala. The group was formed from a church plant of Congolese Refugees. Photo by Matt Jones

Songs of worship in Swahili, a new missionary testimony in American Sign Language and Gospel presentations by missionaries in Mandarin, Hausa, Russian and Fon representing a biblical view of the church worshipping God for eternity.

These were among the highlights of an International Mission Board dinner prior to the SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

“The IMB exists to partner with churches to send missionaries, to make disciples, plant churches and train leaders among unreached people for the glory of God,” IMB President Paul Chitwood said. “To do this, it is imperative that people have the opportunity to hear the Gospel in their language.”

Kevin Rance, who was appointed as a missionary during the Tuesday afternoon SBC session, shared his testimony in American Sign Language. Dinner guests listened in silence, while reading subtitles on screen, as Rance told how it is important for Deaf people in every culture to see the Gospel signed in a way they can understand.

“I want you to know that every church, including your church, has a role to play in every nation hearing or seeing the Gospel in a language they can understand,” signed Rance, who is being sent by Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Bogart, Ga., to reach the Deaf among Southeast Asian peoples.

Chitwood told the 1,600 church leaders and members attending the June 10 dinner that even with tools such as Google translator, Rosetta Stone and “a seemingly endless array” of language learning programs, more than 2,100 languages — including 200 sign languages — do not have Scripture translations that share a clear Gospel message.

At the IMB’s convention exhibit, messengers were given the opportunity to help fund a translation of the Bible into the language of a Southeast Asian people group. More than $6,000 had been given toward the project, which costs $39,000, on the first day of the exhibit, Chitwood reported.

“This is one people group and one translation project, but it’s a great example of a small part that every church plays in every nation hearing the Gospel. And every nation will hear the Gospel,” he said. “We know that. How do we know that? We’ve seen the vision.”

He referenced Revelation 7:9-10, which reads: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'”

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Source: Baptist Press