International Ministries

WOULD YOUR MEMBERS PASS THE TEST?

May 20, 2002 Journal
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When a Baptist Church in Mexico begins a new ministry, it is called a Mision (Mission).Once the mission has established itself numerically and financially, then it can seek permission to organize as an official church of the convention.Last night (May 16) we attended a special service to organize the mission called "La Casa de Oracion" (The House of Prayer).What we found fascinating is the process of how this takes place.The entire membership studies church doctrine and ecclesiology, and then submit to an oral exam by a clergy council.The church members dress all in white signifying that they come as "testigos", believers/witnesses of Christ.(Mexican Baptists also wear white for baptisms and on Easter Sunday.)All the members sit together in one section of the congregation.A special council is formed of all the pastors present, and responsibilities are divided at this time.One pastor is appointed to ask the theological questions.The ensuing process is much what our pastoral candidates experience at an ordination council.The pastor asks a question, naming a specific member to offer an answer.Others may be called upon to assist if someone runs into difficulty. The pastor of the mission does not participate in this examination.

Here is a sample of some of the questions we heard last night:

Why do you seek to organize as a church?

What is the church?

Tell me about baptism.

Can you state a Scripture to support the viewpoint this person just offered?

Who has the responsibility when someone wants to become a member?

How do you become a member of the church?

Name 10 attributes of God.

Tell me something about the Holy Scriptures.

How will you interpret the will of God for this church?

State a Bible verse that specifically states that Jesus is God, & not merely the Son of God.

What do you believe about the death and resurrection of Jesus?

How are we adopted as children of God?

What will be this church's participation in the Regional and National Convention?

Can you name the Biblical principles for church discipline?

How can a church lose its identity?

I wondered how many of these questions the members of our local ABC churches in the USA could answer!There were about 30 people present to represent Casa de Oracion.Even the teenagers were accountable and called upon to answer.What was the end result?A unanimous vote to accept this mission as a new church in the Baptist Convention of La Paz, Baja California Sur!The examination took about an hour and a half.This was followed by a two and a half hour worship service.We began at 6pm and ended a little after 10pm, and then a meal was served.And you thought Church Business meetings in the states were long!

It was exciting to experience the witness of this body of believers.Their courage and preparedness as they answered the questions was an inspiration.It was an occasion to remember what it truly means to be the body of Christ, in spirit and in deed.

Joyce Reed