By Amanda Boston

Is the Great Commission a priority for Christians? Michael Barton, a lay leader at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, is asking that very question. In Acts 1:8 and Matthew 18:19-20, the directive is clear—go and make disciples of all nations and to the ends of the earth.
Bell Shoals Baptist Church has always had a heart for global missions. However, in 1998, the church initiated a Global Outreach Celebration (GOC) with the purpose to bring attention to many available global missions. Barton said, “The GOC helped me to have a greater awareness that God is moving among the people groups of this world.”

This year’s GOC will be held at Bell Shoals Brandon Campus from Sunday, October 14 through Wednesday, October 18. The four-day conference gathers missionaries from around the world to educate and engage with church members and community members who may be contemplating missions or are just curious. Missionaries from the following locations will be on site: Toronto, Haiti, Cuba, Central America, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Orphan’s Heart, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and International Missions Board will also be represented. A detailed schedule of the different activities will be available online at the Bell Shoals website.

Barton, who is also a leader for Bell Shoals’ Ends Of The Earth Missions Committee, expressed his personal connection with the Global Outreach Celebration. During the 2003 GOC, he committed to go on a mission trip to Kenya. While on his mission trip to Kenya, Barton met a man named Naphtali who told him, “I have had dreams and visions of someone who would come from far away to interview me about eternal life…and I was the person he had seen and to please proceed.”

Barton said, “At that moment, I was overwhelmed by the greatness of God that He would give me the privilege of having someone on this earth 8,000 miles away who would come to Christ through my obedience to go on mission for Him.”

Barton invites you to attend Bell Shoals Global Outreach Celebration to discover how God is on the move throughout the world and to see how God may use you to further His Kingdom. Barton asks, “Could there be a Naphtali somewhere in this world that God wants you to meet?”

For more information, visit or contact Debbie Barton, the Director of Missions at or 689-4229 ext. 324. Bell Shoals Baptist Church is located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon.

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Amanda Boston
Amanda Boston is the Christian Voice Editor for the Osprey Observer. She is a graduate of Bible Training for Church Leaders (BTCL), who enjoys sharing how God is working in and through the community. Amanda resides in FishHawk with her husband and two children.