CHARLESTON, S.C. (BP) – It’s not lost on First Baptist Church of Charleston Pastor Marshall Blalock that had Black missionary George Liele visited the church during his 18th century ministry, he would have been required to worship from the balcony.
In advance of Sunday’s (Feb. 7) first annual George Liele Church Planting, Evangelism, and Missions Sunday on the Southern Baptist Convention calendar, Blalock delivered today’s (Feb. 3) virtual devotion from the church balcony, focusing on Liele. A former slave, Liele was the first Baptist missionary abroad.
“I doubt George Liele ever worshiped here in the Charleston church, but it is likely he would have stood in the gallery of the Savannah church back in the day,” Blalock told Baptist Press. “This Sunday in worship we will honor the memory of the first Baptist missionary, an enslaved man who came to Christ, became a church planter in Georgia and South Carolina, then as a free man went to Jamaica to lead a movement that saw thousands of enslaved African people come to Christ.”
First Baptist Charleston, founded nearly a century before Liele’s ministry began in 1782 in Jamaica, is among churches marking the day Sunday with educational resources from the International Mission Board, exhortation and a special offering for international missions.
At The View Church in Menifee, Calif., Pastor Gregory Perkins will include in all three Sunday services video presentations of Liele’s life and ministry. While Perkins is in the middle of SBC Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd’s Ten Percent stewardship teaching series, Perkins will modify Sunday’s segment to focus on Liele. He’ll use part of Liele’s teaching in the Caribbean as an illustration.