Southside Baptist Church was excited to once again host its annual Missions Conference. The theme this year was “Counting the Cost” and emphasized the cost which the world would pay should God’s people neglect their biblical obligations to support missionaries around the world. The preachers underscored a Christian’s personal responsibility to be both “goers” and a “senders.” Each Christian is charged with the responsibility of taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the community around them as well as sending and supporting missionaries to other areas of the world. A wise man once stated, “The measure of one’s responsibility is the measure of one’s opportunity.” Southside Baptist Church recognizes the opportunity and uses this annual conference to renew our commitment and revive our compassion for world-wide evangelism.
We were privileged to host many missionaries at our conference. The McGovern family has been serving the Lord is Papua New Guinea for many years. They have started several churches and are currently training young, native men to pastor those churches. Bro. Terry McGovern was the key note speaker of the conference, and he repeatedly challenged our church to remain faithful to local and foreign missions efforts.
The Bolticoff family, another missionary family in attendance, is currently on deputation raising support for their future ministry in Brazil. Bro. Scott Bolticoff along with his wife, Erica, and their children are excited about the work to which the Lord has called them. As they presented their burden for the Brazilian people, a grave sense of urgency was evident. There are millions of people in need of Christ in Brazil. We are praying that God will hasten their journey so the Bolticoff family can begin to plant churches in a very needy country.
Additionally, Bethany Homan, missionary to Peru, was invited to our conference. She has served as a missionary to Peru for almost 4 years, and will be returning in May to work with Jonathan and Becky Earnheart in Tacna, Peru. Southside Baptist has supported the Earnhearts’ labors in Peru, and we’re excited to further our support by assisting Bethany. Upon her return to Peru, Bethany will assist in the start of a new Christian school in Tacna and become its director. She will contribute to the soul winning and Sunday school ministries. Bethany also has the unique ability to minister to the deaf through her sign language ministry. During the conference, Bethany presented her testimony and burden for Peru with courage and conviction. The need for the Gospel in Peru was so evident, that one young person surrendered to the calling of God to likewise become a missionary to Peru. Truly, God was working in the hearts of His people during this conference.
Also, the Adams family is starting Lighthouse Baptist Church in Gulf Breeze, Florida. As the saying goes, “The light that shines the farthest shines the brightest at home.” Without strong churches to shine the light of the Gospel in our homeland, we cannot expect to strongly support missionaries who minister abroad. Bro. Adams declared the need for the Gospel all throughout the world and called upon us to continue steadfastly in prayer for missions. In the tone of the apostle Paul, he beseeched the church to “pray for us.” In just the coming months, the first service of their church is to be conducted. We, along with the Adams family, are praying that God will save souls and add members to the church in Gulf Breeze. I believe they are due for some very exciting moments in ministry in the coming years.
Southside Baptist Church was blessed to have these missionaries attend our Missions Conference. By the end of the conference, it was clear that the cost of inactivity was unacceptable. Resoundingly, the church concluded that we must give our greatest efforts to sending and supporting missions through faithfully going to reach the lost in Tampa and financially giving to God’s work of saving lost souls around the world. The conference was a time of revival and recommitment to the work of evangelism. It will be exciting to see all that the Lord does as Southside Baptist faithfully fulfills the call to the Commission.