The year was 1792. William Carey had challenged his Baptist brethren to obey their responsibility to take the Gospel to unreached lands. Baptists of mid-England formed the Particular Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Heathen. They appointed Carey and John Thomas to go to India as missionaries. In 1793 Carey said a tearful farewell to his church in Leicester, England. On a Wednesday the Society came together for a farewell service as Carey and his son prepared to leave. Sometime during that all-day meeting, Carey met with the four leaders of the Society. These men promised Carey “that, as he went forth in the Society’s name and their Master’s, they should never cease till death to stand by him.” Andrew Fuller, one of those men, later described the occasion with an illustration.
Fuller said that the mission to India seemed like a few men who considered going into a deep, unexplored mine. It was as if Carey said, “Well, I will go down, if you will hold the rope.” The meeting, in Fuller’s mind, was as if he and the other brethren gave their word that “whilst we lived, we should never let go the rope.”
The four leaders of the Baptist Society kept their word to Carey. They served the Society, prayed for Carey, and raised needed funds. History records that each man “held the rope” until he died.
More than 200 years have passed since Carey first volunteered to go. Times have changed, and Carey would not recognize our modern world. Godly missionaries labor for Christ around the world today. The work on which Carey embarked and the work missionaries do today is the same.
Will you “take hold of the rope” with us and support our General Fund so we can more efficiently and effectively serve these faithful, modern-day servants of Christ?
Missionaries today continue to go “down into the mine” seeking to win lost men to Christ, baptize and disciple them, and plant New Testament churches. Some go to places that are dangerous. Some go into locales where exotic illnesses threaten. Others go to countries where poverty makes life difficult. All of them go to lands where people by the thousands need our Savior. These missionaries, like William Carey, need someone to “hold the rope” as they embark on their Great Commission task.
THE PRIORITY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH
Scripture teaches that a local church is the only New Testament ecclesiastical authority. Local churches commission and send missionaries. Baptist World Mission ministers as the service agency for the local churches and the missionaries they send. We do not interfere in the affairs or decisions of local churches; we serve local churches.
This scriptural principle also guides our missionaries’ work on the field. Baptist World Mission never holds title to local church property or controls the church in any other way. The local church is autonomous from the day of its birth! The only transition the new church ever experiences is when the missionary pastor leaves and a national pastor assumes leadership.
The Mission guards carefully against usurping the authority of the local church. The missionary is directly accountable to his sending church and, secondarily, to his supporting churches.
Our world has changed since Carey and Thomas first went to India. New Testament missionary work is still the same soul-winning, believer-discipling, church-planting work Christ gave us to do. We do that work in a modern, technological, fast-paced, and often high-pressure world. How do we “hold the rope” for our missionaries today? Many strands interweave to make up the bond of support between home and the mission field. Baptist World Mission holds many ropes for the missionary by providing information, accountability, financial and certification assistance, and encouragement. As a service organization, BWM eases the daily process for each missionary so that the missionary can focus on the frontline aspect of the ministry.
Help us Hold the Rope
“Holding the rope” for our missionaries involves necessary costs. We work hard at holding down our administrative expenses. Many mission agencies charge fees of 10% or greater of all missionary donations for their services. In 2009 BWM missionary fees paid to the home office were 3.89% of all donations received for missionaries, and as always, 100% of all missionary project money went to its intended purpose. BWM figures are unbelievably low when compared with similar mission agencies.
Our missionaries contribute toward home office expenses, which is reasonable since we are serving them directly. More than 4200 churches and individuals support Baptist World Mission missionaries. Of that number, less than 150 give toward our home office overhead costs.
We serve local churches, and we are accountable to local churches. Therefore, we appeal to local churches to “take hold of the rope” and give toward our home office expenses.
If each church would give something, it would make the load lighter for all and assist in meeting our needs. Some churches give large amounts monthly; several churches give small amounts. One church that supports many of our missionaries gives $10 per month to our home office for each missionary it supports.