Grant Ethridge, president of the Pastors' Conference and pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, Va., said attendees made good on this year's theme -- "Changing Lives, Communities and the World" -- when it came time to collect an offering for the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board and GuideStone Financial Resources' assistance to needy retirees.
"We wanted to partner to help accomplish this mission of change for Christ," Ethridge said. "It's important for pastors to really work together to lead others into changing lives, communities and the world. None of us can do alone what all of us can do together."
Of the money given at the conference, more than $50,000 went to IMB to aid in Scripture translation and distribution projects; a $50,000 check to NAMB and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering will be used in church planting; and $10,000 was given to GuideStone for assistance to retired Southern Baptist ministers, workers and widows.
Regarding the gift to NAMB, Ethridge said, "We believe the future of North America is in church planting and revitalization." Citing New York City, for example, Ethridge said the need for churches is great in the metro area of more than 22 million people. "This money can help with NAMB's vision to plant 50 new churches in the city over the next five years," Ethridge said.
NAMB President Kevin Ezell said the Pastors' Conference offering reflects the priorities of Southern Baptist pastors.
"To receive this gift from fellow pastors is extremely encouraging," Ezell said. "It demonstrates for our entire convention where our priorities should be."
Ethridge said he hopes the offering will be an example to stir churches to greater acts of stewardship.
"God's plan for getting the Gospel to the ends of the earth is still the local church, and the leader of the local church is the pastor," Ethridge said. "We want to do whatever we can to encourage pastors as they lead the churches they serve to reach out with the love, light and life of Jesus Christ."
Sara Shelton is a writer for the North American Mission Board. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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