We live in a world full of frustration and fear. A fallen humanity struggles to find meaning in days filled with suffering. This frustration and fear could be said about nearly every era of humanity, yet that doesn’t make it any less true for those living in today’s difficult times. It’s no wonder, with fires, floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes bombarding our cities seemingly without end; divisions between people of different cultures, nations, and ideologies attempting to drive people apart; and acts of violence in our neighborhoods and cities and threats of violence between nations.
All of these things make me aware that our world, and all of us who dwell therein, are deeply in need of King Jesus. Our small conference of churches, led by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, is proclaiming and demonstrating the gospel of truth and hope to fallen people. God is using the pastors, leaders, and congregations of the NAB in our unique contexts to impact our world locally and globally. Small churches and large churches alike are passionately serving others as Christ taught. I am full of joy and thankful to God for you. Among the myriad ways we are partnering where God is at work, here are just a few that currently excite me.
I have visited numerous churches over the last months, and each one is teaching and preaching the Word of God, discipling others into a lifelong process of sanctification, and calling their communities to a redemptive relationship with Jesus Christ. And new congregations are reaching new people groups. Just this past week I participated in a joy-filled ordination service for Paul Sunkari, the pastor of Indian Christian Church of Sacramento, whose congregation is seeking to reaching immigrants from India through a faithful Gospel message.
Thirty-five NAB leaders just recently convened in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the latest gathering of Blue Ocean, which brings the total number of leaders who have gone through the three separate cohorts to more than eighty. There is clear momentum building as Blue Ocean connects pastors and leaders across the NAB for training, teaching, and discussion about how to implement missional theology into practical ministry and an everyday reality for our churches and leaders.
Through partnership with you and others like you all across the NAB, by the end of the year two new missionary families will reach international fields. One family, Jeff and Sonya Kilmartin, has already arrived in Cameroon and are finding their footing at the seminary in Ndu and reconnecting with Fulbe communities they served in during their previous trips to Nigeria through NAB partnerships. The second family, Brandon and Marci Jones and their three children, will soon be leaving for Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, to work with Lyndell Campbell-Réquia at the Baptist seminary, equipping pastors and leaders for ministry in their cities, towns, and villages.
None of this is done solely through the international office, regional ministers, the General Council, or even NAB pastors. We are all NAB, and it is together, through the grace of God and partnership with Christ, that we are able to accomplish any of this amazing life-giving work.
I am proud to be part of the NAB. All of you inspire me greatly.
In God’s grace and love,