More than any other season of the year, summer is the time for Kentucky Baptists to be on mission! Volunteer mission trips in and out of the state and overseas are on the calendar for most of our churches.
Here at home, probably the biggest mission event in our communities is Vacation Bible School, a time when churches all across the state will be ministering to and sharing the gospel with families. Kentucky Changers is also a big part of a missional summer for many of our churches committed to sharing Christ in their Judea. In addition to hosting Kentucky Changers, the WMU staff members have a calendar packed with summer mission activities and trainings. I recently had the privilege of spending time with Crossings Ministries’ summer staff, most of whom are college students, as they prepare for their summer mission of sharing the gospel with close to 14,000 young people at our Kentucky Baptist camps. Another group of college students will take part in the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Experience 1:8, a discipleship and missions program that seeks to mold students into missional leaders. Students will serve in Kentucky, as well as outside of the state and nation.
Kentucky Baptists will benefit from thousands of reinforcements as we seek to reach our state for Christ this summer. Volunteer mission teams from churches sprinkled across the Southern Baptist Convention choose Kentucky as a missions destination each year, most doing their work in the summer. While the mountains of eastern Kentucky and counties along the Mississippi River Valley receive the lion’s share of volunteers, several other communities in our state are host sites as well.
Why such a flurry of activity for Southern Baptists and Kentucky Baptists while most are simply enjoying the “lazy days of summer?” The Bible’s final chapter helps answer that question. No less than four times do we find the imminent return of Jesus referenced in Revelation 22. In verse 7, Jesus declares, “I am coming soon.” In verse 10, the angel warns, “The time is near.” Then, in verses 12 and 20, Jesus twice more announces, “I am coming soon!”
At the moment of His return, the invitation to “come … take the free gift of the water of life” extended in verse 17 will forever be closed. Those who have accepted Christ’s invitation will have their sins forgiven and enjoy eternity in His heavenly kingdom. But those who have not accepted the invitation will receive the wages of their sin in an eternal hell. Yet, until that moment, the invitation still stands. And that invitation is to be heralded by those who, themselves, have accepted it. Thus, the highest privilege and heaviest obligation in history rests upon us: We are to share the hope of the gospel while there is still time for the lost to be saved.
Summer is close at hand. So is the Savior’s coming. Kentucky Baptists, we have work to do!