Globally Connected to Shine Hope
Updated: Apr 13, 2021
I participated in my first Executive Committee of the Baptist World Alliance this past week, led by our president, Dr. Tómas Mackey and our general secretary and CEO, Dr. Elijah Brown. The meeting was an amazing online gathering with leaders from all time zones. Some woke up very early to be on the calls over three days, while others were in the evening hours of their day. BWA meetings come the closest to what I imagine heaven to be like with people representing many different nations, cultures, and languages for one common purpose.
BWA, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 240 conventions and unions in 125 countries and territories, comprised of 47 million baptized believers in 169,000 churches. The organization networks the global Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship, and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.
Also elected as officers for the 2020 to 2025 quinquennium are Tomás Mackey of Argentina as president; Karl Johnson of Jamaica as first vice president; and Carolyn Fossen from the United States as treasurer. I have the honor of serving as one of 12 vice presidents representing BWA's global geographical divisions, representing Baptists in the United States of America.
Baptist churches in the United States form part of the North American Baptist Fellowship, a BWA-affiliated network of 22 Conventions, 55,000 churches, and 19.8 million members. The NABF also includes Baptists in Canada. The NABF is led by Rev. Jeremy Bell, general secretary and NABF president, Rev. Dr. Samuel Tolbert, Sr. Pastor of the Greater St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Buckner International enjoys a global footprint beyond the United States. We shine hope every day in Texas, Peru, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Kenya through foster care and adoption, family strengthening programs, Buckner Family Hope Centers, and humanitarian aid. I am highly optimistic about the potential for collaboration between Buckner and the priorities of BWA and NABF. I’m thrilled to represent Baptist churches and institutional ministries in the USA to the BWA family. We are poised to make an incredible difference over the next five years through these networks and among other networks of churches who seek to bless the nations in Jesus’ name.