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‘Cooperation is not only biblical, it's necessary if we're going to reach Georgia’

Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond Jr. speaks at a recent meeting in Duluth, Ga. (Christian Index/Henry Durand)
Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond Jr. speaks at a recent meeting in Duluth, Ga. (Christian Index/Henry Durand)
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Here in Georgia, we are unchanging in our resolve to keep the gospel as our main focus. Resourcing and equipping churches to reach the 8 million lost people in our state is the mission we act upon every single day. That's what's on your heart, and that's what's on our heart, because that's what's on God's heart.

This mission is why Georgia Baptists acted quickly to address critical issues over the past few years. For example, in November 2020 at our state annual meeting, Georgia Baptists voted for two resolutions; one that condemned racism, and the other that clearly stated that we do not support critical race theory. 

When it comes to the gender of a pastor, last year, Georgia Baptists conducted an internal study and produced a solid report that's rooted in Scripture and reaffirms that ordination for the office of pastor is reserved for men. When it comes to sexual abuse prevention, this past year we formed an internal study group to determine best practices. And long before that, since 2013, nearly 7,000 Georgia Baptist leaders have been trained to make our churches safe places for everyone. Our plans are to train thousands more in the years to come.

So why did Georgia Baptists tackle the hard issues so proactively? Because we believe all these issues are critically important, and there should be no delay in bringing resolve, just like there should be no delay in our efforts to reach Georgia with the gospel.

All of this is important for you to know since 60% of what you give through the Cooperative Program stays here in Georgia. I want to assure you that the Georgia Baptist Mission Board is not confused about why we are here. We are the product of a shared conviction of Georgia Baptists that Georgia needs Jesus, and that a coordinated effort is the best way to saturate our state with the gospel.

That cooperation is working. For example, at Impact Camp this past week, 30 students prayed to receive Christ as Lord, and another 43 answered God's call in the ministry and are now being trained by Chris Trent, who leads our next gen team in calling out the called.

Thousands more students will be at our camps like Surge 150, SuperWow, and many of them will make decisions for Christ. About, 1,100 VBS workers across our state were trained by Jenni Carter, and nearly every one of those will see gospel fruit this summer. Right now, we have 140 college students who are serving somewhere around the world on the mission field through SendMeNow and other ministry opportunities. And over 2,000 of our college students have served this year on short term mission projects. And this year our state evangelism conference had the largest attendance in years.

So, you can look at our calendar and budget and see an increasing commitment to assisting you in reaching the lost and discipling the saved. Our commitment has never been stronger. Assisting our churches to advance the gospel remains our main focus here at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

Cooperation is not only biblical, it's necessary if we're going to reach Georgia. In this critical time, I want to thank you for all that you're doing and encourage you to lock hands and hearts with Baptists all across our state so that we might finish the task.

If you have any questions about how to best ensure the good stewardship of your cooperative program dollars, you can call us at 770-936-5200 or email us at cp.gabaptist.org.

We believe in you, and we thank God for all that He's doing through your church. And your state Mission Board is here to serve you and your church for the glory of God.

___

W. Thomas Hammond Jr. is executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

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