Some people who hear about the International Baptist Church Ministries (IBCM) may wonder its purpose. The IBCM is a missions-supporting organization, an American 501(c)(3) non-profit ministry. As such, some may wonder what distinguishes the IBCM from other mission organizations. They may also wonder if it is worth the effort to be part of the IBCM. Let me share with you five great ways to be on mission with the IBCM.
1. Join the IBCM to stay connected with the International Baptist Convention
Americans who are members of any church in the International Baptist Convention (IBC) can give to their church through the IBCM. The money given will go directly to the church. Americans who return to the United States can stay connected to their church in the IBC through the IBCM. The IBCM is a partner ministry of the International Baptist Convention. We support the work of the IBC. During the annual meeting, we connect with one another and hear about the work of the IBC.
2. Participate with IBCM to stay aware of missions opportunities with the IBC
IBCM is aware of missions opportunities in the IBC. IBCM can keep you informed of possible mission opportunities that you can take part in. The IBCM maintains a Facebook page, as well as a website. As a member, you can stay up on all of the mission opportunities during the annual meeting. The IBCM meets during on weekend the first quarter of each calendar year. The next Annual Meeting will meet on February 22-24, 2019 at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Riley Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Yearly membership dues are $25 with special discounts for the lifetime and senior citizen members.
3. Give donations through the IBCM that helps IBC churches
When you give to the IBCM, your annual dues (and any additional money you donate) goes to fund grants to churches. These grants are used at the request of IBC churches for various opportunities. These grants help IBC churches with building projects travel for pastors and leaders in training events and other needs that assist IBC churches.
4. Give to the IBCM Endowment Fund to keep the IBCM a constant partner with the IBC in its work
In 2015, the IBCM created the IBCM Endowment Fund. The Endowment Fund is designed to provide for the future of the IBCM. When you give to the Endowment Fund, you are making an investment in the future of the IBCM. Your gift will help the IBCM stay a partner with the IBC.
5. Spread the word about IBCM to spread awareness of English-language international missions.
Another great way to be on mission with the IBCM is to spread the word. When you tell others about the IBCM, you share the story of English-language international missions. Perhaps you have a personal history with an English-language international church. Maybe you were in one of the churches when they were part of the European Baptist Convention. When you join the IBCM and share your experience, you get to help a new generation be on mission.
IBCM Registration for 2018 Annual Events
February 23-24, 2018
Lodging for Annual Meeting @ Y.O. Ranch Hotel (877) 967-3767
2033 Sidney Baker Street, Kerrville, TX
Call the Y.O. Ranch Hotel to make your own room reservations. Ask for the IBCM special rate for our group. http://www.yoranchhotel.com
Single Room (nightly): $90+tax; includes breakfast
Double Room (nightly): $95+tax; includes breakfast
Friday Evening German Dinner on February 23, 2018 @ 7pm
Friedhelm’s Bavarian Inn (Tel. 830-997-6300 x1)
905 West Main Street
Fredricksburg, TX 78624
Each will make his own order from the restaurant menu, so expect a late evening.
You may arrive at the restaurant early if this is to your advantage.
Saturday Annual Meeting February 24, 2018 @ 9am to 11:30
Y.O. Ranch Convention Center.
Saturday Lunch February 24, 2018 @ 12:00pm
Following the meeting, you are welcome to gather on site at the Branding Iron restaurant for lunch or find another local restaurant to enjoy continued fellowship.
IBCM Board of Directors will meet at the Y.O. Ranch Convention Center at 12:00pm for a working lunch.
Questions: Contact Karen Runyan at 214-868-6596 or email@example.com
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
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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,
“Strangers and Aliens”
Dr. Larry Jones
In this very room we have among us some American patriarchal patriots. On America’s 200th birthday, July 4, 1976, Art and Faye Palmer, along with Roger and Anita Campbells and 100s of other believers, who were also American patriots), were in Interlaken to attend Interlaken Baptist Assembly. I can only imagine the grandeur of that hour.
