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Leaving a Legacy

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How would you feel if you found yourself in the presence of Martha Washington, Lottie Moon and Jackie Kennedy?  I felt this way when I found myself in the presence of three great matriarchs in Ft. Worth, TX during our 2017 Annual Reunion of Friends and Former Members of IBC Churches and the Annual Meeting of IBCM. 

Matriarchs Mary Stout, Nina Pinkston and Elizabeth Merritt were present.  Mary is the founding matriarch of the IBC.   She and her husband, Herbert, founded Bethel, Frankfurt (now called Bethel International) in the 1950’s.  Nina is Mrs. WMU in the flesh.  She and her husband, Glen, served the churches throughout the 1980’s.  Glen at age 91 recently made his departure to be with Christ.  Elizabeth is the First Lady of our IBC’s first General Secretary, Dr. John Merritt.  She and John arrived as missionaries to Europe in the 1960’s.

The Stout brothers, Herbert and Herman, founded several other churches in Germany.  They recruited pastors for the churches, too.  These churches ultimately established the Association of Churches, which is now called the IBC.

What an incredible reunion we had in Ft. Worth!  Next year’s reunion will be held in Fredericksburg, Texas on Friday and Saturday February 23-24, 2018.  Mark your calendar!

During our Annual Meeting the membership of IBCM adopted succinct purpose, mission and vision statements, which read as follows:

  • Purpose:    To globally present the Gospel to bring all people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
  • Mission:       To support English-language international churches and ministries.
  • Vision:          To be a growing, generous ministry that is strategically advancing the Kingdom of God.

These statements define why we exist, what we do and where we are going.  IBCM serves the churches well, especially the member-churches of the IBC. 

We want to grow in our generosity.  From my position of influence I wish to report that Linda and I have completed our effort to legalize our final wishes.  Upon our departure our estate will be put into a Trust Fund from which 10% of the assets will be designated for the churches of the IBC through IBCM.  We hope to influence others to do something similar.

The IBC is incredibly effective with doing much with limited resources.  IBC is not large enough to employ development officers to seek individuals who would set aside gifts through estate planning.

Last year it was reported that Dr. Lorin Cranford, who is a retired seminary professor and former pastor in the IBC, has set aside a significant portion of his estate for the IBC.  He and his wife, Claire, have committed resources in perpetuity to benefit the churches.  Their testimony can be found on the web at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8ldYmBy7TI or search http://www.youtube.com Chanel C&L Ventures titled “Legacy–for eternity.”

You are encouraged to include the IBC in your estate planning through IBCM.  Linda and I have served 50 years in God’s Kingdom as normal people with average income.  It seems realistic to expect that the followers of Christ can set aside at least a tithe of their final assets for the Lord’s work in perpetuity until Christ returns. 

IBCM is blessed to have an international attorney, who is likewise a CPA.  He is willing to assist anyone pro bono, who wishes to leave any portion of his will to the churches of the IBC.  If you are interested, please contact me.

 

Dr. Larry J. Jones, Executive Secretary        

International Baptist Church Ministries

 

2016 Letter from the President – Dennis Jackson

One of the perfect characteristics of God is that He is immutable—unchanging.  He is totally dependable, perfectly reliable, a God who keeps His promises.  Malachi 3:6 says that we are preserved because God does not change!

I ‘m grateful that God doesn’t change, that He is perfect in every respect.  Most of us have probably noticed that change seems to be the order of the day in this world.  The dynamics and complexities of an ever-changing society and the progressive inclinations of our culture create challenges full of uncertainty, turmoil, and doubt.

We have discussed some of these challenges at recent IBCM meetings.  The persistent question seems to be “What next?”   Larry Jones, IBCM’s Executive Secretary, has addressed this in his letters to the membership and our board of directors.  Jimmy Martin perennially reports the changes he sees from his chair as the General Secretary of the International Baptist Convention, with an eye to adjustments required in light of change.

Recent membership dynamics and changes in the composition of IBC churches prompted IBCM in 2015 to modestly raise its administrative fee charged to churches to 1.5%.  The Board carefully deliberated over this decision, in spite of the fact that the increase was very small and the fee still well below what any commercial entity would charge.  This action is just one instance of how change continues to affect our organization.

Last Fall, the IBCM Board of Directors began to consider adjustments necessary to maintain IBCM’s effectiveness in supporting the IBC and supported churches worldwide.  We reviewed our vision and purpose statements and began an informal assessment of our strategic plan.  This year we have formalized that process with the creation of a three-member assessment team selected from within the Board of Directors.  Our intent is that this team—Jim Brandt, Darryl Evetts, and Dan Marshall—will meet over the summer to review each of our organizational documents and develop recommendations to the IBCM Board.  I already am grateful to Jim, Darryl and Dan for their willingness and commitment to this effort.  Larry Jones will participate to provide oversight and feedback to the team   Larry and I will keep you informed of our progress in this matter.

