Rankin Connecting

SBC–Illusion of Unity

Posted on June 28, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

There was a great deal of rhetoric appealing for unity preceding and at the recent Southern Baptist Convention. Meanwhile, not so subtle suspicions were being expressed and barbs being cast in articles, blogs and verbal communication toward those perceived of tilting toward reform theology.

A vast diversity among those who identify themselves as Southern Baptist is a reality. David Dockery, in his book “Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal,” identified no less than 14 distinct segments that were fragmenting the SBC. It is no longer a simple schism between conservatives and moderates, the divide is broadening among younger, innovative leaders and those perceived as older traditionalists. There is little in common between those opting for contemporary forms and legacy styles of …

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Marketplace Missionaries

Posted on June 14, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Recent research reveals that over the last decade an average of three countries a year close their doors to Christian missionaries. That is based on an unfortunate perception that missionaries are interested only in proselytizing their people, corrupting their youth and disrupting their cultural traditions through enticements to people to change their religion. They don’t understand that even Christians know there is no benefit in someone simply changing their religious affiliation.

However, without a missionary witness people are deprived of needed humanitarian ministries and ultimately of the opportunity to hear the good news of how one can know God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This challenge of impacting closed countries has been met through creative access platforms. With …

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Help That Hurts

Posted on June 6, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The blog last week on supporting national workers was not meant to be condescending toward those who are serving our Lord in Third World countries at great sacrifice and even suffering for the cause of the gospel. Neither western missionaries nor native evangelists have a corner on effectiveness that comes from the anointing of God’s Spirit. While we have a responsibility to support those who are called from our churches in the U.S., we should recognize that the blessing of our affluence carries with it the responsibility to channel resources to those penetrating lostness with the good news of Christ.

A caution is always in order when sending money in lieu of going. It is important to be sure workers …

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Supporting National Workers

Posted on May 23, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

A significant trend has emerged in recent years to support “native” missionaries, working as evangelists and church planters. The rationale is that local indigenous workers are far more effective than Western missionaries and serve for only a fraction of the cost required to send and support workers from America. There have even been some large organizations emerge to raise funding for these national workers; most prominent among them are Christian Aid, Partners International and Gospel for Asia.

We would not want to disparage any program or strategy that is getting the gospel to a lost world, and have nothing but admiration for the multitude of dedicated, God-called national workers faithfully serving our Lord in remote places around the world. Many …

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Program or Passion

Posted on May 17, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

One of the reasons churches are not doing more  to reach a lost world is that missions is just another program. Without passion for the mission of God, there will be little motivation to do what it takes to take the gospel to unreached people groups or even to the unsaved in our own community.

I have always been amazed at the marketing and promotion needed to convince church members to attend an event or enroll in basic programs needed for their spiritual growth and the health of the church. Why do people have to be influenced and persuaded to do what should be normative for a follower of Jesus Christ? Such passivity probably reflects the low level of commitment …

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If Not Us, Who?

Posted on May 9, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I continue to be amazed at the passive indifference of so many churches to the mission of God. We pour budgets, time and energy into all kinds of programs and ministries for our own born-again fellowships and virtually ignore a lost world. All we have to do is turn on our television to see a world that needs Jesus. The inane, godless programming we call entertainment and newscasts filled with crime, perversion, suffering and war should compel us to confront a lost world with the life-transforming hope of the gospel.

We know that society can’t legislate morality. We know government handouts and programs aren’t the answer. But how can we expect the world to be any different until it knows …

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NAMB Deserves Support

Posted on April 26, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It is the season of the year when Southern Baptist churches collect the Annie Armstrong Offering for support of the North American Mission Board. Some include their designated gift to the work of NAMB as a part of a Global Missions campaign at other times of the year or from a proportion of year-round missions giving, but most appeal to members for special gifts as an “Easter Offering” in March and April.

Reaching into unchurched areas of the U.S. and Canada, beyond what individual local churches could do, NAMB is seeking to penetrate the increasing lostness of our own country by planting a witness where Christ is not known. With a special emphasis on major urban areas and cross-cultural church …

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What Do We Leave Behind?

Posted on April 6, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It has been encouraging to see more and more churches become involved in missions. The trend of short-term volunteer teams going overseas has escalated in the last 30 years with tens of thousands from our churches taking vacation time, raising funds and cashing in savings to go on a mission trip. Obviously, this mobilized resource is supplementing the witness of over-extended missionaries, encouraging national churches and making a difference in the lives of those who go.

However, what is left behind when the project is over? What difference does a mission partnership make to the kingdom? Do we feel good and come home with personal gratification because we have sacrificed to make the trip and done something good? Or is …

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Mission and Missions

Posted on March 22, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The meaning of “missions,” as with many other topics is contingent on how one chooses to define it. Most Christians would acknowledge being an advocate and supporter of missions. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 is as well known as any verse of Scripture next to John 3:16. But it is interesting how this activity of the church is perceived and practiced.

The issue has been confused even further by the recent emergence of the popular term “missional.” What does it mean to be missional? Obviously it means different things to different people. To most it seems to categorize those things a church may do outside its own programs which serve and minister to its own members. We would readily …

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Great Commission Baptists

Posted on March 9, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I was not surprised when the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, upon recommendation of a special task force, decided not to change the name of the denomination. This is an issue that emerges from time to time in the interest of re-branding and removing a provincial connotation to our identity. What was intriguing about the decision was permission for churches and entities to use an alternate “descriptor” of Great Commission Baptists.

That innovative twist was no surprise after three years of advocacy for a Great Commission resurgence to give higher priority to missions and evangelism in our denomination. While recognizing that “Southern Baptists” no longer defines a regional convention, it does represent churches who hold to sound biblical …

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