WEEK OF PRAYER: 'No superstar' church a piece of puzzle
EDITOR'S NOTE: This year's Week of Prayer for International Missions in the Southern Baptist Convention is Dec. 2-9 with the theme "Every Church. Every Nation." The theme undergirds the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. The offering, in tandem with Cooperative Program gifts from Southern Baptist churches, supports international workers in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission. Gifts to the Lottie Moon offering are received through local Southern Baptist churches or online at IMB.org/lmco, where there are resources to promote the offering. This year's goal is $160 million.
SÃO PAULO, Brazil (BP) -- In their home in São Paulo, Brazil, Scott and Joyce Pittman have a giant map of the city plastered across their wall. It's a picture of the work still to be done in the metro area of 22 million people. And now that image is plastered across the hearts of the members of Highland Baptist Church in Shelbyville, Ky., too.
"When you see that map, you can see the vision Scott and Joyce have for the city," said pastor Chris Platt. "They do a great job of explaining what it will take to reach it. Then when you go out into the city and meet the people, your love for missions just comes alive. You give more, you pray more, and you think more about missions."
And ever since the Kentucky Baptist Convention kicked off a partnership with the Pittmans in São Paulo, teams from Highland Baptist have traveled regularly to the city to participate in a "variety pack" of ministry. They arrange basketball camps, children's clubs and women's events, all through a partnership with a specific local church. It's a relationship forged for the sake of offering encouragement and support to the believers there.
"It gives our people a church to call their own," he said. "It has made it real for people. They've known about missions in the past, but now they know faces and names -- they know they need to pray for Pastor Fabio."
Highland Baptist is "no superstar missions church," Platt points out. But the annual trips have bolstered the work in Brazil and made the church see that it is "one piece of the puzzle."
"God's leading the way, and we are really growing in missions," the pastor said. "You've got missionaries doing what they can and the church doing what we can. I think our partnership has created something tangible. It puts a face on missions."
Scott Pittman noted it makes a big difference.
-- Missionaries like the Pittmans to be effective in strategizing ways to reach big cities with the Gospel.
-- Church partners to rise up and be a piece of the missions puzzle through praying, giving and going.