The award highlights the work of evangelism among Baptists around the world and aims to inspire churches to share the gospel, said Harry Lucenay, who recently retired as pastor of Kowlood International Baptist Church after more than 12 years in Hong Kong.
“The people of Kowloon International Baptist Church are pleased to be a part of this good effort,” said Lucenay, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Longview.
The church made an initial $60,000 grant, to be followed with additional annual disbursements. Earnings on the fund will be applied to awards in evangelism presented every five years at the Baptist World Congress, beginning at the 2020 Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Priority of evangelism
“We believe (Kowloon’s) reputation as a church recognizing the priority of evangelism will raise this award to the level of other distinguished awards in the worldwide Baptist family,” BWA General Secretary Neville Callam said. BWA also issues awards in recognition of Baptist work to promote or defend human rights.
“The ministry of evangelism is at the very heart of the church’s vocation, and it has long been my desire to see the BWA find additional ways to signal its importance appropriately,” Callam said.
The grant—announced prior to Christmas—“reminds us of one significant implication of God becoming a person in Jesus Christ, that is, the Christian obligation to spread the good news to the entire world,” he added.
Kowloon International Baptist Church is a diverse congregation with members from more than 24 countries and a heart for evangelism, Callam noted.
“The congregation is led by a pastor whose dynamic preaching and heart for world evangelism have inspired (the church) to sponsor several church building construction programs and various other mission ventures in fulfillment of the broad vision God has given them,” he said.
The BWA previously conducted two campaigns to equip conventions, unions and churches for evangelism—Jesus Christ, the Living Water, and Jesus Christ, Bread of Life. During these programs, Baptists conducted 24 intensive training conferences in 19 countries.