On Feb. 7-8 of this year, Christians worldwide celebrated the Baptist World Alliance Day. According to the BWA, “The celebration [of the BWA Day] is aimed at affirming Baptist identity within the worldwide Christian family. Baptists are encouraged to pray for each other and to renew their commitment to cooperate with Baptists globally through the BWA.” To commemorate this organization and special day, here is a brief overview of the organization and what their members are doing to help better the world.
With more than 42 million members in 177,000 churches, the Baptist World Alliance is a fellowship of 231 conventions and unions in 121 countries and territories. All of their statistics and the number of members, churches, and their locations can be found on their website. (vhttp://bwanet.org/about-us2/statistics)
BWA is committed to the following: 1) Promoting worship, fellowship and unity, 2) Nurturing the passion for mission and evangelism, 3) Responding to human need through relief and sustainable community development, 4) Defending human rights and justice, and 5) Promoting relevant theological reflection.
According to the brochure on their website, The Alliance strives to, “relieve suffering and confront injustice, inequality, and poverty across this interdependent world.” In sum, there are five basic things that Baptists work in the ministry of:1) Worship and Fellowship, 2) Mission and Evangelism, 3) Freedom and Justice, 4) Relief and Development, and 5) Theological Reflection.
“We live today in a global village. It is only the Baptist World Alliance® that can bring us together and network in areas such as evangelism and social justice,” Ross Clifford, BWA Vice-President Morling Baptist Theological College, Australia said. “It ensures that voices from around the world are heard. I believe I am part of something that is truly kingdom ministry.”
“In Jesus Christ, all people are equal, and faith in him entails a passionate commitment to human rights, freedom, peace, justice, and religious liberty,the BWA does everything in our power to oppose racism, slavery, and religious persecution regardless of race, creed, or other distinctions,” BWA’s brochure states.
The Alliance speaks up and works toward justice and human rights on the world stage through consultative status with the UN as an NGO. The Alliance also appoints 22 individuals to work internationally through U.N. connections.
Baptist World Aid (BWAid)
Following World War I, BWAid was formed as the relief and development arm of The Alliance. Since then, it has provided relief and development aid, training and networking. From its inception, BWAid relief has been for all who are in need, regardless of race or religion.
BWAid has also been collecting information on needs around the world. The Alliance shares these concerns with its member bodies and others in attempt to build a collaborative response to meet the needs, while encouraging Baptists and others to give to the BWA’s cause.
– Eastin Shipman