This past Sunday was a big and exciting day. Leanne and I had our official commissioning during the church service on March 14. While Oakwood had affirmed our calling to start our service with Bible Basics International back in 2007 we were not commissioned because we were not serving full-time until October of 2009 and March 14 turned out to be the best time. Oakwood follows the example of a sending church provided by the Bible in the book of Acts. They believe the Word instructs His churches to send out and support missionaries and the commissioning service is part of that plan. The church in Acts, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, commissioned Paul and Barnabas to go out and proclaim the Word of God. The commissioning is the church’s way of saying that we agree that the Holy Spirit is calling the missionary into service and they will stand behind that missionary and support their ministry.
In addition to the commissioning service Oakwood chose March 14 to try a different way of presenting our supported missionaries. In the past the church had put on an annual missions conference with as many of the supported missionaries in attendance as possible. Each one would be given the opportunity to speak to a group of the members and some would address the whole church during one of the worship services. Our Missions Commission (MISCOM) found that this method was not working as well as they would have liked.
This Sunday the MISCOM implemented a new strategy for reaching the congregation with information about missions by focusing on one ministry at a time. We had “BBI Sunday” and along with our commissioning, Jerry and Mildred Petersen, who serve at BBI’s radio station on the island of Roatan off of the coast of Honduras, did a mock radio show. It gave them the opportunity to give an example of one aspect of what they do at the radio station, give an update on what is going on with their ministry, and show a video clip that contained interviews with some of the stations listeners. My parents, Gerry and Sharon, did the announcements and gave an update at the beginning of the service. Rev. Evan Drake, BBI’s new president gave a message on the “Sending Church.” We also had a display booth that took up the whole back corner of the worship center.
From the feed back we have had, I believe the whole service was a big success. We are also going to have an open house here at the mission headquarters on Tarpon Springs Road on March 28. It will be from noon to around 2pm and will include a picnic. Everyone will bring their own lunch. Plates, chips, drinks, and desert will be provided. If anyone is interested in attending the open house please give us a call at (813) 920-2264 M-Th from 8am until 5:30pm or drop us an email so that we will have enough seats, drinks, and deserts for everyone. You can get more information by calling the phone number above or by stopping by the welcome center in Oakwood’s foyer. There will be fliers and a sign up sheet and you can get a map to the offices. The map is also available on the BBI website. Just click here to be taken to the contact page where you will find a map and our address.
Leanne and I are privileged to be in full-time service at BBI. We are also grateful that we are part of a missions minded church. We are looking forward to what the Lord has for our future and appreciate all of you who have supported us through your prayers and finances.