Illinois is our mission field. When your church gives to the Mission Illinois Offering, you’re investing in the health of hundreds of fellow Baptist churches in our state, impacting communities we call home. Your MIO giving stays 100% here and supports the health of Illinois churches.
Healthy churches are essential in see our over 8 million lost Illinois family members, neighbors, and coworkers find new life in Jesus, because the local church is His plan A, and there is no plan B.
The Mission Illinois Offering and Week of Prayer is September 17-24. This week, pray for the individuals and ministries served by the Offering.
Learn more about MIO here.
Day 1: Sunday, Sept. 17
Each of the nearly 900 Southern Baptist congregations in Illinois represents a people and a place consecrated for God’s glory. With as many as 60-80% of churches nationwide in decline, renewed vitality is needed so they can deliver the light of Jesus to their neighborhoods. IBSA is working to turn the tide. Pathfinders and guides with the Health Team are currently engaged with more than 80 churches and 15 local associations in ongoing revitalization processes, guiding them to discover new ways to reach their communities.
Pray for Scott Foshie as he leads IBSA’s church revitalization efforts to help churches across Illinois find renewed hope and a new future.
Day 2: Monday, Sept. 18
Churches in transition
At any given time, approximately 10% of IBSA churches are without pastors. It can be challenging to remain unified and missions-focused while also prayerfully searching for a new shepherd who is the right fit for the church. In most cases this transition period lasts more than a year. The teams of faithful members who are entrusted with this difficult task benefit greatly from having resources and a guide to help them think through best practices and answer questions they may have.
Pray for churches currently seeking their next pastor, and for Mark Emerson as he leads IBSA’s work in consulting with over 30 pastor search teams and pastorless churches.
Day 3: Tuesday, Sept. 19
Spanish churches and planters
Many people continue to come to Illinois seeking opportunity and seeking refuge. The majority of these are Hispanic, with 300,000 more Hispanics calling Illinois home than just a decade ago. Immersed in a different culture and a new language, they often face loneliness and isolation. Spanish-speaking churches can reach immigrants through their heart language and culture. There are over 40 Spanish-language congregations within IBSA. Other churches have ministry to Spanish speakers but need a partner who speaks the language to help them reach their new Hispanic neighbors.
Pray for Hispanic church consultant Jorge Melendez as he works to encourage leaders and increase partners for ethnic language churches, and pastors who lead churches reaching refugees and immigrants.
Many continue to come to Illinois seeking opportunity and refuge. The majority of these speak Spanish. Immersed in a different culture and a new language, they often face loneliness and isolation. Spanish speaking churches can reach these immigrants through their heart language and culture.
Pray for ethnic language churches and pastors like Jonathan de la O, as they lead churches reaching refugees and immigrants.
Day 4: Wednesday, Sept. 20
Evangelism and missions
Evangelism and missions consultations provide encouragement, ideas, and a spark. After pastors Bruce Kirk and Robert Crowley at Alpha Missionary Baptist in Bolingbrook discussed strategies, they knew their church’s next step. Both had a heart to reach and disciple men, just like Kirk had done for Crowley years earlier. So, they created “Man Church” mixing events that touch on their community’s passion for cars and barbecue, along with gatherings focused on real conversations and needs like fatherlessness, to engage local men in a new way.
Pray for IBSA’s Scott Harris and Shannon Ford as they lead consultations to help churches serve and reach the lost in their communities.
Day 5: Thursday, Sept. 21
A new generation of pastors
Statistics show that as the previous generation of pastors moves on, there are not enough new pastors to replace them. Without a new generation of men hearing and responding to the call of God to serve as pastors, hundreds more churches across the state will struggle to receive consistent preaching, teaching, and shepherding of their people. IBSA’s Growth Team is working to help local churches and associations see more respond to calls to ministry and receive training, whether they are current students or recent retirees.
Pray for God to raise up new pastors who will follow his leading into ministry. Pray for more mentors like Zone Consultant Cliff Woodman.
Day 6: Friday, Sept. 22
Year after year, Lake Sallateeska and Streator Baptist Camps serve as special places where children and students hear God’s word and commit their lives to following Jesus. More than 75 students came to faith in Christ this summer alone. These two rural retreat centers, one in southern Illinois and one in northern Illinois, provide a place far from the distractions of a noisy world.
Pray young people will continue to hear God’s call in the special environment of camps. Pray for camp directors Jacob Kimbraugh and Brock Vandever as they and their families serve the thousands who come each year.
Day 7: Saturday, Sept. 23
Illinois is a big, diverse state—from rural Shawnee hills and river towns, to vast fields and farming communities, to bustling urban cities. Each Illinois church reflects the local culture and personality of its unique setting. Zone Consultants are experienced leaders, often current or retired pastors, who understand the challenges of churches in their region. They know the local culture and serve as nearby support, encouraging church leaders and connecting them with resources to help churches take their next step, no matter what it might be.
Pray for Zone Consultants like Joe Gardner and Bryan Price as they encourage pastors and connect churches to resources.
Day 8: Sunday, Sept. 24
Illinois church planting
Every year, IBSA helps to plant 10-20 new churches across the state. Church planters like Maurice Gaiter do the spiritually and physically challenging work of starting a church from scratch. He is planting a new congregation in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, a community with many people and needs, but their greatest need is the gospel. Starting new churches is a vital part of reaching people in changing neighborhoods.
Pray for church planters and IBSA Church Planting’s Kevin Jones and John Yi as they recruit, train, and support new churches and planters. Pray that more people and more churches will respond to God’s call to start new works throughout Illinois.