‘One Million Lives Transformed’
The recently-published BMS mission strategy 2016-2020 formed the framework for its keynote session at this year’s Baptist Assembly
One million lives transformed from BMS World Mission on Vimeo.
The strategy highlights the faith stretching targets for each of BMS’s seven ministries, namely church, education, justice, development, health, leadership and relief.
‘One million doesn’t sound that many,’ said General Director David Kerrigan. ‘But between now and 2020 we plan to work in some of the world’s most fragile states, and among the most marginalised and least evangelised communities on the planet.
‘That’s going to be hard. But we believe it is what God is calling us to, and we believe he is faithful and able to achieve more even than we have planned.’
David made it clear this was ‘not about numbers’, but ‘transformation’. BMS’s highest goal is still to bring people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
The goals are about being ‘intentional in our mission, strategic in our approach and responsible with the support of the Baptist family to make the most significant impact possible,’ he explained.
A short film was shown highlighting the mission strategy.
The session proceeded to show what the four values that underpin BMS – love, integrity, faith, and excellence - mean in its work.
'Our faith is in a God who is bigger than regimes,’ said David. We believe that if we humble ourselves and pray, and if we sacrifice for his work, he is able through us to bring real transformation.’
He told story of five year old Youssef, who was malnourished and hadn’t walked for two years when he came to a hospital BMS helps run in Chad.
‘Thanks to God’s grace and the work of our medical personnel, he literally walked out of that hospital. He’s alive. His life has been transformed.’
There was an audible gasp when the story of Sanjay the church planter was shared. A devout Muslim all his life, he was given a tract while in hospital with cancer. In the darkness he prayer to Jesus and was healed. Giving his life to Jesus, he’s now a BMS-supported church planter who had planted 50 house churches, all made up of Muslim background believers.
Working with integrity ‘means transparency about BMS stewardship of the resources entrusted to us’, said Val Stevens, BMS Director of Finance.
She introduced treasurer Robert Ashurst, who said there had been a surplus in the last financial year.
This had been largely due to legacies being higher than predicted. BMS was ‘very grateful’, but there was ‘no room for complacency’.
BMS has two long term financial challenges, he continued: the closed defined benefit pension scheme, which has been adversely affected by low interest rates; and the challenge of sustaining its income in order to fulfil its strategy of transforming 1m lives.
Giving has remained ‘broadly constant’, but ‘hasn’t kept pace’ with inflation, Robert said, encouraging people to ‘please keep supporting BMS in your praying, giving, and your going.’
Elsewhere delegates approved the commencement of a process intended to lead to BMS becoming an incorporated charity.
The session also introduced the new BMS Syria's Forgotten Families resource. David reiterated the need for prayer for this appeal, amid the continuing crisis and political deadlock in Syria which is seemingly too complex to fix.
‘I encourage you to dig deep, and I encourage to use this resource,’ said David.
Ending the session, David also made an appeal for prayer ‘that God will raise up men and women to come and serve with us.’
‘We have been incredibly blessed, but we are going through a little dip,’ he said. ‘Amongst your churches may God call your best workers.’