ST. JOSEPH – Renovation Church, a Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) church plant here, is renovating itself again—and Pastor Kyle Kormeier couldn’t be more excited.
After two-and-a-half years of growth and with roughly 250 people attending each Sunday morning, the church has outgrown its current facilities. So they’ll soon be moving to two services. According to Kormeier, the revamp in their Sunday morning schedule will only help the church bring spiritual renovation to the people of St. Joseph.
“It’s amazing,” Kormeier said. “In two-and-a-half years, you can start to set a lot of traditions. And adding a new service forces us back to being a church plant again.” It will refresh the church’s missional focus: “We’re going to be mission minded. We’re going to be about bringing people to Jesus.”
And, according to Kormeier, the harvest is ripe for bringing people to Jesus here.
“We have seen one of the most incredible mission fields here,” Kormeier told The Pathway. “St. Joe is one of those really unique mission fields that often gets overlooked. It’s not the biggest city, it’s not the best city. But it has got people who are really responsive right now to the gospel.”
Additionally, St. Joseph is placed along Interstate Highway 29, which runs from Kansas City up to Winnipeg, Manitoba—an 800-mile stretch with very few Southern Baptist churches and very little gospel witness. This gives Renovation Church strategic importance for the Missouri Baptist Convention’s Heartland Interstate Strategy (HIS), an initiative for reaching people who live along the I-29 Corridor.
Kormeier and the members of Renovation are intent on reaching out to the St. Joseph Community. Through their “Serve the City” initiative, they strive to impact lives in various ways. Last fall, they put on a block party that drew nearly 2,000 people. They serve at the local soup kitchen. They allow The Optimist Club—an organization that helps underprivileged kids—to use their facility when they need it.
“So often in ministry, we get so inwardly focused, and we miss the dozens or hundreds of opportunities that God has placed around us every day. … We’re really trying to see our city the way God sees our city – as desperately in need of Jesus.
“The reaction has been really incredible,” Kormeier added—especially among women in St. Joseph. He said his wife, Chelsie, has had huge success in developing a women’s ministry at Renovation Church. She recently hosted an event that drew 60 women from the community, and she started a Bible study a few months ago that drew 70 women—not merely from the church, but from the broader St. Joseph community.
“We’ve got 70-year-old women coming. We’ve got teenage girls coming,” he said. And this inter-generational mix pleases them. “We’ve really tried to be a multi-generational church. … The younger generation might be the future of the church, but we’re only going to get there with the older generation pointing them in the right direction.”
In all their efforts, Renovation has placed an emphasis on making disciples and developing leaders, Kormeier said. In some sense, this has been out of necessity—since there were no deacons, no childcare workers, no leaders available when they first planted the church. “All of our leaders, all of our servants, all of the people that are going out on mission—two years ago, they were the mission. But now they’re going on mission.”
Ultimately, Kormeier hopes—as the church’s mission statement says—that through Renovation Church, people will “respond” to the gospel, “rebuild” their lives on this solid foundation, and “repeat” this spiritual renovation by taking the gospel to other people. But he also realizes that this process wouldn’t be possible without gospel partnerships—especially Renovation Church’s partnership with Missouri Baptist churches.
“We wouldn’t be here if not for the support of the MBC and Missouri Baptist churches,” Kormeier said. “People ask all the time, ‘Why wouldn’t you just plant a church on your own, instead of working with a convention?’ … It’s because it’s all about partnership.
“You see partnership and cooperation all throughout the Gospels and in the entire New Testament. Why do life on your own when we’re called to do it together? That’s always been my question. That’s why the MBC has been such a great partner, because we’re not in this alone. We’re actually able to do this together.”