Our Board requests that you would pray daily for IBCM and the IBC; that you would consider how you might use the resources God has given you in support of IBCM and IBC churches worldwide; that you would prompt your network—in New Testament terminology, your “oikos”…your sphere of influence—to prayerfully consider IBCM membership and support.

As the Lord preserves us, may we glorify Him in the decisions we make!

Grace to you,

Denny Jackson

President, IBCM

 

Annual Meeting 2016

You are invited to the IBCM Annual Meeting on Saturday morning from 9am to noon February 6, 2016, and our Annual Reunion of friends and former member of IBC churches to be held on Friday evening from 6pm to 9pm February 5, 2016.  Both events are held at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the Riley Center.  Southwestern Seminary is located in Fort Worth, Texas.

Room reservations can be made for Friday/Saturday night by calling the Riley Center at 817-921-8800.  Room rates start at $80.  Be sure to mention IBCM when you make the reservation.

Our Annual Dinner is Friday evening at 6pm in the Riley Center.  Enjoy time with your friends over a delicious meal and uniquely special atmosphere.  Stay posted for the menu and the price of the meal.  RSVP by January 10, 2016 at larryjones409@ntin.net.

Saturday Evening German Meal is at 6:30pm February 6, 2016. Contact Larry Jones at his mobile at 806-928-7205 or larryjones409@ntin.net. Each will make his own order from the restaurant menu, so expect a late evening. You may arrive to the restaurant early if this is to your advantage. RSVP by January 10, 2016.

Edelweiss German Restaurant
3901-A Southwest Blvd
Ft. Worth, TX 76116

For more information go to http://www.edelweissgermanrestaurant.com.

 

2015 Letter from the President – Jim Erwin

As President, I am very encouraged by the work of the International Baptist Church Ministries (IBCM). It is wonderful to be part of this world-wide ministry. I get to see how our partnership with international English-speaking churches has helped to make disciples all over the world. I was pastor of the International Baptist Church in Bremen, Germany for four years. My church benefited from the IBCM. We had Americans who gave donations to our church through the IBCM to support the work we did in Northern Germany. Since then, I still have a heart for international missions to English-speaking people. I have watched as these churches reach out around the world. Since 2009, I have been involved in the work of international English-speaking churches. IBCM has been one way I can help that work.  

Perhaps like me, you have wondered if you can be part of a world-wide missions movement but you don’t have the opportunity to go on a mission trip. Perhaps like me, you have been part of an international church, and you still have a desire to help out. Do you know that you still have an opportunity to impact people from around the world? All it takes is getting involved. You can partner with IBCM in a variety of ways:

You can become a member for $25 a year. This entitles you to a voice in how grants in the IBCM is dispersed. Money given by Americans to grant-recipient churches is designated to those churches. However, the IBCM issues its own grants to help churches who ask for help. Maybe they need equipment or they are planning to start a new ministry. You have a say in how that money is given. 

You can also donate additional funds to the IBCM. As a 501(c)3 non-profit, you can be entitled to a deduction on your United States taxes for that donation. 

You can designate donations to IBCM through the AmazonSmile program. If you shop online at Amazon, you can set up a portion of your purchase to be designated to the IBCM.

You can also bequeath gifts to the IBCM in your will. This is an excellent to help English-speaking churches for generations to come. 

You can also spread the word to others. You can join us on Facebook and share that page with others. You can share the word about our website.  

You can get directly involved by joining us at our Annual Meeting on February 6, 2016. We look forward to seeing you at the Riley Center in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. 

We look forward to partnering with you in spreading the Gospel to the entire world through English-speaking international missions. 

Serving God together,

Dr. Jim Erwin

 

International Reunion

Friends & former members of IBC churches are invited to the International Reunion to be held in Kansas City, MO on 25 Oct 2014. For additional information call Larry Jones at 806-928-7205 or write to Larry @ larryjones409@ntin.net.

 

Executive Secretary’s Report to the 2014 Annual Meeting

God inscribes in Hebrews 11, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. … By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command. …

By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice.  …

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.  …

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went. …

By faith Isaac …

By faith Jacob …

By faith Moses …

 So goes the names, which are found in the “Hall of Faith” until we read in Hebrews 11:39:

 These … were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.  For God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

 And so it with those who are called to be members of God’s Household Hall of Faith.  And such are you.  You are a people of faith through whom God has planned something better for those who follow after you “so that only together with YOU would they be made perfect.”

