Anyone who has served in Southern Baptist churches would undoubtedly appreciate how Southern Baptists do missions. They come together through the Cooperative Program (CP) to provide for missions and missionaries’ needs with the International Mission Board (IMB). Many Southern Baptist pastors encourage their churches in CP giving and praying for IMB missionaries worldwide.
Travis Ingle, SBCV’s regional strategist for the Southwest Region, shared that he is privileged to champion the CP and missions partnership among SBCV churches. But it wasn’t until he boarded a plane for the first time in his life and traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, that he truly felt what the heart of the SBC partnership is all about.
Buenos Aires is a massive city with about 15 million people in the greater Buenos Aires area. It is fast-paced—full of people, trains, subways, cars, motorcycles, horns honking, and dogs barking.
“When you come here, you will love it,” said Derek Tucker, Buenos Aires team leader with the IMB. “You’ll love the sounds, the food and, most of all, the people.” Tucker and the Buenos Aires team of IMB missionaries were tremendous hosts. They know the city and their strategy well. They welcomed the group of pastors from Virginia into their homes and the mission field. Ingle said, “It truly felt like we were with our SBCV family.”
Each day, the team was introduced to pastors and church leaders from across the city. They prayerfully walked parks and communities in need of new church plants. Pastor Marc Brooks of Gethsemane Baptist Church in Richlands said, “The city is incredible! Living in Southwest Virginia, we might be concerned that this would be a little overwhelming, but people are people, and I’m thrilled for my church and sister churches to play a part in what God is doing here.”
The Argentine pastors and churches are vital to reaching the city; however, there are 3 million people with only 42 Baptist churches in the city center. “IMB will never be able to send enough people, so we need churches, we need more individuals, we need more co-laborers with us here,” Tucker explained.
Argentina is a post-Christian culture, where many claim to be Christian and part of the Church but are not disciples of Jesus. Despite all the differences in context and population, the need is the same no matter where we are. We all experience brokenness and lostness.
“We need revival—a spiritual awakening,” explained José Luis Lopez, pastor of Liners Baptist Church in Argentina. Pastor Rob Haynes of First Baptist Church of Jonesville recognized that “figuring out how to help and how to be most effective is the challenge.”
All IMB missionaries are sent from SBC churches. Therefore, we have a responsibility and a privilege to be able to join them in the mission—to come alongside the churches and mission team in Buenos Aires, not to teach but to partner with them as brothers and sisters in Christ and to be a part of what God is doing there.
“We can be a part of God’s redemptive plan here—to edify, to encourage, and to walk alongside our missionary team serving through the IMB. We can be a part of that,” said Allen Roberts, pastor of Euclid Avenue Baptist Church in Bristol.
It is a God-sized task, and you can partner in many ways in Buenos Aires. You can pray, give, and go. Could the Lord be calling you and your church to join what He is doing in Buenos Aires, Argentina? Is He calling you to take the next step in experiencing the heart of this mission partnership? ■