by Darrell Goemaat

Monday_INWith words acknowledging the conferees’ long travel times, Chris Hindal, director of GARBC International Ministries, welcomed 66 brothers and sisters in Christ to the second All-Partners Conference on Monday, Nov. 3, outside Bangkok, Thailand. Others were still on the way and would be arriving either later that evening or the following morning.

GARBC international partners from as far away as west Brazil were greeted warmly by Chris and Deb Hindal and Reuel and Phebe Lumilang as they arrived at the Wangree Resort for this four-day conference of the International Partnership of Fundamental Baptist Ministries titled “The Heartbeat of God—The Lostness of Man.”

Chris led off the week with his message “Three Barriers We Face in Reaching the World for Christ.” He focused on a willingness to cross ethnic, moral, and cultural barriers to pursue the lostness of man.

The last time this group met was in the fall of 2009 when they gathered face-to-face for the first time at this same resort. They shared stories of their ministries, and they elected a governing Council of Eight and Chris Hindal as its chairman. (Read “Baptist Groups Partner in Bangkok.”)

This year’s meeting will allow the partners to share what has happened since then and elect a new council and chairman. “The GARBC—the initiating partner of the IPFBM—has been in the driver’s seat long enough,” Hindal says. The 2009 election of the Council of Eight was one step toward GARBC National Representative John Greening’s vision of an international partnership of ministries built on a commitment to common doctrine and global church-based ministry.

While the partnership is still a fledgling organization and developing its infrastructure and functionality, Chris says it is time for him to step away from the primary leadership role and face of the partnership. “The goal is for the partnership to be on a level playing field and all of us be regarded as peers.”

By the time this conference is over, Chris hopes these peers will set up goals for regional meetings with specific purposes. “These [goals] would come out of dream sessions with takeaway action items that will lead to projects,” Chris says.

Those project ideas may come out of daily free time when partners will relax in the open-air resort lobby and build relationships by sharing their ministries with each other—like they did four years ago.

Chris says the benefit of the IPFBM begins with these relationships. “Discovering other associations of Baptist churches is both encouraging and relieves some of the ‘Lone Ranger’ mentality,” he says. “None of us are the only ones on the block.”

Chris says the value of the partnership in meetings like this is an acknowledgement that the Great Commission is too large of an assignment for anyone to fulfill on their own. “Partnering helps us address all nations,” he says.

Chris notes that partnering also allows ministries to develop through cooperative efforts that individual partners might not be able to do alone, such as camps, training, or pioneering missionary efforts to unreached people groups.

Whether it’s in the main sessions or seated across the table in the lobby, Chris hopes that the sharing of stories and a deeper understanding of what each partner brings to the table will break down the go-it-alone mentality. “’Together we can accomplish more’ is not just a saying but a principal,” Chris says. “Seeing the value and potential of cooperation is still a sales job.”

In addition to new elections, the partners will have opportunities to tell their stories publicly in brief presentations each morning. They will also hear messages from pastors from seven countries, as well as Jim Vogel, Empire State Fellowship representative, and John Murdoch, director of Regular Baptist Chaplaincy Ministries.

The international partners who will be speaking include Hoi Cung Tum of Myanmar, Everard Cadogan of Guyana, Nate Beckman of Thailand, Satish Divakar of India, Earl Magdale of the Philippines, Joseph Akakpo of Togo, and H. C. Stephen of India.

Each morning and evening session will begin with prayer and singing led by Ariel Abadiano, founding president of Philippines-based PARTNERS International. Every afternoon Jeannie Vogel will be leading a ladies’ workshop at the same time Ariel Abadiano, Chris Brown of TechPartner, and Jermi Babu of Hope New Interior Ministries in Andhra Pradesh will be taking turns hosting a men’s workshop.

Darrell Goemaat is director of photography for the Baptist Bulletin.