~by Erich Bridges, Published In The Baptist Banner, pages 12-14, November/December 2014 (www.BaptistBanner.org)
Here’s a creed worth adopting — if you dare.
As a follower of Christ: I am called not to comfort or success but to obedience. Consequently, my life is to be defined not by what I do but by who I am. Henceforth: I will proclaim His name without fear, follow Him without regret and serve Him without compromise. Thus: To obey is my objective, to suffer is expected, His glory is my reward. Therefore: To Christ alone be all honor and all glory, that the world may know. Amen!
Those 83 words challenge a number of things we hold dear as modern Americans: personal independence, success, comfort, unlimited options. They comprise the creed, which is first memorized, then lived out, by students accepted into Fusion (imbstudents.org/fusion), a challenging year of mission training and action for college-age Southern Baptists.
Fusion, now in its 10th year, is a partnership between IMB and Midwestern Baptist College, the undergraduate program at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri.
The students spend the fall semester living and studying in a close discipleship community, participating in specialized training programs and evangelism in the Kansas City area – and holding each other accountable to their commitment. In the spring semester, they head overseas to join IMB missionaries in various locations. Fusion teams are trained to go to the least-reached people groups, so they often travel to physically challenging or high-security area around the world. Wishy-washy believers need not apply. Well, they can apply but they won’t stay wishy-washy for long.
Karen Watson’s words and life inspired the Fusion creed. Watson, a Californian, was one of four Southern Baptist relief workers killed by unknown gunmen in Iraq in 2004. Watson was a former law enforcement officer known both for her toughness and her passion for God. She knew the risks of working in Iraq and had willingly returned there shortly before her death after several previous close calls with death. “When God calls there are no regrets,” Watson wrote in a now-famous letter found in a sealed envelope marked “Open in case of death.” She left the letter with her pastor when she departed for the Middle East in 2003. “I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations,” Watson wrote. “I wasn’t called to a place; I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward, His glory my reward.”
When was the last time that you shared the plan of salvation with anyone?