“Never Underestimate Your Opportunities,” Great Commission Week 2024 Urges Cooperation

Travis Hearne — April 4, 2024

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College hosted its annual Great Commission Week, March 25–29. The week focuses on current missions opportunities and options for those considering full-time missions following graduation.

Representatives from the International Mission Board (IMB), North American Mission Board (NAMB), and the Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC) encouraged students to start building connections and seek cooperation while still training for ministry.

Kevin Ezell, President of NAMB, preached the urgency of the Great Commission to the Southern Seminary community during his chapel message from 1 Corinthians 16:5–9. NAMB partners with the 47,000 Southern Baptist churches in America to emphasize evangelism, chaplaincy, and church planting.

“We have a limited time on this earth,” Ezell said. “We want to partner with you and your church to multiply. There is a great need for urgency.”

Ezell’s sermon stressed two points that help summarize the message of Great Commission Week:

  • 1. Watch for open doors.

“Our concept of ministry is often a worldly view,” Ezell said. “We sometimes use earthly means to determine the doors God is opening. But don’t just look for the doors that you think are worthy for you to walk through. God can use the simplest things in your life to do the most significant work.”

Ezell said that he had no connections as he went through seminary, but the situation is very different for students today. Organizations like the IMB, NAMB, and KBC exist to help aspiring ministers find places to serve.

“Never underestimate doors God opens,” Ezell said. “And never underestimate the opportunities God provides. God takes ordinary people and does extraordinary things with their faithfulness.”

  • 2. Prepare for opposition.

“Opposition is going to come, but we can’t equate challenges with failure,” Ezell said. “Sometimes the most critical decisions we make are the most difficult decisions. Through opposition, Paul was laser-focused on sharing the gospel. He engaged the city, made disciples, and churches were birthed.”

Ministry always includes opposition in one form or another, but Ezell encouraged pastors and church leaders to endure hardships because the Great Commission is worth it, and God is still working.

A Tool in His Hand

“Ministry can be intimidating,” Ezell said. “You were bought with a price and belong to God. Love your people and stay focused on the task at hand. Don’t underestimate what God can do through those most difficult days to bring a great result. Don’t underestimate what God can do when you are faithful. Stay laser-focused on getting the gospel to the ends of the earth.”

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