January 14, 2003
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Baptist Convention recognized the evangelistic efforts of 67 Southern Baptist churches in Missouri by handing out Pacesetter Awards during the 2003 Evangelism Conference at Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City.
Six churches will receive special recognition as baptism leaders in their respective categories, including New Jerusalem Church, St. Louis Metro Association; Mt. Pisgah of Grovespring, Wright-Douglas-Ozark Association; Ozark Mountain, Tri County Association; Union Hill at Holts Summit, Callaway Association; Oak Grove, First, Blue River-Kansas City Association; and Pleasant Valley, Liberty, Clay Platte Association.
MBC churches combined to baptize 13,621 last year.
Jerry Field, MBC evangelism coordinator, said the total is something Missouri Baptists can be proud of, especially in a year when the convention has had to deal "with so many distractions."
Several impressive statistics relating to MBC evangelism were recorded during 2002, Field said, including:
• Seven churches recorded more than 100 baptisms during 2002; only five churches had 100 or more baptisms the previous year.
• The 268 baptisms at Pleasant Valley, Liberty, were the most baptisms recorded by a MBC church since 1998.
• At least 20 Southern Baptist churches throughout Missouri averaged at least one baptism per week during 2002.
• Three of the churches averaging at least one baptism per week are in the 126-300 Sunday School attendance category – Union Hill, Holts Summit; Heartland, Knob Noster; and Highview, Chillicothe.
•Ridgecrest Church, Springfield, led by Pastor Hosea Bilyeu, jumped from 10th on the 2001 Top 10 list to No. 5 on the 2002 list by increasing its baptism total by 60 percent; and
•First Baptist, Raytown, maintained the honor of consistency in reaching people for Christ. The church’s five-year average is 192.40, 17 more than the church with the next best average.
"Only two times since 1991 has the baptism total been as high as it was this year. This is a significant number," Field said. "And I’m also optimistic about what’s going to happen next year. We now have an executive director who bleeds evangelism if he gets cut.
"And I’ll have another person aboard in 2003 to help develop a statewide strategy for evangelism. This is something we’ve not had since New Directions came in. That’s when the emphasis on evangelism was diluted and almost eliminated."
Field said his strategy for reaching more people for Christ during 2003 is simple.
"The heart of my philosophy is to get Missouri Baptists intentionally out in the field. If we can get enough seed sown, there will be a great harvest," Field explained. "But, if we’re not out there intentionally, we’re going to reap what we sow."
Missouri Baptist churches earning the "Pacesetters in Evangelism" designation for 2002 are:
Sunday School Attendance 1-45
New Jerusalem, 29, St. Louis Metro; Calvary, Perryville, 19, Cape Girardeau; Faith, Wappapello, 18, Wayne; Grace, Union, 18, Franklin County; Vista, 17, Fellowship; Mission, 17, Barry County; Essex, First, 17, Cane Creek Stoddard; Duly, 16, Franklin County; Edmonson, 16, Fellowship; Ridgeway, 15, Harrison; Living Waters, 16, Tri-County; Clarksburg, 15, Concord; Fellowship, Carthage, 15, Lawrence; Cross Creek, 15, Blue River-Kansas City; Pleasant Hope, First, 15, Mid-Lakes.
Sunday School Attendance 46-75
Mt. Pisgah, Grovespring, 40, Wright-Douglas-Ozark; United Believers, 36, Blue River-Kansas City; Mt. Zion, Deepwater, 26, West Central; Center, 23, Bethel; Center GHrove, 23, Howell; Elm Street, 23 Charleston; Bland, First, 22, Dixon; Hillsboro, First, 22, Jefferson; High Point, Stoutland, 21, Laclede; Sheppard, Dixon, 21, Pulaski.
Sunday School Attendance 76-125
Ozark Mountain, 39, Tri County; Emmanuel, Desoto, 36, Jefferson; Calvary West, 35, St. Louis Metro; Lockewood Park, 33, Audrain; Sweetwater, 32, Shoal Creek; Diamond, First, 32, Spring River; Morse Mill, 32, Jefferson.; Lincoln, First, 29, Fellowship; Clearpoint, 28, Blue River-Kansas City; Cedar Grove, Warsaw, 26, Fellowship.
Sunday School Attendance 126-300
Union Hill, Holts Summit, 71, Callaway; Heartland, Knob Noster, 65, West Central; Highview, 63, Linn-Livingston; McCarthy, 51, St. Joseph; New Harmony, Salem, 48, Dent; Wentzville, First, 48, Twin Rivers; Union, First, 45, Franklin County; Hermitage, First, 44, Fellowship; Perryville, First, 43, Cape Girardeau; Odessa, First, 39, West Central; Calvary, Joplin, 39, Spring River.
Sunday School Attendance 301-500
Oak Grove First, 94, Blue River-Kansas City; De Soto, First, 71, Jefferson; Westside, Waynesville, 69, Pulaski; Troy, First, 66, Twin Rivers; Northern Hills, 52, Clay Plaqtte; Calvary, Republic, 50, Greene County; Canaan, 48, St. Louis Metro; Lebanon, first, 42, Laclede; Raymore, First, 41, Blue River-Kansas City; Plaza Heights, 41, Blue River-Kansas City.
Sunday School Attendance over 500
Pleasant Valley, Liberty; 268, Clay Platte; Raytown, First, 214, Blue River-Kansas City; Arnold, First, 184, Jefferson; Springfield, Second, 123, Greene County; Ridgecrest, Springfield; 112, Greene County; Woodcrest, Columbia, 107, Little Bonne Femme; Forest Park, Spring River, 95; Harvester, First, 93; St. Louis Metro; Warrensburg, First, 79, West Central; Concord, Jefferson City, 63; Concord, St. Louis, 63.