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The Mission Strategy Division is directed by David Michel, who serves administratively with Dr. Jim Futral, Mississippi Baptist
Convention Board Executive Director-Treasurer, to design a comprehensive mission strategy for churches, associations, and state
convention leadership. He coordinates the efforts of six departments within the state convention structure, serves as the Acts 1:8
Challenge director, works in collaboration with associational missions directors, and maintains relationships with mission leaders in
key agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Statewide coordinated planning for the Acts 1:8 Challenge in 2012 focused on the theme: Together for Christ based on
Acts 2:42-47. Dr. Futral set the overall tone for the launch with a presentation on the Lordship of Christ to a joint meeting of
Associational Mission Directors and Staff Convention Missionaries. Sub-themes of worship, discipleship, stewardship, and fellowship were
explored and combined into a strategic planning resource for churches to use in strengthening local ministries. The resource guide has
been published and interpreted to key church leaders in preparation for a public launch at the state convention in October.
Emphases on prayer and lostness in Mississippi have continued to percolate among all the strategic planning efforts of convention
leadership. The Church Planting Department has made available extensive demographic analyses of missional needs in every county and zip
code across the state. These new resources can be quite effective when combined with the Roof-Top Prayer Meeting experience,
recommended by the Church Growth Office. We can all be encouraged that “…that effectual prayer of a
righteous man availeth much.”
A key personnel change occurred in the Mission Strategy Division last year. Jerry Mixon’s retirement in December marked the end of a
12-year fruitful ministry among Mississippi Baptists. Jerry’s homespun humor always entertained us, and that light touch made his
stewardship appeal very influential. Regional specialists have been enlisted to carry forward the convention’s stewardship ministry, and
they have worked diligently to revitalize a 60-man corps of Stewardship Revival Preachers. These leaders are available for local church
consultations to support the 2013 theme: Together for Christ in Stewardship.
Restructuring at the North American Mission Board has influenced mission strategy in Mississippi. The introduction of Send
North America has led to an expanded emphasis on church planting development and partnering church enlistment to meet the
expectations of new missional coalitions in 27 major cities in North America. Mississippi churches have the opportunity to connect with
these city coalitions for hands-on church planting experience and support. Effective new church plants in these population centers can
help reverse recent declines in Southern Baptist growth.
Associational Leaders have changed during the year and new missional partners have been added to Mississippi Baptist life. Longtime
AMD in North Delta Association, M.C. Johnson (often affectionately referred to as our grandfather) retired in October and has moved to
Texas. Hank Lee, former missionary in Japan, has been called as the new director. Doug Jones has accepted the mission director’s role in
Warren Association. Shelby Hazzard moved from Washington Association to a pastoral role in Columbus, Mississippi. We extend prayers and
support for all of our regional leaders across the state and recognize the vital contribution they make to local mission strategy and
performance on behalf of God’s Kingdom.
Missions funding undergirds all the strategic planning that Mississippi Baptists do, and fuels the implementation of those plans. We
are forever grateful for the generosity and faithfulness of churches and individual stewards who make up their congregations. Giving at
the local church level is re-approaching the all-time high from 2008. Offerings just below $400 million are encouraging, but the
recovery has been difficult. The Margaret Lackey State Mission Offering for 2011 totaled $1,888,351, and prompted us to pray for
unexpected generosity in 2012. This year’s theme reminds us of the Apostle Paul’s unexpected experience with
the Macedonian churches who gave, “beyond their ability.” The Bible promises all believers that God will “…enrich us in every way so
that we can be generous on every occasion…” (2 Corinthians 9:11). May that be our prayer for Mississippi Baptists as we continue to
pursue the missional calling He has extended to us.
David A. Michel, Associate Executive Director
Mississippi Baptist Convention Board
Mission Strategy Division
P. O. Box 530
Jackson, MS 39205