The EBC itself had barely been birthed. It was still in its adolescence, but already 100s of Americans had gathered at Interlaken Assembly to equip and train Baptists to do God’s work in Europe, mostly in Germany. Nearly all were American soldiers and their families.
One year in the 1980’s, those of us who went to Interlaken Assembly, purchased these shirts with various flags portray and with these words imprinted on the shirt: “Speak English?” Hundreds of us wore them everywhere we went during the Assembly. We had discovered that Europeans, especially young Europeans, wanted to practice their English-speaking skills. They practiced their English on us and we practiced our witness for Christ on them.
Yes, nearly all of us were American ex-patriots.
Today this organization, which is called the International Baptist Convention, is comprised of almost 70 English-language churches, whose constituents speak over 100 languages and serve in 27 nations around the world.
Who would have ever dreamed of such an outcome? Who would have dreamed that with such humble beginnings God would produce such incredible results?
When I look at you, my dear friends of glorious days in the past, and when we bring in Dr. Jimmy Martin and his beautiful wife, Laurie, to report to us during this Annual Reunion what God is doing in the present in the English-speaking international churches, I am greatly encouraged to dream about what God is going to do in the future.
We are no longer the ex-patriots living on foreign soil. We, the patriots, have become the patriarchs.
I ask you to dream with me this morning by turning to Scripture to examine the lives of the patriarchs who are found in the Hall of Faith in the 11th chapter of Hebrews. Hebrews 11:13.
v. 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are (forward) looking (searching) for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city (in that country) for them.
Through this passage God has spoken to me as one who desires to live up to the Hallmarks of the Futuristic Forward-Looking Faithful Found in the Hebraic Hall of Faith.
Here’s what I see for us who are now the patriarchs.
We are visionaries. We live by faith like visionaries focusing on the distant future. This is who we are. We are visionaries. “How Then Shall We Live?” asked the great theologian, Francis Schaeffer, in his Christina Manifesto. Let’s live like visionaries who focus on the distant future.
v. 12 “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised. They only saw them. And they welcomed them from a distance.
By naming some of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob …. Joseph, Moses and Gideon … and others both men and women) the Hebrew writer found encouragement for himself and his readers as they envisioned the distant future.
For this reason I find myself naming some of the patriarchs of our churches while I make an attempt to envision the distant future.
Herman Stout and his twin brother, Herbert
John and Elizabeth Merritt
Ray and Helen Reynolds
Harry and Virginia Wood
Stewart and Norma Wine
Glenn and Nina Pinkston
Jim and Wilma Heflin
Jim and Jean Leeper
Rick and Nancy Dill
Rudy and Pam Oswald
Art and Faye Palmer
George and Dorothy Hayner
Jimmy and Laurie Martin
And the list goes on … The list includes you and me.
When I look at you, my dear fellow-patriarchs of glorious days in the past, I am encouraged to live like a visionary whose focus is on the distant future, just like the writer of Hebrews.
The visionary missionary Jim Elliott had a focus on the distant future. In January 1956, Elliott and four (4) other missionaries were murdered by Huaorani Indians in Ecuador. The very people whom they served, killed them. These five (5) martyrs were immortalized in the movie, “The End of the Spear.” Subsequent to Elliott’s death they found his prayer journal in which Elliott logged these words,
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep,
to gain that which he cannot lose.”
The history of the church is filled with martyrs like Elliott and his four (4) missionary friends. Dietrich Bonhoeffer had a focus on the distant future. While teaching at Union Seminary in New York he found safety from the horrors of war, but God would not allow Bonhoeffer to stay in his safe cocoon in America. Bonhoeffer made the willful decision to return to Germany, knowing full well his fate.
Another futuristic forward-looking martyr is William Tyndale, the great Bible translator. Upon the order of Queen Mary, Tyndale’s life was taken because of his faith. The Queen, also known as Bloody Mary for whom the cocktail is named, was still foaming with bloody anger when she saw Tyndale’s body hanging from the rafters. So she had the body taken down, strapped to a stake and burned in the courtyard until there was nothing left but ashes.
