MONETT – The location of New Site Baptist Church, Monett, may seem isolated, but this church is growing and thriving with ministry. New Site has two services with 700-750 members.
“This is an exciting church,” Reese Morrow, member and retired Missouri pastor, said. “It is a GO church because folks are ministering to people.”
According to Morrow, God is blessing the church with the staff He has assembled. “Aaron (Weibel) is a dynamic preacher,” he said. “He is mission minded and a soul winner. All of our staff are wonderful and they work together.”
“God is doing this work with unique people in an unlikely place for His glory,” Aaron Weibel, senior pastor, said. “We have an amazing group of volunteers and hurting people are welcome here.”
One of the ministries offered by New Site is designed for hurting people. Celebrate Recovery meets on Thursday evening with about 100 people. “The program is based on the 12-step program and it is Christ-centered,” Weibel said. “It is help for life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups. Celebrate Recovery provides hope for addiction, chemical dependency, alcoholism, family dysfunction, co-dependency, abuse and eating disorders.”
Weibel said that the church also offers financial support for recovery houses in the area.
On Wednesday night, New Site sends out 6 buses to bring children to the AWANA program. “We have an outreach pastor to stay in contact with the families,” John Henry, associate pastor said. “In addition, we have a Christmas banquet for the families of the bus riders,” he said. “We give them a small gift and present the gospel. We invite the bus drivers to meet the parents too. We want to build bridges with the home.”
“We want to reach more young families,” Weibel said. “We are about ready to move the children into a new children’s building. This will get them in one secure area rather than having them in various locations around the church.”
Henry said that they offer AWANA only up through the third grade. “We found that AWANA was not as effective in grades four and five,” he continued. “We start them in a program that is more of a bridge to junior and senior high. We give them a worship experience and pour into their lives. We’ve found that we can hold on to them longer by doing this.”
This change was a result of trial programming to disciple these students in the early years. “We believe in finding out what doesn’t work and adjusting it till it does,” Henry said. “This congregation has always been willing to change if it makes us more effective and able to reach more people.”
Henry is considering a change in their food pantry as well. “We take five to ten minutes in a short service to present the gospel to those coming to the food pantry,” he said. “We also spend time chatting with them to build relationships. I’ve been considering moving the pantry time to Saturday, because we will be able to minister to more of the working poor who are unable to come through the week in the morning.”
The world also comes to New Site with a Karen (refugees from Burma, now Myanmar) congregation meeting on Sunday afternoon. “The Karen people are victims of ethnic cleansing. If the people were not Buddhist or of the same tribe, the leaders did not want them. These refugees are believers in Jesus.”
David Salazar, member of New Site, ministers to the Hispanics in the area as well as sharing with the inmates of the county jail. Salazar also leads teams to Mexico for mission trips.
Volunteers from the church also have an outreach to multi-housing units on Sunday afternoons. “They go out into the community to do missions where the folks are. We want to meet the folks who wouldn’t normally come to us,” Henry said.
“New Site has a heart for people,” Henry said. “The message never changes but the methods do. Our desire is to get the message out there. The church embraced outreach.”