Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas, recently made a $100,000 donation to the International Mission Board. The church’s lead pastor, Michael Gossett, reached out to IMB President Paul Chitwood the first week after he assumed pastoral duties (Sept. 1, 2021) to let Chitwood know Green Acres wanted to continue in strong partnership with the IMB. The IMB communications team interviewed Gossett to learn why he prioritizes partnership with the IMB.
IMB: What prompted Green Acres to give $100,000 toward missions?
Gossett: We had a surplus from 2020 in our budget. It’s in the nature of the church to be generous; generosity is part of Green Acres’ DNA.
When we were thinking through, “What are we going to do with this surplus?” the first thing that we thought was, “We want to give it away. We want to do whatever we can to make the most impact, not just for our city, but we want to make sure that this goes around the world.”
I don’t know of any better organization that is getting it done other than the IMB. We already have a great partnership with the IMB. That partnership continues to expand and strengthen. Going forward, we don’t want to shy away from our partnership with the IMB; we don’t want to shy away from our emphasis for missions. We want to expand that, and we want to make sure that continues to strengthen and grow as God allows.
IMB: What leads your church to take missions so seriously?
Gossett: For every Christian, missions is the one thing that God told us to do. But for Green Acres specifically, we are a missions-minded church because we started as a church plant. Today, we’re celebrating crossing over 18,000 members. But we started May 1955 as a church plant right here in Tyler, Texas. God saw the future of what Green Acres was going to be. It’s in our DNA. Missions is what we want to be about.
We want to be about starting new works. We want to be part of a church planting movement and not just here in East Texas, but we want to be a part of a church planting movement to the ends of the earth. These strategic partnerships are important. They’re why we exist.
IMB: Why partner with the IMB through giving?
Gossett: We want to do our part in the Cooperative Program, and we want to do our part as a church to make sure that the greatest sending agency in this world, which is the IMB, continues strong.
We know that takes financial support, so we want to give financially. We also want to send our people and any other resource we have to make sure that it makes the largest impact possible.
The good thing about partnering with the IMB is that they already have people on the ground who know specifically what the needs are for that community. Rather than us reinventing the wheel and guessing where the need may be, we want to know exactly where the need is. That is why we give to the IMB. They’re on the ground. We want to strengthen that.
IMB: What is your goal for future partnership with the IMB?
Gossett: We are currently the sending church for several IMB missionaries. We continue to support them through prayer and finances, etc.
The question we’re asking going forward is, “Who are the next IMB missionaries about to be sent from our church?”
That’s what we want to be emphasizing. Yes, we want to continue to strengthen those who are already there. But simultaneously, we want to call out the called. We want to call out the ones who God has already set aside to be the next missionary to go to the ends of the earth. Our desire is to make sure that we are participating in that kingdom work, that we are a good partner in and sustaining but also sending, and to repeat this process over and over again.
IMB: How would you encourage others to become more involved with Southern Baptists’ mission to reach all nations with the gospel?
Gossett: As we strive to be good partners with the IMB, I just want to make sure that I’m doing everything I can that the next generation knows the importance of the IMB and the importance of the Cooperative Program in general. I want to be a part of leading the next generation to engage in local and international missions to make sure that we are passing the torch. I want to see the next generation continue the work so that the IMB continues to thrive and flourish in the days ahead.