At Bonhoeffer’s hanging, the henchman is quoted as having said, “Never have I seen a man die with such composure, such dignity.” These great men of God would certainly echo the words of Elliott, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.”
These men envisioned a future through the lens of eternity. Living life in light of eternity equipped them to give everything they had. Martyrdom is no stranger in today’s world. Every week we find another story.
On January 15th Baptistic-missionary Michael Riddering was killed in Burkino Faso. Michael and his wife, Amy, had devoted their lives to caring for orphans and working with the pastors and churches. While meeting with a Burkinabe pastor in the Cappuccino CoffEEE (Café) in the capital city, al Qaeda terrorists attacked the restaurant and two local hotels. Two dozen people, including the missionary were killed.
Michael Riddering was no fool to give what he could not keep,
to gain that which he could not lose.
Neither are we for we are “Aliens and Strangers on this earth.” “Aliens and strangers’ are metaphoric images produced by the writer of Hebrews. The Hebraic author testifies that authentic believers perceive themselves as those who are simply passing through while on a journey of faith on planet earth.
This is not our home. We are homeless nomads.
Our home is in the far country.
Our destiny is the heavenly city.
Our course is futuristic, not existential.
Our existential existence is determined through the visionary lens of eternity.
This is precisely how I perceive us, who are friends and former members of English-language international churches. Through our service in the churches of the IBC we acknowledge that we have trotted the dotted globe as believers. We have become the spots on the dots of the planet. The spots are connected by the dots like the stars in the universe, knit together in seemingly eternal constellations.
You and I are knit tightly together through our international experiences in the churches. We are the little boy at church camp, who heard the missionary from Africa speak at the campfire service saying, “Look at the stars and see the God of Creation. Your destiny is in His hands. The God who created the universe is calling you to carry out His Great Commission around the world during your brief span of time on earth?”
That little boy and the missionary’s voice still live within me and you. It is the voice of God who calls us still to focus upon the future and Christ’s Great Commission cause. When we hold these reunions and these annual meetings, we are not here to dwell upon the past, as wonderful as it was. We continue to live for the future, which is far better and we must stay the course.
When I examine the Scriptures, as well as the patriotic American patriarchs whose lives encompass my life, I am encouraged to live my life like a transient in a temporal world. To use Hebraic terminology: We are aliens and strangers in this world. This world is not our home. We are transients—nomads, if you please. The 1.2 million immigrants who have found refuge in Germany from Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, the Sudan and wherever … are but transients. Are they not? More than they, we are! … aliens and strangers in this world. The word for “strangers” in this passage is ξενος. When combined with the Greek word φοβια, we get the word ξενοφοβια, which literally means “fear of strangers.” By nature people have a fear of strangers. Ξενοφοβια, the fear of strangers, creates the climate for terrorism. ‘The infidels must be destroyed,’ they say. In many places in our own beloved country, we as believers are not welcome. The world does not accept us. Sometimes we feel like foreigners in our own native land. Now is the time to remember: This world is not our home. We look at life today through the lens of eternity.
On May 2, 1987 Mark Merritt, the young son of John and Elizabeth Merritt, was killed in Alaska in an automobile accident. It seemed so tragic. My memories of Mark were in his home with his mom and dad and with his brothers, Mike and Phil. My fond memories of Mark were at Interlaken, Wiesbaden and Stuttgart.. How could God allow such a tragedy to take the life of a young man with such a bright future? How could God allow such a tragedy to occur to such loving, giving, godly folks like John and Elizabeth, Mike and Phil, I wondered. But Mark was just passing through like an alien and a stranger in this world. One’s length of life is not measured by time, but by eternity and the Eternal One. The IBC Endowment Fund was named after Mark Merritt. It started so meagerly. The purpose of the Endowment Fund was to encourage the churches to look to the future to buy land and buildings. The future was the focus. I remember that Linda and I gave $75.00 to the EBC Endowment Fund, which actually began before Mark’s death. I remember that because I chaired the effort. We challenged every family in all the churches to give $75.00. “Together We Build” plaques were given to those who pledged to do this for 3 years or longer. The Endowment Fund wound not be touched until $1,000,000.00 had accumulated. The principle would never be touched. Only the annual earnings from that fund would be used for the churches of today and tomorrow. When I look at the young patriarch, Mark Merritt, I am vividly reminded that all of us are aliens and strangers on this earth. We live not for today, but for tomorrow. We are a futuristic people who are but transients on this planet.
