The mission of Continental Baptist Missions is “To provide support services for the planting and developing of biblically sound and spiritually healthy Baptist churches in North America.”Missionaries and staff number approximately two hundred today, including church planters and associates, church builders, special support personnel (evangelism, youth ministries, ethnic outreach, etc.) and home office staff.
The story of Continental Baptist Missions began with a small group of hardy pioneers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Convinced of the need, and burdened to take the Gospel to the people of the North, several couples began church planting with little or no financial backing, and with no organizational network. Out of this CBM was born (as Hiawatha Land Independent Baptist Missions) to provide help and encouragement to these dedicated servants of God.
A great many things have changed over the years. The mission family has grown, and its ministries have multiplied and diversified. Once localized in Michigan’s northland, the Mission’s outreach now crisscrosses the continent. The truly essential things, however, remain unchanged. At the forefront is CBM’s desire to assist churches and their missionaries in re-churching North America. The Mission’s Board, staff, and missionaries are united in their desire to make a difference in the spiritual landscape of this continent.
The rationale for re-churching North America flows directly out of our Lord’s last words on earth: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” He prescribed an outreach that would begin at Jerusalem (where the church was) and ultimately extend to “the uttermost part” (where there was no church.) A solid foundation of church planting and development at home was basic to His plan.
It is more than cliché to say that “the light that shines farthest burns brightest at home.” Missions begins locally, builds momentum and ripples outward. When priorities are reversed, “Jerusalem” ministries suffer, and imbalance results. This process can sap the strength of the home base, reducing resources and impeding global outreach.
The history of the British Isles is a case in point. Once a potent force in evangelism and church development, Great Britain today is a mission field itself. Its great cities, villages and “newtowns” are places of spiritual vacuum, biblically unchurched after a generation neglected its own “Jerusalem.”
CBM is committed to global outreach, but biblical missions is not a matter of either missions at home or missions abroad. It’s a matter of both/and. A vital church planting program in North America is essential to an effective foreign outreach. Fruit will be reaped on the foreign field when we obey the mandate at home. It pays to take care of Jerusalem!
If God is dealing with you or your church about getting more involved in “Jerusalem” ministries, CBM is ready to help. We are your partner in church planting!