Missions is the heartbeat of Grand Avenue Baptist Church. It is not a back-room ministry with a few mission-minded folks going on a couple of trips a year, rather it is a church-wide initiative to follow Jesus’ commands to reconcile a lost world back to God. Our church’s desire is to teach that everyone is a missionary where you live, work, and play. The call of God to missions is not a specific call but a general call to all believers to participate in fulfilling the Great Commission both locally and globally.
The purpose of the Missions ministry in our church is to educate our congregation about missions, mobilize our people to go on missions, and, as a church, participate in the mandate that Jesus gave us to go and make disciples of all nations by partnering with missionaries all over the world to see indigenous, reproducing churches planted among unreached people groups, as well as serving as missionaries ourselves locally in the Fort Smith, Arkansas, region.
Since we are a Southern Baptist Church, we primarily support the work of our International Mission Board missionaries and our North American Mission Board church planters. One exception is our work with Orphanage Emmanuel in Honduras. The International Mission Board has determined that their work will be planting churches among the most critically unreached and unengaged people groups on the planet, and the North American Mission Board has determined that their work will be to plant churches in 32 large cities across North America and Canada. Therefore, our church has determined that we will do the same. All of the work that we do is in the hard places. Jesus told us to be light in the darkness, and so we go to the darkest places. This means that we do not put time limits on our work like most churches do. We have come to realize that these darker places may take much longer to see an indigenous, reproducing church planted.
All of our mission trips have two purposes: 1. to come alongside our partnering missionaries’ or church planters’ strategy to plant indigenous, reproducing churches, and 2. to encourage our missionary and church planter families.
In order to facilitate the Mission ministry of our church, we have hired a Mission Pastor. Our Mission Pastor is Scott Ward. Scott grew up at Grand, and after spending some years in other ministries, ended up on staff as the College Pastor. He and his wife, Jennifer, took their family in 2007 to Tanzania to be missionaries with the IMB. In 2010 they were forced to resign from the mission field for medical reasons when their son, Joshua, was born three months early. Scott came on staff again at Grand as the Mission Pastor. Scott and Jennifer have 4 boys: Luke (23), Brennan (19), Joshua (12), and Samuel (8).
“We believe that God has clearly called every believer to the mission of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. At Grand we take very seriously Jesus’ command in Matthew 28, “to go and make disciples of all nations.” What you will find in this website are opportunities to obediently go to those far from God with the best news the world has ever known: Jesus Saves! Use this information to begin to pray about specific places and opportunities for you to go and help us take the ONLY message that can truly change the World.” – Lead Pastor, Brad Lewter