Missions at First Baptist Church Callahan
Why and how we do missions
Every follower of Jesus has been called to share. While some have a specific call to share vocationally, all are called to go and to make disciples. Because of this opportunity that has been given to all, First Baptist Church Callahan seeks to equip its members to fulfill the call to go and make disciples. Many years ago a challenge was accepted to be more than just a check writing church, but to be a church that sends people to make a difference in the lives of people around the globe. Checks are still written, but now some of these resources are hand delivered as members participate in the Kingdom work.
The challenge to go and make disciples is an overwhelming task. But, it is a task that Jesus broke into specific regions in his challenge recorded in the book of Acts, chapter one, verse eight. He tells us, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Ends of the Earth represented increasing geographic circles around the followers with whom Jesus was speaking that day. Those regions have been defined in terms of how they relate to the people of First Baptist Church Callahan.
Jerusalem represented the city right around them, the place where they lived and worked. For the members of FBCC, this represents Nassau and Duval counties.
Judea was an area where the culture was similar, and was geographically close to Jerusalem. At FBCC, Judea is interpreted as a place where one can go and do ministry in one day, then return home that same night. Thus, Judea is North Florida and South Georgia.
Samaria was the area where people had a different culture and a different take on religion. It was further away than Judea, but the people there were still of a similar language and heritage. At FBCC, Samaria is the United States.
Ends of the Earth was the same for the believers in Jesus’ day as it is for present day readers of His Word. However, there is unprecedented access to reach the Ends of the Earth now than has every been present throughout history, due to technological advances in travel and communication.
First Baptist Church Callahan is a part of the Southern Baptist Convention. While each Southern Baptist Church in the convention is independent from other Southern Baptist Churches, the individual churches cooperate together to share in the disciple making process. Much like the Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Ends of the Earth regions, there are geographic regions within the organizational structures organizing ministry resources within the Southern Baptist Convention. First Baptist Church Callahan cooperates with the various regions of the Southern Baptist Denomination.
Northeast Florida Baptist Association
First Baptist Church Callahan, along with all of the other Southern Baptist Churches in the northeast Florida area are members of this group. Contributions are made to this group financially, and various types of support are also received from this association. Many times the association organizes trainings that would be cost prohibitive for any one church to have on its own. The Northeast Florida Baptist Association also helps to fund community wide evangelistic events.
For more information on the Northeast Florida Baptist Association, you can visit their website at http://www.nefba.org.
Florida Baptist Convention
All Southern Baptist Churches in the state of Florida belong to the Florida Baptist Convention. The Florida Baptist Convention has been integral in the early stages of partnership development with several Judea partners. In addition to providing training and encouragement to churches and staffs, the Florida Baptist Convention helps with church planting throughout the state, and contributes significantly to the management of several conference centers and the Baptist College of Florida.
The mission of the Florida Baptist Convention is to inspire and to equip - through word and deed - Florida Baptist churches and associations to accomplish the Great Commission. It accomplishes this mission by facilitating the discovery of needs and potential, providing customized resources, encouraging the exchange of ideas for growth and effectiveness in mission and ministry tasks that are culturally relevant and linguistically sensitive which will result in evangelism/believer development, church starting, leadership development, strengthened existing churches and strengthened financial resources through multi-cultural development and inter-divisional cooperation.
The Florida Baptist Convention is funded through the Cooperative Program, which is a voluntary offering each Southern Baptist church gives to fund various denominational programs. More information can be found about the Florida Baptist Convention by visiting their website at http://www.flbaptist.org.
North American Mission Board (or NAMB)
The North American Mission Board exists to work with churches, associations and state conventions in mobilizing Southern Baptists as a missional force to impact North America with the gospel of Jesus Christ through evangelism and church planting.
They accomplish this through “Send North America”, their national strategy for mobilizing churches to plant churches and mobilizing church planters and other missionaries to assist with those efforts.
NAMB has been instrumental in connecting First Baptist Church Callahan to strategic partners in North America. First Baptist Church Callahan supports NAMB directly and through the Cooperative Program. To find more information on NAMB please visit their website at www.namb.net.
International Mission Board (or IMB)
The mission of the IMB (International Mission Board) is to make disciples of all peoples in fulfillment of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20. It assists (not replaces) the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to reach the Ends of the Earth. Funded through the Cooperative Program and individual donations, the IMB supports over 4800 missionaries throughout the world.