It is most humbling for me to be in your presence today.  Your collective devotion as humble servants of God overwhelms me.  You, and others like you, are the very ones who have composed the remarkable 50-year history of the work of the member-churches of the IBC.

Without your selfless acts of service and generous financial sacrifices, which you and others like you have made, what we see in the life and ministry of today’s English-language, international churches would have been entirely different.  You did this, not for yourselves, but for the glory and honor of God because God had planned something better for those who have followed you.

Therefore, as brothers and sisters in Christ from among these unique churches you value highly the common bond of your shared experiences from the Lord.  This is the very reason you are present for today’s meeting.  No other group on planet earth has more vested interest in the future of these churches than you.

While the Sovereign Lord could have done any and all of these things with or without you, the fact is that He chose you to do it.  He chose you because He had planned something better for the people of faith who have followed you.

Other than the word “faith,” it is my observation that there is one word, which most accurately describes our 50-year history.  It is the word “change.”  It takes people of faith to work through such frequent changes.

In spite of these changes, the foundation, which was laid two-score and 10 years ago, is strong and secure in Christ with His followers who serve Him today around the world.  While today’s world-wide fragile geopolitical and socio-economic structures will continue to produce changes in the churches, changes which both delight and sadden our souls, we can only rejoice in the role that God has given us to be participants in His glorious history.  By faith we must trust God to work through today’s servants in these churches to help them walk by faith through a plethora of continual change.

One such embarkation of change took place in 1997 with the establishment of the International Baptist Church Ministries (IBCM) to benefit the churches and encourage generosity among US citizens, who are either current members of English-language international churches or they are friends and former members of such churches.

As a 501c3 non-profit corporation IBCM enables and encourages expatriates who live overseas and are members of English-language international churches to make U.S. tax-deductible designated grants to their overseas church.  Likewise those of us who are individual members of IBCM and live in the United States can also make both designated and undesignated gifts, which are used for grants to the churches.  In recent years $2,500,000.00 to $3,000,000.00 have been contributed annually.

IBCM is in need of a large endowment.  We believe that such funds will eventually come from members such as ourselves.

IBCM is chartered under the laws of the State of Texas.  IBCM is solely governed by a Board of Directors in accordance with its Bylaws.  Directors are elected from individuals who are members of IBCM.  Each director may serve up to two consecutive 3-year terms, and may serve again after a 1-year absence.

IBCM was founded under the extraordinary leadership of Dr. Charles McIlveene and four other founders:  Mrs. H.C. (Ruth) Bryson, Dr. Rudy Oswald, Mrs. Pam Oswald and Dr. Larry Jones.   Influential in its founding were such individuals as former IBC General Secretary, Dr. James Heflin; Texas attorney Cary Quillin, and CPA Randy Stevens.  All gave their time, energies and personal resources to bring this organization into existence.

With this particular Annual Meeting we acknowledge yet another change.  It was during the June meeting of the IBCM Board of Directors when I was asked me to serve as IBCM’s Executive Secretary, which, by the way, is principally an honorary position.  Therefore this is my first Annual report to this body.

The Board had thoughtfully and prayerfully considered this position for a lengthy period of time.   I was not surprised when asked to serve.  Like some of you, Linda and I have invested a considerable amount of time, energy and personal resources into the life and ministry of IBCM.  We believe in the values and goals of IBCM.

We believe that God has charged us

1)      to cast the vision, values and purposes of IBCM to the members and our prospective members;

2)      to provide oversight for all operations, which are associated with the organization and

3)      to facilitate good communication by every means which God provides.

We believe that it pleases God to expand our membership with a broader base of donors, because we see by our own experiential walk of faith that God uses mightily English language, international churches to win to Christ all kinds of people of every race, ethnicity and nationality.  We have seen first hand how many of these very people have become and are becoming church leaders, as well as world leaders, whom God is using in greater ways than any of us has ever thought possible.

It is important to fully realize that IBCM is no Sunday School class.  Neither is it a church.  It is not a fellowship, nor is it a convention or an association of churches.  IBCM is not a missionary-sending agency nor does it provide grants to individual missionaries.

Listen!

IBCM exists as a Great Commission organization to provide and facilitate the provision of financial support through designated and undesignated grants to English-language Baptist churches and similar ministries.  Our focus is upon the churches.  Most nearly all are affiliated with the International Baptist Convention (IBC).  In recent years this membership has expanded to Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and even the United States.

