by Tim Patterson
PLYMOUTH, MI – How can something so small cause such big problems? We can’t see it without the aid of specialized microscopes and when we do get a good look at it, it appears to be a harmless little globe of goo wearing a crown. Yet this miniscule mass has been wreaking havoc on the entire terrestrial globe we call earth and, in many ways, has taken over the world and all of its inhabitants. The COVID-19 virus is a nasty and unrelenting enemy that is leaving a worldwide path of destruction wherever it goes. That destruction and damage is not limited to a select few or to those it infects. It’s hurt and harm goes far beyond the physical illness it inflicts.
The churches of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM) have for the most part pushed through this pandemic with a victorious spirit and an entrepreneurial attitude. They have adjusted, shifted, and changed where necessary to make sure that they continue to be the church, and meet the needs of their members and the community at large. Truly they have “become all things, to all men that they may reach them”.
A cursory glance at our churches would give the appearance that all is well, but on closer inspection one would find that many of our pastors have made enormous financial, physical, and emotional sacrifices in order to keep our churches whole and healthy. Some have even sacrificed their own health for the health of the church. Many of our pastors are bi-vocational or co-vocational as they serve our churches. It is not uncommon for some of them to have more than one part time job, and this is true for their spouses as well. They gladly do this so that they may be able to minister in lower income areas that desperately need the Gospel message of a local church.
These pastors did not go into the ministry for money. They do so because of a calling from God and a compassion for the lost. Every one of them could be more financially prosperous in another profession, but have chosen to obey the heart of God. Because these men are driven by a passion to serve others and help meet their needs, very seldom will they acknowledge their own needs.
During this pandemic, many of our pastors have lost income and or have sacrificially relinquished their paychecks in order for the local church to stay solvent. Knowing the hearts and lives of these men, I would expect nothing less. They are true servants. Now we as the family we call the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, have an opportunity to help these dear servants of God, and truly make a difference in their lives as they have in the lives of so many of us.
This year’s Francis Brown State Mission Offering (SMO 2020) will go totally to help pastors who have suffered and sacrificed during this pandemic. These men would never ask for help for themselves, but I will ask for them. This is a great opportunity for us to give back to those who give so much for so many.
Will you prayerfully consider giving above and beyond your characteristic generosity and make a sacrificial gift this year? Remember, we are never more like Jesus than when we are giving.
To donate to this year's Frances Brown State Mission Offering, or to find FREE resources to help promote the offering in your church or on social media, please visit bscm.org/smo.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.