Dr. Joseph Bunce - 2018

Dr. Joseph Bunce serves as lead missionary and executive director for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.

Paul stayed two years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance” (Acts 28:30-31).

Like Paul’s story, all of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s church plants over the past few years have started in rented spaces. Also like Paul, they put out the welcome mat and witnessed incredible, life-changing stories. 

I have always loved stories. Something about a great story affects the fabric of a person’s soul. And, every person has a life story! Every person needs Jesus.

This past weekend, I witnessed a young couple give their lives to Jesus in one of our church plants. The husband had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, according to the planter. In fact, the planter had been praying for the young man for a long time. 

They are neighbors and, now, brothers in Christ. That couple’s eternity has been changed because of God’s grace and the intentionality of planting a church. Right now, I can name many places across New Mexico that need a local Baptist church. Every person has a life story!  

Because every person needs Jesus, the largest portion of 2019’s Mission New Mexico State Missions Offering helps fund church planting because lost people fill New Mexico.  

I am particularly fond of two stories in Jesus' ministry: the story of the woman at the well (John 4) and the story of the demon-possessed man (Mark 5). Those two individuals both came to understand the meaning of becoming a new creation in Christ. They were like most New Mexicans are today, lost and without hope. One fascinating thing about them is that, once they met Jesus, they discovered their assignment was to tell their friends and family what God had done in their lives. The simple point is this: the Great Commission starts at home. 

I have never been more excited about the use of the Mission New Mexico Offering than I am this year. With these funds we will see church planting funded by New Mexico Baptists reach New Mexicans and take a giant step forward. Please pray with me for the more than 50 New Mexico towns and villages of 500 people or more that do not have a Bible teaching and preaching Baptist church.

Think about this, every church in the Baptist Convention of New Mexico family started as a church plant or mission church (as we once called them). The time has come for New Mexico Baptists to take responsibility for ensuring that every New Mexican has an opportunity to hear a clear Gospel presentation. New Mexico is our home and our assignment. Every pastor dreams of seeing his congregation embrace the mission field in its own “backyard.” 

Honestly, no one could have imagined what God would do when a broken woman and demon-possessed man took the Gospel to their own towns. That is why we must plant churches everywhere. We cannot imagine what God will do in those places. 

The second largest portion of the 2019 Mission New Mexico Offering provides resources to feed hungry people right here in our state. According to the Roadrunner Food Bank, “Hunger and poverty go hand-in-hand in New Mexico. Eighty-three percent of families experiencing hunger earn $20,000 or less a year, leaving many families to make difficult choices.” Roadrunner also describe the following “trade-offs” people are making because they don’t have enough money for food: 61% of households choose between food and utilities, 66% choose between food and transportation, 59% choose between food and medical care and 48% choose between food and housing. 

Hunger is real in our state. The Feeding America organization says, in “New Mexico, 324,000 people are struggling with hunger and of them 118,030 are children.”  I believe New Mexico Baptists care about both ministering to and sharing the Gospel with hungry people. That is why the Mission New Mexico Offering helps churches that have food ministries all across New Mexico offer hope for a broken heart, as well as food for an empty stomach. 

There is more. The offering also helps college students spread the Gospel all across New Mexico and around the world during their summer break. It ensures that our two camps, Inlow and Sivells, stay available for church retreats and camps where adults, students, and children can hear the Gospel, meet Jesus, and grow in their faith without distractions. It encourages and refreshes the pastors and their families who lead our churches in Great Commission ministry. And, it helps the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home find permanent homes for displaced children. Those are more than descriptions of an offering. They are descriptions of how generous saints impact New Mexico.

In the book of Acts, Paul said the Gospel was unhindered. That is still true about the Gospel today. Remember, generous saints helped Paul financially. And, that is exactly what I ask of you. Would you help with your generous gift? Every dollar will get to the mission field of New Mexico. Every Mission New Mexico gift will efficiently assist local churches with reaching people for Christ through specific and unique ministries.

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