So, Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and teachers to equip his people for works of service so that the Body of Christ may be built up. …
From him, the whole Body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4: 11-12; 16, NIV)
Dear friends on the journey,
We have some good news for you. Last week we were privileged to facilitate an on-line gathering of Indonesian and Brazilian Baptist leaders. The 25 of us on the Zoom call felt super energized and excited by the end of the two-hour discussion! Here’s the story.As Global Consultants, we regularly check in with leaders of 10+ Baptist partners in Asia and Latin America. We stay in touch to encourage them and to learn how we might help their churches be even more healthy, faithful, and effective in sharing the good news of Jesus. Our meeting with D and V, leaders of the Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches (GGBI), in October was so enjoyable we agreed it was more like a reunion of friends than a formal meeting. They shared that many of their pastors are exhausted from the turmoil and stress of the past three years. Consequently, one of their priorities is to improve how the GGBI cares for its pastors. Our immediate response was, “You need to talk to Baptist colleagues in Brazil!”
And so it was that last week, F and E, the current and former Presidents of the National Baptist Convention of Brazil (CBN), met with 21 Indonesian pastors and leaders — including the GGBI President, Vice President, and General Secretary. Indonesian leaders wanted to learn about the association that serves the CBN’s 4,000 pastors and the “pastoring the pastors” program in Brazil. We served as the “bridge” that brought them together so they could share ideas and strategies to care for and strengthen pastors.
It felt a bit like a Rev. 7:9 moment: the conversation was in Brazilian Portuguese on one side and Bahasa Indonesia on the other, with English as the connecting language. An Indonesian leader translated into Bahasa while both of us were furiously typing in English and Portuguese and posting Bahasa translations of the conversation in the chat box.
It was so much more than a consultation! This was a gathering of friends who met each other for the first time. One Indonesian leader wrote, “Praise God for the wonderful time of sharing together.” Another sent this message: “Terima kasih (Thank you) Pak Bruce & Bu Ann for facilitating GGBI to connect and have a blessed sharing from Convention of Baptist Brazil. God bless you.” One of the Brazilian leaders wrote, “Thank you for being the bridge that brought us together. We are working together in Jesus’ name! Praise the Lord!”
We pray that these two parts of the Body of Christ will continue the conversation and expand it to include other topics. They have a lot to talk about, like how the two conventions prepare and support cross-cultural workers (i.e., missionaries), disciple young people, and engage in holistic evangelism.
This story is good news because illustrates how Jesus followers cooperate with each other in God’s mission in today’s global, interconnected Body of Christ. Truly, God’s mission today is “from everywhere to everyone.” One of the best ways we “build up the Body of Christ” locally, nationally, and internationally is by building bridges – two-way relationships that join members of the Body for mutual learning, encouragement, and prayer.
We’d love to hear how you are building bridges for mission in your local community, or perhaps even with a local church in another land. Please let us know if we can help you build those bridges and get to know friends you haven’t met yet!
With you in God’s mission,
Bruce and Ann
Praise God with us for
Please pray for