Churches form new association following conflict in Heartland
Lighthouse Association begins with 4 churches
August 9, 2005
POLO – Missouri’s newest association, Lighthouse Baptist Association, has elected its first director of missions and penned a constitution.
“You’ve got to establish goals and leadership if you’re going to get anything done,” said Duane Tindall, director of missions for the new association.
Tindall recently retired from the pulpit of Elmira Baptist Church, one of the four small, rural churches that make up the one-year-old association.
“We’re small, but that’s not a handicap,” he said. “We’re not focusing on size. We just want to be a benefit to the churches we can minister to.”
Four churches formerly associated with Heartland Baptist Association – First Baptist Church, Breckenridge, Elmira Baptist Church, Kidder Baptist Church and First Baptist Church, Polo – formed Lighthouse in July of 2004, but there was no official structure or leadership in place at the time. Tindall said the break came as a result of liberal leanings within some of Heartland’s member churches, as well as a hesitancy to identify solely with the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
In a 68-54 vote at a semi-annual meeting in April 2004, Heartland, located on the northeast edge of Kansas City, chose not to adopt a resolution supportive of the SBC/MBC. While some pastors loyal to Heartland argued that their churches have continued to support the MBC, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) also receives support from individual pastors and church members within the association. In response to the CBF presence within the association, seven Missouri Baptist churches pulled out of the association shortly after the April 14 vote, including the four that have formed Lighthouse.
The four Lighthouse churches announced in an Aug, 4, 2004, letter to The Pathway that they wished to be identified as loyal Southern Baptist Convention/Missouri Baptist Convention churches. Besides the Lighthouse churches and Pisgah Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs, which led the fight to affirm the SBC/MBC, Heartland has lost Lawson Baptist Church; First Baptist Church, Kingston; Fleming Baptist Church, Orrick; and Paradise Baptist Church, Smithville. Before the controversy, the association had 32 churches. Now it has 24.