First Iberia pastor celebrates growth in church
By Allen Palmeri
March 10, 2005
IBERIA – Pastor Glen Golden of First Baptist Church, Iberia, is excited about all of the life change he’s noticing in his congregation this year.
“We’re seeing an upswing,” he said, referring to a slight expansion of the group of 80-100 who normally worship at the church. “I would have to think that the desire to improve came as a result of our commitment to be an Acts 1:8 church, to quit focusing inward and start focusing outward.”
At the State Evangelism Conference in Springfield, Golden attended a breakout session taught by Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Director David Clippard on how to give an evangelistic invitation. Golden has been a Missouri Baptist pastor since 1976, called to five different churches, but Clippard’s teaching caused him to look at the invitation time differently.
“I had never really used that time to pray the salvation prayer for someone to be saved during that moment,” Golden said.
The last six Sundays have been marked by several people coming forward either to join the church or to be baptized.
“You’re never too old to learn,” said the 50-year-old pastor. “It’s just been great to see the awakening. I see it with our worship leader and pianist. Even they see themselves as more a part of the invitation process. The whole church anticipates the invitation rather than this is the last thing that we’ve got to do before we go home.”
One Wednesday, after an Acts 1:8 Bible study, a family pulled Golden aside and asked about joining the church. The pastor asked the head of the household when he became a Christian.
“I did that last Sunday when you prayed that prayer in the invitation, but I was just a little nervous about coming forward and I wanted to talk to you first,” the man said.
This is an example of what has been happening in the church, which services a community of about 1,000 located about 45 miles south of Jefferson City. First Iberia was founded in 1843.
“It has nothing to do with organization,” Golden said. “It has everything to do with letting the Holy Spirit shift our focus on where he wants us to be, and because of that these things have come about. He gets all the glory.”