Dragons’ Den, an British Broadcasting Corporation reality show, eclipses the plethora of reality shows that litter the airwaves. This program features potential entrepreneurs making a case for their new products to a panel of five business tycoons. These entrepreneurs are trying to solicit investment money by convincing the tycoons of the hefty returns their products will yield. The panel of judges grills the nervous entrepreneurs about their product concepts and business plans. After receiving a rapid-fire assault on their ideas, only a few entrepreneurs walk away with investment commitments. This program is not for the faint of heart. If you have ever had to make a presentation of an idea to garner support, you will find yourself saying, “I feel your pain.”
Eleven years ago I had a Dragon’s Den experience. As a ministry entrepreneur at a GARBC conference in Seattle, Wash., I presented to the Council of Eighteen and the association the idea of an international partnership of ministries built on a commitment to common doctrine and a vision for global church-based ministry. As I interacted with ministry colleagues Mark Jackson, Jim King, and Eldon Brock, an idea came to form. The initial presentation of this international partnering concept met with mixed reactions—questions, resistance, tolerance, and a few ringing endorsements. The association gave the GARBC staff the go-ahead to formulate an international partnership. Only time would tell if the idea’s potential would be realized.
Now a decade later, the dream of an international partnership is a reality. As with many good ideas, buy-in for the concept happened over time, rather than being adopted instantly. The January/February 2010 Baptist Bulletin reported the first International Partnership of Fundamental Baptist Ministries Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, led by Chris and Deb Hindal. Since that publication, dramatic events have occurred, giving further evidence of a living and breathing partnership. Churches in the GARBC are forming direct relationships with nationals in other countries who have great ministry influence. Grassroots international partnering does have value!
The first meeting of the newly elected IPFBM Council of Eight—consisting of members from Guyana, India, Kenya, Liberia, Myanmar/Burma, Philippines, and U.S.A.—took place in mid-January. Chris Hindal, chairman of the Council, led the online meeting that focused on developing Great Commission strategies. The participants, who live thousands of miles apart, conversed together as though sitting across the table.
Another event that touched partners in the IPFBM occurred on Jan. 12, when a 7.0 earthquake rocked the impoverished island-nation of Haiti. When the earth shook, this country with its prior history of problems plunged into deeper straits. When the dust finally settled, much of the capital city of Port-au-Prince lay in ruins. Buildings crumbled, roads buckled, and precious lives were injured severely or crushed to death.
Because of the International Partnership, a loyal friendship exists between our association and a Haitian pastor, Prédestin Hérard. Within the first few days following the quake, Chris Hindal, GARBC international director, received an e-mail from Prédestin, who was on the ground in Port-au-Prince. This dear brother expressed courageous faith as he endeavored to care for his flock of believers and the association of sister churches he leads.
Through IPFBM ties, Jason and Sharon Nightingale of Wordsower International (www.wordsower.org) became acquainted with Prédestin and helped him begin and operate My Father’s House orphanage. Jason and his wife were on site in Haiti at the time of the quake and were able to minister to the needy children directly.
Pastor Duke Crawford from Emmanuel Baptist Church, Toledo, Ohio, had previously visited Haiti, assisting Prédestin and his small network of churches. Upon hearing of the tragedy, Emmanuel Baptist responded immediately with a large monetary gift to help these struggling friends survive and rebuild. Another stateside pastor, Jim Bearss, has been traveling regularly to Haiti, helping Prédestin train pastors to study and preach the Word effectively. This contact originated through the International Partnership. Jim is traveling full-time to help nationals in many countries build strong churches through the Word of God. He will be making a return trip to Haiti to focus on rebuilding lives through the training of Haitian pastors. Thanks to the existence of the IPFBM, these compassionate relationships sprouted.
During the 2009 GARBC Conference, our fellowship welcomed into the GARBC Eglise Evangelique Baptiste of Elmont, N.Y. (Long Island), pastored by Jacqueline Saint-Preux. The church is composed primarily of Haitian immigrants. Immediately upon hearing news of the quake, we were able to contact Pastor Saint-Preux to assure him of our prayers and assistance. Promptly Chris Hindal and Andrea Gower arranged an online prayer meeting that brought together pastors and GARBC churches from 13 states to pray for specific Haitian brothers and sisters affected by the quake. We will continue to stand with them.
Our independence as Baptists keeps us from intruding into each other’s ministry, but our interdependence enables us to facilitate assistance in an effective manner with brothers who share our convictions. The vision of an international partnership, which at first was little more than an entrepreneurial idea, is now an operational reality.
As you think about the responsibility of fulfilling the Great Commission, I urge you to think of the potential that exists in international partnering with nationals who can effectively reach their own fellow citizens. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Visit www.garbcInternational.org to learn about this unique network and discover the 57 other partners ministering globally.
Invite Chris and Deb Hindal to your church or set up an online or phone interview with them to raise your church’s awareness of the international ministry.
Establish a direct partnership with a new ministry friend in another country. The Hindals would be glad to assist in making that connection.
Help provide distance-learning opportunities to increase the ministry potential of our partners.
Plan a ministry trip in conjunction with the IPFBM to assist sister churches in Haiti.
Would you like a slice of this international action? Now is the time to invest. Don’t delay. Our international partners are ready to partner with us!
John Greening is national representative for the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.