During 2020, your Cooperative Program giving reiterated that pastors are heroes, churches are the priority and Georgia is the mission field. Even during a pandemic, the mission of God moved forward in 2020 in creative ways. The pandemic forced Georgia Baptists to consider new methods for sharing the gospel and discipling new believers when person-to-person contact was limited.
Pastors are heroes
It is no secret that pastors and ministers have the most important jobs in the state. It seems there is always a challenge to balance spiritual life with vocational productivity, relationships, physical and financial wellbeing. Because of your Cooperative Program giving, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board initiated 3,600 contacts with pastors, youth leaders, ministers of music and other church leaders to provide support and partnership in their ongoing steps to wellness.
Pastors’ and pastor wives’ retreats and wellness opportunities helped Georgia Baptist ministers know that they are our heroes in the faith and on the field through encouragement, life-equipping teaching and an environment that was relaxing and refreshing.
Several events in 2020 have connected pastors to one another and facilitated much-needed friendships.
Churches are the priority
Mission board consultants deployed across Georgia to partner with pastors and churches in the areas of evangelism, discipleship, missions, worship and reaching the next generation for Christ. These men contacted over 2,000 Georgia Baptist churches, resulting in 8,350 individual contacts.
Those churches that partnered in these church-strengthening contacts experienced a net increase in baptisms in 2020 – even while regular meetings were hindered by the pandemic. Thirty-eight discipleship learning communities were established. Eighteen new mission fields were engaged.
Over 5,000 Georgia Baptist church leaders became involved in church-strengthening Facebook groups to share best practices, and the annual Spark Conference drew over 6,100 unique viewers and countless more at 208 host sites.
Although there were fewer churches holding in-person Vacation Bible Schools in 2020, alternative methods like outdoor VBS or online VBS became a hit. In 2021, over 450 churches committed to hold in-person VBS, and many have received training for this summer.
Georgia is the mission field
God blessed Georgia Baptists in 2020 and early 2021 by allowing Georgia Baptists to give to missions efforts throughout Georgia via the Cooperative Program. Because of the regular missions giving through CP, students of college campuses were especially impacted.
Although some colleges and universities went to digital formats for course delivery, Baptist Collegiate Ministries were active on 40 college campuses in Georgia. Almost 3,000 students were involved in BCM in 2020, and 900 students were trained in personal evangelism. As a result of your church’s CP giving, 300 students took local and international mission trips and 247 students were called into Christian ministry.
There were over 300 salvations reported, so that means for every 10 college students involved in BCM in Georgia, another new person was led to Jesus.
At the Georgia Capitol building in Atlanta, your Georgia Baptist public relations office lobbied legislators to support the moral issues that affect our state. Because of CP gifts, 30 pieces of legislation were monitored. Through meetings, public events and mobilizing voters, new pro-life legislation like Gracie’s Law (HB 128) and Simon’s Law (HB 212) passed.
Legislation against human trafficking, like SB 33 and SB 34, also passed. Your gifts made an impact on the mission field of Georgia’s legal landscape.
Your giving not only reached Georgia as a mission field, but it helped mobilize missionaries from Georgia. Pastor-to-pastor training brought basic pastoral education to hundreds of pastors in South America. Hundreds of Georgia students were mobilized to engage in international mission trips. Your CP dollars affect the mission fields of Georgia and beyond.
The net result of your Cooperative Program giving in Georgia is that pastors are being encouraged, churches are being prioritized and the mission field closest to home is being reached.
Thank you for your ongoing Cooperative Program giving.