Through the help of the IMB, First Baptist Church Callahan has become a Strategy Coordinating Church for two unreached people groups. This means the people of First Baptist Church Callahan serve as the missionaries to these people groups.
The IMB is supported directly in addition to contributions made to the Cooperative Program. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is a major source of funding for the IMB. To find more information about the IMB, please visit their website at www.imb.org.
The Cooperative Program is how Southern Baptist Churches work together to fund many of the Great Commission efforts. Each church decides how much it will give to the state convention. Each state’s convention then decides how it will allocate these funds. Cooperative Program dollars fund the ministries of the state convention, NAMB and the IMB, as well as six Southern Baptist Seminaries. It should be noted that local associations, like the Northeast Florida Baptist Association, do not receive support from the Cooperative Program.
The first step can be the most difficult step in getting involved in missions. This section will serve as a guide to make missions personal. Without your involvement, missions is not complete. This section will help to introduce you to the various ways you can get involved with missions specifically at First Baptist Church Callahan.
Prayer is an essential element of missions. When Jesus saw the plentiful harvest with few laborers to work it, He instructed His disciples to “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matt. 9:38) So to help with this, First Baptist Church Callahan has established a few areas to help you focus your prayers.
Daily Prayer Emails
Every year at the Global Impact Celebration, a Prayer Calendar is handed out to help people pray specifically for a missionary partner each day.
Praying for unreached people groups
There are close to 3,000 people groups who have yet to hear the name of Jesus. Praying for these groups is a great way to help them hear the message. A book called Operation World (http://www.operationworld.org) or a group called the Joshua Project (http://www.joshuaproject.net) can guide you in praying specifically for unreached and least reached people groups.
Denominational Prayer Resources
At each level of leadership, the Southern Baptist Convention offers prayer guides. To find out more information please visit www.flbaptist.org, www.namb.net, or www.imb.org to utilize denomination resources.
The Regional Teams of First Baptist Church Callahan are in constant need of prayer as they make decisions on the wisest places to invest Kingdom Resources. These teams also work to make Strategic Partnerships with new ministries, and make decisions on which missionaries to support on a monthly basis.
Trip-Specific Prayer Teams
Each team that leaves from First Baptist Church Callahan needs prayer partners. Teams are typically commissioned the Sunday before they leave, and a flag is placed on the stage as a reminder of the trip. Additionally, you can check the website at www.callahangic.org for upcoming missions trips that are in need of prayer. And, you can sign up to get more information about being a trip prayer partner at the Global Impact Celebration, or by calling the church office.
While First Baptist Church Callahan seeks to do more than just write checks, financial contributions are needed. Each year at the Global Impact Celebration, and sometimes at special services throughout the year, members of First Baptist Church Callahan are asked to prayerfully consider making a commitment to give an amount to missions above and beyond their regular tithes. These gifts are divided up amongst the 4 regional teams (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Ends of the Earth) to be distributed on the mission field.
Faith Commitment Budget
The Faith Budget is the name given to the missions budget at First Baptist Church Callahan. It is called a Faith Commitment Budget because members are asked to commit by faith an amount to give during our Global Impact Celebration. Many times this gift can only be accomplished if God provides the resources. So, it is by faith that you write down a number. The church does not know who has committed what amount, but will sum up the amounts that are committed. Based on those numbers, a budget for that year is created, and by faith, week-by-week, money is collected and distributed to impact Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Ends of the Earth.
Why no special offerings or fundraisers
You may have noticed the absence of fundraisers at First Baptist Church Callahan. And, that is because of the belief that God’s people have the resources to fund what He has called them to do. Also, if the people of First Baptist Church Callahan are giving by faith the amount God has called them to give, they will not have extra money left over for fundraisers.
It is a simple two-letter word but requires a great deal of faith to enact. GO. This is the command that Jesus gave to His followers, “go make disciples.” At First Baptist Church Callahan there are several options for you to consider when being obedient to how God might like you to go.
Short Term trip
Each year several (20+) opportunities exist for you to go on a mission trip. Some Jerusalem trips will last a few hours, while some Ends of the Earth opportunities might be two weeks. Short-term trips visit with strategic partners to help accomplish a goal of the partnership. Some of these trips are planned well in advance, while others, like some of our disaster relief trips, happen very quickly. Short-term trips give you an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and minister to others.
