Dwayne Milioni has been the Senior Pastor at Open Door Baptist Church since 1999. Pastor Milioni has led Open Door Baptist Church (where contributor Nathan Akin is a member) to become a Great Commission Resurgence kind of Church. He is a committed expositor who faithfully preaches book by book and chapter by chapter through the Bible. He is currently taking the church through the Gospel of John. In addition, the church is committed to the work of the Great Commission both nationally and internationally through Church Planting. Open Door Baptist Church has raised up leadership within its own congregation and sent them out to plant churches in Del Rio (Texas), Raleigh (NC), Wilson (NC), Myrtle Beach (SC), one in an international context, and by next summer in Boston (MA). Through the Church Plant in Del Rio (which is a border town), a bible institute has been established in Mexico to train Mexican Pastors in preaching, hermeneutics, and theology. Open Door believes that Church Planting is vital and has now established a North American Church Planting Foundation to partner with other churches in furthering Church Planting efforts in the United States.
Open Door is also committed to training a future generation of men to teach other men (2 Tim. 2:2). So, Pastor Milioni has set up a cohort called “Shepherd’s Training” to train men in the congregation as potential elders of future church plants. This training involves personal mentorship from an elder or church leader. It also involves curriculum and training through topics of leadership, preaching, pastoral ministry, and theology. The interns are instructed through reading, writing, and cohort discussion. This is an exciting ministry and it is my hope that every Church would seek to implement something like this in their church.
I say that Open Door Baptist Church is a Great Commission Resurgence kind of church. There is much suspicion swirling the GCR as to how effective it will be. And there are many questioning how we put a GCR into action. The answer is more churches like Open Door Baptist Church. If we have churches that are committed to the principles of the GCR declaration and if we have a convention that is lean enough to empower these local churches that just might lead to a GCR. We need every Southern Baptist Church to be committed to the Authority of the Word through expository preaching. We need every SBC church to be committed to the Great Commission through multiplication. This means multiplication through discipleship and multiplication through church planting both here and abroad. Every Southern Baptist Church should seek to implement preaching, missions, and training of the future generation like Open Door has done and is doing. Open Door is doing these things and that is why I call Open Door a GCR church. I am grateful to call Open Door my home Church and to be a part of what that church is doing for the good of nations and the name of our Lord Jesus.
Part One of b21 Interview with Pastor Milioni:
In this part, Pastor Milioni speaks about church planting, the GCR, and issues facing the SBC. He has some insights on what might make us more effective in the 21st century, such a name change, spacing out our annual meetings to every other year, and streamlining our structure. You will want to hear these suggestions. He also addresses why many who stand to lose financially from a restructuring should still support examining it. In the context of this question, he asserts that stewardship of the money churches send to a local, state, or national entity should be our main concern. Therefore, we should examine our structures because we are accountable before God with how our money is spent. Finally, he addresses some areas of concern to the SBC, such as, young leaders, SBC identity crisis, and the importance of the local church.
Quotes from the Interview:
“(The) Churches planting churches concept in the long run will, first and foremost, be better equipped to make disciples”
“The State convention and NAMB have been tasked to do something that they ought not to be doing and that’s planting churches… local southern Baptist churches are to be planting churches”
- Why do you associate with the Southern Baptist Convention? And what are the benefits of denominations?
- “If you were king for a day in the SBC,” what would you do to help improve the SBC for great effectiveness in the 21st Century?
- In the context of the 9th commitment of the Great Commission Resurgence, how do we begin to convince those that will be affected financially by a restructuring?
- Some see a generational issue in the SBC, such younger pastors leaving the conventions, what can we do to encourage younger pastors to stay in the SBC?
- What would you like the SBC identity to be?
- Your church is very committed to church planting, why is this so? And speak a little bit about the new “North American Church Planting Foundation” that your Church has started.
- How have you found planting churches within the Southern Baptist Convention to be? And speak to how you are hoping that state convention and NAMB would come along side your foundation to help you plant churches