MBC leaders demonstrate commitment to prayer during Executive Board session
By Allen Palmeri
April 19, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Director David Clippard is excited about how Charlie Burnett, chairman, MBC Administrative Committee, is leading out in prayer.
“Prayer works,” Clippard said.
Burnett, pastor, Harmony Heights Baptist Church, Joplin, has mobilized 103 prayer warriors in his congregation. Their duty, Burnett said, is to become a part of 10,000 Missouri Baptists praying for revival, spiritual awakening, and 26,000 baptisms in Missouri in 2005, in accordance with the stated goals of Bob Caldwell, MBC state evangelism director.
“We’ve got to start somewhere, and if it doesn’t start at this top level it’s not going to start,” Burnett said April 11 as he chaired his committee at the MBC Executive Board meeting. Burnett told his fellow committee members that prayer has changed the spirit of Harmony Heights and helped increase the number of baptisms.
Caldwell is encouraged that Missouri Baptists are praying.
“I’m committed to this,” he said. “We want to go until we have hard numbers where we know we have 10,000 Missouri Baptists every day, not just inflated numbers, not just people who say, ‘Yeah, sure, I’ll do it,’ but not really do it. I don’t have the ability to do that. We’re really relying upon the DOMs (directors of missions) and the pastors.”
Caldwell said he is looking for prayer coordinators coming out of prayer-focused churches like the one that Burnett shepherds in Joplin. Caldwell’s goal is to build a database with every email address of every prayer coordinator in these Missouri Baptist churches, he said.
“I’ve got to learn how to get information from my desk to every church in this state like that,” he said, snapping his fingers for emphasis.
By the end of the year, by the grace of God alone, Caldwell said he hopes to have recruited 10,000 prayer warriors. He knows he can count on at least 103 – Burnett’s battalion – and he is looking for 9,897 more.
“Once we have a good number, we’re going to begin to ask those people to pray for a burden,” Caldwell said. “What’s missing in this state is not the know-how. We have more people in this state trained in evangelism than we’ve ever had, but I don’t know when the last time was that I wept for somebody who was lost.”
In other matters addressed by the Executive Board:
• Clippard announced that Michael D. McMullen, associate professor of church history at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been chosen to write an updated history of Missouri Baptist life before the 2006 annual meeting in Cape Girardeau. The meeting will coincide with the 200th anniversary and restoration of “Old Bethel,” the first Baptist church west of the Mississippi River. McMullen’s work will culminate in a book, much like the book Frontiers: The Story of Missouri Baptists, written by J. Gordon Kinglsey that was originally published in 1983.
The goal is to reconstruct Old Bethel with the original logs at an estimated cost of $100,000, Clippard said. The Historical Commission was authorized by the Executive Board to receive a special offering on Missouri Baptist Church History Day Aug. 14 and again in 2006 to help pay for the cost of the restoration.
• Two new MBC staff members have been hired with an effective start date of May 1, Clippard said. Those staffers are David Tolliver, Cooperative Program (CP) specialist, and Ron Barker, prayer and spiritual awakening specialist (See related stories on page 3). Also, a new staff writer for The Pathway, Brian Koonce, will start June 1. Koonce is presently a senior journalism major at Oklahoma Baptist University where he is the editor of the student newspaper, The Bison.
Action taken by the board included:
• Setting a budget goal for 2006 of $17.05 million with similar 2006 projections for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering of $3.75, million, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering of $2 million, the World Hunger offering of $325,000 and Rheubin L. South Missouri Mission Offering of $800,000;
• Passing a recommendation that the first one percent of Cooperative Program receipts be used to promote CP;
• Moving the July 11-12 meeting of the Executive Board to Hannibal-LaGrange College;
• Directing the Audit/Finance Work Group to look into establishing a policy for MBC reserve funds leading up to the July meeting;
• Authorizing a loan of up to $624,000 to immediately construct the Kirksville Baptist Student Union building.