ST. JOSEPH – One year into setting up and tearing down each week in a roller rink turned bingo hall – a rite of passage for many young church plants, God orchestrated a miracle for Strong Tower Baptist Church.
“We got a phone call from a dwindling congregation in a different denomination,” said Senior Pastor Tom Wilson. “They said they were prayerfully considering giving us their building. They had to send out an e-mail asking others in their own denomination if they wanted it and if nobody wanted it, the building was ours. Talk about getting wind in your sails. God gave us a building.”
Wilson and a small group of dedicated Christ-followers started Strong Tower Baptist Church here in 2013. In those five years the church has seen more than 40 baptisms and is excited about the ongoing spiritual growth of its members. Wilson said that while God gave him a vision for Strong Tower 18 years ago, it’s Jesus who has built this church in His perfect timing.
“It has been freeing for me to understand that Jesus said He would build His church,” he said. “We only need to be faithful in evangelism and in encouraging people in Christ and then understand that when it comes down to it, Jesus is the one in control. We just want to follow Jesus and all that He calls us to at the north end of St. Joseph and beyond.”
Wilson, who has been a bi-vocational pastor for 23 years, is also a marriage counselor. He said it has been awesome to watch as God has fashioned a counseling ministry into the DNA of Strong Tower.
“I get the opportunity to meet and counsel with couples who have been hurting and want to see their marriages persevere,” Wilson said. “Many of those marriages have been restored and saved and then plugged into our church family.”
Wilson’s wife, Susan, is a reading teacher at the school located just a few blocks away from the church. He said that community partnership has allowed the church to meet some needs and make those connections.
“We have been able to provide things like meals during the week of parent-teacher conferences and we provided a thousand or so ear buds and other school supplies because we found out that’s something the kids are always losing,” Wilson said. “While we are a multi-generational church, God does seem to bring in more families with young children and we are blessed to have a group of teachers here dedicated to teaching our little ones about Jesus.”
Wilson said Strong Tower also fervently believes in the value and importance of giving to the Cooperative Program. Their church is trying to have a solid presence in a community and the resources they’ve been able to utilize from St. Joseph Baptist Association, the Missouri Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board have been instrumental in that effort.
“We’ve borrowed the association’s trailer with bounce houses for our VBS Kick-offs, Trunk-or-Treats and other events,” Wilson said. “We try to emphasize to our young church that overseas, national and local missions is our heritage.”
As Jesus continues to build Strong Tower’s ministry, Wilson is excited for the future. He said they will be adding more deacon leadership in the coming months and plans are underway for the church to install a new electronic sign.
“We are located on a main drag and have approximately 13,000 vehicles pass by the church each day,” he said. “Our sign is going to communicate the love of God and get the word out to those who may not know Strong Tower Baptist Church is here for them.”