Extended Term Trip (6 weeks to 2 years)
Extended trips are those that ask you to stay longer than 2 weeks. Typically, these are 6 weeks to 2 years. Some of these opportunities are specifically with our strategic partners, while other extended trip opportunities are with denominational resources like NAMB or the IMB. These trips require a greater time commitment, but do not expect you to live on the mission field for the rest of your life. You will typically not go to language school, but may have an orientation and will definitely have a debriefing time with the sending organization.
This option is for those God has called to go and serve full time on the mission field. If this is an option you would like to consider, you are encouraged to speak with one of the pastors of First Baptist Church Callahan. To accomplish this goal, it is highly recommended that you serve under a sending agency like the IMB, NAMB, Pioneers, New Tribes, etc. These types of agencies can help you tremendously with financial, personal, and spiritual accountability. While God calls all of us to be on mission with Him, not all are called to serve as a career. The pastors of First Baptist Church Callahan will be excited to walk through these steps with you should you think God might be leading you in this direction.
This section will serve as an overview of the general process of getting involved with a short-term trip. You will learn how and where to find information about short-term trips, how to apply for one of these trips, how to fund this trip, and how to learn about the logistics of travel.
Most trips also require a background check to be current with the church. If you already have a current background check, this will be sufficient. If you do not already have a current background check already on file with the church, this will be necessary for you to complete before participating in most trips.
If you are unable to fill out an application online, you can contact the church office for an alternate method.
Each trip will have its own set of logistics that are specific to that trip or region. Here are a few generalities that you might want to consider that will be common.
For all international trips, you will be required to have a passport. This is a requirement of the United States, not a requirement of the church. If you do not have a passport, you will not be able to go on any trip that leaves the borders of the United States. Passports can be applied for in person at the main post office in Jacksonville, or at the courthouse in Yulee. You can visit www.travel.state.gov to find information about costs and can fill out your application online to save time. You will need to have two “Passport Style” photos that can be obtained from many different locations including CVS, Walgreens, Sam’s Club, and many other photo centers. Because of the specialized requirements of these photos, it is recommended that you visit one of these stores and not try and take this picture yourself.
Most international trips require, or highly recommend, that you have additional vaccinations and medicines for the trip. The costs of these medications are not included in the cost of your trip. These medications are in addition to the trip fee. However, many insurance plans will cover some or all of the costs of certain medications, so it is advised that you check with your medical insurance first.
To find out in advance what vaccines or medicines are recommended or required, you can visit www.cdc.gov/travel and enter your destination(s). Typically routine vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine (also called DTP), varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Other common vaccines that are recommended are hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and usually some sort of pill that will be taken while traveling for malaria prevention.
Other preventative medications may also be prescribed to help with situations should they arise. Certain antibiotics can be prescribed should you develop traveler’s diarrhea while in country. It is also recommended that travelers take a small assortment of routine over-the-counter medications that include anti-diarrheal medicines, allergy medications like Benadryl, antibiotic ointment, and pain and fever reducers like Tylenol or Advil. Your team leader will typically have a small first aid kit for scrapes and bruises, but bandages are also recommended. You should also have enough of your regular prescriptions to last at least one week longer than your scheduled trip.
To receive these vaccines and prescriptions, most primary doctors will not be able to help. Most travelers visit the Jacksonville Travel Clinic http://www.travelclinicjacksonville.com or the Ware County Health Department in Waycross, Georgia. (912-283-1875). Other locations are available, but these two are the most popular.
For trips in the Samaria and EOTE regions, travelers insurance will be purchased for you and is included in your trip fees. This insurance will help provide you with emergency medical care, and transportation out of country (if international) to a hospital facility able to handle your emergency. You are also required to have personal health insurance.
The team leaders of each trip will furnish you with a list of supplies that are specific to the particular region and activity you will be doing while in that region. However, here are a few tips that can help make the trip as smooth as possible.
For travel in an airplane, make sure you have your bible, all your medications, at least one change of clothes, and a few snacks packed in your carry-on bag. On rare occasions, your checked bag might get delayed, and it is good to have essential supplies in your carry-on bag just in case.
For most trips, it is a good idea to have a bible, flashlight or headlamp, refillable water bottle, insect repellent, earplugs, camera, journal, pen, batteries, and any electrical converters you may need. Depending on your cell phone carrier, your phone may function outside of the United States, but with some carriers the costs to use your phone can be very expensive. Your team leader will have abilities to send messages home whether that is with a cell phone, satellite phone, or GPS messaging device. Most of the time, it is best to leave your phone at home, or simply plan to use it as a flashlight, camera, or clock.