The key to the success or failure of this business enterprise rests upon our Board of Directors, and how well our Board and our individual members work together to fulfill God’s purpose for us corporately.  This Annual week-end is set aside not only for us to enjoy the special friendships that are ours, but also to strengthen our resolve to financially support these unique English-language international churches.

Our success or failure could determine the fate of many of these churches; in particular the churches, which have an ever decreasing influence from Americans, and an ever increasing influence of both believers and non-believers, whose background is third-world and emerging countries.

Someone might ask:  What difference does this decreasing influence from Americans and increasing influence from third-world and emerging countries make?

I submit to you that the difference is substantial.

In 1979 when God called me to serve as a pastor to an English-speaking congregation in Stuttgart, Germany, our church was exclusively an American congregation, comprised of US military personnel and their families, and one American scientist at the Max Plank Institute, and his family.  All were Americans.  In a short span of fourteen (14) years the church became an international congregation comprised of more than 40 different nationalities on any given Sunday.

After the fall of the wall in Berlin in 1989, this very model of change with a focus upon English-language international congregations became the standard model for most all of our churches.

In 1979 all of the 37 member-churches of the European Baptist Convention were served by America pastors.  Most were sent there by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Furthermore, all of our convention personnel were appointed by the International Mission Board.

Today none of the churches are served by appointment of anyone from the International Mission Board.  None of the staff of the IBC are served by anyone from the International Mission Board.  ALL pastors and all convention personnel serve as indigenous, independent missionaries who got there in a wide variety of ways by following their hearts after God.

My goodness, how things have changed!

Yes, “change” is the most consistent thing that can be said about these churches and their leaders.  Whether because of geo-politics, socio-economics, terrorism, persecution or war, the migration of diverse cultures, tribes, ethnicities and nationalities has caused the world map of the IBC to drastically change.

The focus of most of our churches has completely shifted from serving believers, who for the most part are US expatriates, to serving extraordinarily diverse peoples.  Many are refugees and immigrants from emerging and third-world countries.  A large number are non-believers whose religious background is incredibly diverse.  They are attending our churches.  They are Muslims, Jews, Atheists, Hindus, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics.  In surprisingly good numbers they are turning to Christ through the ministries of English-language international churches.

These are changes worth noting.  These are changes worth celebrating.

Needless to say these kinds of churches lack spiritual leaders and financial resources.  Such leaders and resources were found in abundance in the churches of yester-year..

Once our churches were led by such giants as C. W. Bess, Terry Carter, Tom Hill, Jim Leeper and Richard Page.  Along beside them were such gifted church leaders as Greg Green, Dennis Jackson, David Bolton, George Hayner, Rudy Oswald and Jerry Porter.

Listen to the names of some of our pastors today.  I will attempt to pronounce their names:  Roland Eskinazi, Rodrigo de Silva, Sylvester Peprah-Kwakye, Branislav Beocanin, Peter Oberhor, Nikolaus Seferiadis, Luigi Esposito, Richmond Ofori-Tawiah.

While these leaders are godly leaders, many have little formal biblical or theological education.  Many came from the emerging countries to which I referred earlier.  They need the tools, which are necessary to preach and teach the Word of God more effectively.  They need the training to shepherd the flock under their care with greater skill.

They lack the resources of deacons, elders, teachers, workers and financial contributors.  They carry the burden of being outnumbered by non-believers who drain them emotionally and financially.  These pastors and church leaders are serving at great sacrifice.  Such leaders and churches are radically different from the churches in which we of yesteryear are accustomed to serving in various places overseas.

The work and ministry of our General Secretary, Dr. Jimmy Martin, and his staff has never been more challenging.  The contributions of ministry, which are made by such gifted leaders as Dr. Terry Carter and George and Dorothy Hayner, at such places as Interlaken and the Spring Leadership Training Conference, as well as in individual IBC churches, has never been more important.  The financial gifts given from outside the churches have never been more needed.

We, who members of IBCM, are a key ingredient of hope for the future of particular churches in need, as well as our beloved IBC Convention.  We must enlarge our base of donors.  We must increase our own giving.  We must pray into existence resources which only God can provide.

We need to develop good communication among ourselves to inspire each other in generosity and personal sacrifice.  We need to cast our vision to expatriates in the present-day IBC churches before these expatriates return home.  We must learn how to communicate well the values and purposes of IBCM because our opportunity to be a Great Commission people and win this world to Christ has never been greater.

We are people of faith.  Therefore may we, who are members of today’s Hall of Faith, be found faithful for God has planned something better for those who come behind us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.