Update: The first trip to Northeast Italy is in September 2017!
The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) has begun a four-year mission partnership with the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in Northeast Italy. As a result, the MBC has requested that at least 15 MBC Churches partner with IMB missionaries and local Italian Churches in the northeast region of Veneto, Italy. Rick Hedger, MBC partnership missions specialist, highlighted the importance of reaching this area recently when he said: “That region of Italy is 0.046 % evangelical, not even a half of a percent evangelical.”
When Rick Hedger shared this information, my prayer was that First Baptist would become one of the 15 churches that engage in this “ends of the earth” Great Commission opportunity. I also spoke with John Vernon, Director of Missions of the Cape Girardeau Baptist Association, and he believes that Italy may be the next missions emphasis for the Association.
On February 29th, John Vernon and I traveled to northeast Italy with other Missouri Baptist pastors and left with a burden for this area. We met with local pastors about forming a partnership with them to plant churches and make disciples. We prayed with them and sought God’s will and wisdom for this possible missions endeavor.
On March 20th at 6pm, I shared details about the trip and about the missions partnership. At the April 2016 Business Meeting, I presented a missions strategy to the church and the church voted to affirm this Great Commission partnership. Our goal, in cooperation with the Cape Baptist Association to send 3 or 4 teams of 4-6 people each year to this area. Please be in prayer about this Great Commission opportunity to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Blessings in Christ! Pastor Jeremy