IBCM’s Board of Directors is in the process of creating an Endowment Fund. An IBCM Endowment Fund will enable us who patriarchs to make ongoing contributions for the future of the churches of the IBC. An IBCM Endowment Fund will enable some of us to leave behind a portion of our estates for the IBC and the churches.
Last year at this meeting we heard the testimony of Dr. Lorin Cranford, a retired professor here at Southwestern Seminary and Garner Webb University in North Carolina, who pledged 50% of his estate to the work of the churches. Dr. Cranford is a retired professor from Garner Webb University in North Carolina as well as here at Southwestern Seminary.
“How Then Shall We Live?” asked the theologian. We will live by faith like visionaries focusing on the distant future. We will live by faith like transients in a temporal world. We will live by faith: homesick for the heavenly city, which Jesus is preparing for us. As homeless nomads on this earth we are homesick for the heavenly city.
You’ve heard the story. It still inspires us.
The missionary and his wife had spent their entire adult lives in Africa, separated from the glories of American sports, family births and deaths, graduations and weddings. They missed them all to spend their life’s journey in Africa. The year was 1909. The Great American President, Theodore Roosevelt, was a passionate hunter. He loved the thrill and the skill and the kill of hunting. To Africa he went. With money from the Smithsonian Institute, he traveled with his entourage to British East Africa and the Egyptian Sudan. There they trapped alive or shot dead over 11,000 animals from the smallest of things to the largest, including elephants and hippos and white rhinos during this scientific expedition.
Roosevelt, the Great Hunter, came home a hero. As his ship arrived in New York Harbor, he was welcome home with great fanfare: a parade of bands and soldiers, seemingly without number. 1,000s roared with applause as he and the Mrs. walked down the gangway and off the ship.
The missionaries, who were on that same ship, were likewise coming home. Patiently they waited for Roosevelt and his entourage to de-board. It took most of the day. Finally, the missionaries made their way off the ship. No one was there to welcome them. The missionary couple found a simple hotel room in the older, downcast part of the city. That night, when he and the Mrs. went to bed, he couldn’t sleep. His mind was troubled with the all the fanfare for the Great Hunter. He got up and paced the floor, back and forth. Unable to sleep because of her husband, the Mrs. said to him, “What’s wrong? What’s wrong with you?” The missionary poured out his heart, “It’s not right. It’s just not right. The Hunter goes off to Africa, spends a few weeks and comes home a hero. We go off to Africa, spend a lifetime and there is no heroes’ welcome for us. Nothing. It’s just not right.”
The missionary wife looked into the eyes of husband and with the love she had for him she said, “Honey, I think you had better talk that over with God.” So the missionary made himself a pot of coffee, sat down at the table for his first cup of coffee with God. Soon he filed his complaint. “Oh, God. It’s just not right. Roosevelt goes on a 3-week hunting trip to Africa and comes home a hero. We go to Africa and give our lives for you and there is no one here to welcome us. It’s not right. It’s just not right.”
Suddenly the missionary heard the voice of God. Although it was not audible, it was a clear as could be. God said, “Son, you’re not home yet.”
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep,
to gain that which he cannot lose. ”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday Evening German Meal is at 6:30pm February 6, 2016. Contact Larry Jones at his mobile at 806-928-7205 or email@example.com. 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.
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
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