Archive for June, 2011

The Call is to Faithfulness

Posted on June 29, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Returning to places of ministry in Southeast Asia have brought to mind the nagging sense of failure with which I left each place of responsibility. Okay, “failure” may be too strong a term; however, when God moved us to new responsibilities and places of service we followed in obedience, but always with a sense we had not done all we should have done.

Maybe it is because of my idealism and goal-driven, type-A personality, but I suspect others share the same sense of wishing more could have been done when there is a change of ministry or location. It was true in my first stateside pastorate. God blessed our ministry, and from any standard of assessment our tenure would be …

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Amazing Singapore

Posted on June 27, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Our sense of being back home hit us broadside when we arrived at Changi International Airport in Singapore after an 11-hour flight from New Zealand. The cleanliness and orderliness defies one’s typical concept of an Asian city. Orchids cascaded down the middle of the baggage carrousel. Within 15 minutes we had processed immigration, picked up our baggage and were in a taxi.

The expressway was like driving through a botanical garden with the thoroughfare lined with manicured grass, tropical foliage and over-hanging colorful bougainvillea. Even chewing gum is prohibited due to the collective consciousness of society to avoid the blight of a discarded blob on a bench or sidewalk! (Bobbye would not want you to know she was guilty of …

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Spontaneous Witness

Posted on June 24, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It has been a wonderful experience to spend this past week in retreat at a beautiful lodge near the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand training global leaders from Crossover International in a strategic approach to church planting. It has refreshed the memory of many personal experiences from our 23 years on the field, and I have drawn from the strong commitment of the IMB to planting indigenous Baptist churches that were doctrinally sound and spiritually strong.

Much research has been done and books written about church planting, church growth and church planting movements. We can learn a lot from both success and failures practically, but we should be reminded winning the lost and gathering them into a fellowship of …

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Accountability Group

Posted on June 22, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

One of the highlights of the Southern Baptist Convention was a dinner and fellowship with the six men (and their wives) who serve as my accountability group. The group has evolved over the years, but they are all prominent pastors and leaders who know and love me. The have a passionate devotion to missions and are committed to my success, not in terms of personal or worldly acclaim but in fulfilling God’s calling and remaining steadfast in spiritual character and behavior.

They know what is going on in my life and stayed abreast of issues impacting the IMB when I carried that leadership responsibility. They understood my vulnerability to controversy and monitored my response to criticism. In periodic conference calls …

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Traveling as Lifestyle

Posted on June 20, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We have been traveling for a long time–lots of travel. I have always been under the illusion it would diminish, but the last 30 years it has become our lifestyle. Once I moved into a regional leadership role on the field it became a necessity to fly to 15 countries from India to the South Pacific counseling missionaries, guiding strategies, formulating budgets and nurturing relationships with national partners.

As president of the IMB I found that travel consistently occupied 70% of my calendar. When someone asked me where I lived I would usually reply, “Delta Airlines…but I pick up my mail and do my laundry in Richmond, VA.” Staff joked that if I did not have a trip for several …

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The Gates of Hell

Posted on June 17, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It seems the church is on the defensive, scrambling for survival in a humanistic world that is attacking Christian values and the advance of God’s kingdom. Society is increasingly hostile to our Christian witness. We seem to be intimidated by a pervasive cynicism and influenced by hedonistic, carnal behavior.

The Southern Baptist Convention bemoans a continuing decline in baptisms and diminishing membership, and a large percentage of our churches are plateaued. Many, if they are not dying have lost any impact on our changing culture.

We should not be surprised that Satan, the ubiquitous adversary, is actively opposing all that would bring glory to our Sovereign God. He is the god of this world; he is master over the dominions …

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Experiencing the Convention

Posted on June 16, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The heat hit 107 degrees in Phoenix this week so no one wasted time in seeking refuge in the air conditioned comfort of hotels and the convention hall. It was strange to have no responsibilities or speaking engagements after 17 years of attending the Southern Baptist Convention as president of the IMB. It was delightful to hang out in the exhibit hall and visit friends in the corridors as other messengers do. I did not envy Tom Elliff, new IMB president who I encountered rushing to one of 13 meetings and appearances on his agenda for the week!

So the absence of personal responsibilities may have shaped my perspective to see the 2011 convention as a positive, inspirational annual meeting, …

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Children: Our Legacy

Posted on June 13, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Spending a week with five of our rapidly growing grandchildren, each with their unique personalities and interests, impressed me with the incredibly challenging task of nurturing them in the Lord.  Their knowledge of the Bible, frequent talk about how they love involvement in their churches and readiness to vocalize prayers in our devotional times were assuring that they are on the right track.

Through the Psalmist, God exhorts His people, “Tell the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done…He commanded our fathers, that they should teach them to their children; that the generation to come might know…that they should put their confidence in God” (Ps. 78:4-7). What a …

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Grandkids Week!

Posted on June 13, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

This has been a busy spring of travel and diverse activities.  Bobbye had the privilege of participating in a mission trip to Moldova to speak at conferences for pastors’ wives in March, and Jerry led an 8-week study on mission strategy at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison through April. We embarked on a 12-day road trip that took us to eight states in early May.  The itinerary included a seminar on Spiritual Warfare in Kentucky, training new missionaries at orientation in Richmond and attending the board meeting at Columbia International University in South Carolina where Jerry later spoke at graduation.

We have spoken at two state convention-sponsored senior adult retreats–in Columbus and Hattiesburg (I don’t know why we are getting …

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