January 28, 2003
Concord Baptist doubles in size under Dr. Shinkle’s leadership
JEFFERSON CITY – Being branded as a "Bible-believing, sin-hating, conservative Southern Baptist" isn’t something that bothers Dr. Monte Shinkle, the new president of the Missouri Baptist Convention.
"I’m not a bit sorry for the stand I’ve taken," Shinkle said in an interview with the Pathway. "Years ago, I read Dr. Bob Jones autobiography "Do Right." And that’s all I’ve sought to do is do the right thing.
"I don’t think a person will ever be wrong if they do right."
Doing right for the 49-year-old preacher began back in Kentucky while sitting in a revival service under the preaching of his dad.
"I became a Christian on Oct. 5, 1972, even though I had been a church member before that," Shinkle remembers. "During the years leading up to my conversion, I had a lot of doubts about my relationship to Christ. I had made a profession of faith and had been baptized, but there wasn’t a lot of change. I saw a lot of things in my life that shouldn’t have been there.
"God used those things to convict me that I had never been saved. And I’ll never forget the message Dad preached – "Being Saved God’s Way."
Shinkle says he can’t separate his true salvation experience and his call to preach.
"Almost immediately, God began opening opportunities for me to preach. It was in early February of 1973 when I was asked to come and supply one Sunday morning at the Clark’s Creek Baptist church in Dry Ridge, Ky. There were maybe a dozen people there that morning.
"The old pastor got up and resigned the next Sunday and recommended that the church call me as pastor. They had been through 10 pastors in 11 years . It was a real war zone. Even back then the Lord was teaching me some things about conflict."
Shinkle preached at Clark’s Creek for 4 1/2 years before resigning to enroll at MidAmerica Seminary in Memphis, Tenn. Shinkle said he chose MidAmerica because of its reputation as a conservative Baptist school.
"I almost aggravated the professors to death, asking them to help me find places to preach. By December, I was preaching somewhere almost every Sunday, and in May of 1978 I was called to pastor Second Baptist Church of Leechville, Ark.," Shinkle said.
That’s where he remained until making the move to Missouri. Shinkle’s first Sunday at First Baptist, Washington, was in January, 1983, and that’s where he pastored until the move to Jefferson City in 1991.
"I dealt with two pulpit committees from Concord," he said. "In 1990, I didn’t feel like God wanted me to move to Concord. The next year, a different pulpit committee came back, and I was pretty certain then that was what God wanted me to do."
The move to Jefferson City wasn’t exactly what you would describe as smooth.
"There were some in the church who perceived me to be too controversial, too political," Shinkle recalls. "I remember them questioning me about how I believed about the ordination of women and where I stood in relation to the conservative movement in the Southern Baptist Convention. And they didn’t like that I went to MidAmerica Seminary."
Shinkle didn’t back down on his convictions.
He told the Concord congregation that he chose MidAmerica because of its stand of Biblical inerrancy.
"And the school took a stand on soul winning, too," Shinkle said. "We were required to share Christ with someone at least once a week or we didn’t get credit for our course work. And the seminary expected the same things from their professors."
If numbers mean anything, it appears God has blessed Shinkle for his stand.
Concord’s attendance was about 300 in both Sunday School and Worship when Shinkle arrived. During 2002, Concord’s average Sunday School attendance was 581 with the average worship attendance at 804.
"It hasn’t been me," Shinkle said. "It’s the work of the Lord. The two things I’ve stressed at Concord is love God and love people. The vision I had when I came to Concord was to lift up the Lord Jesus Christ and, through the ministry, love the people. I’ve tried faithfully to do these two things."
Shinkle says he’s learned that the nature of church life is a constant string of crises. And that has proven true at Concord, even in the midst of God’s blessings.
Probably the biggest crisis for Shinkle occurred just before Christmas, 2002.
"The storms just keep coming," Shinkle said, "but the loss of Hewitt (Stroble) is the worst thing I’ve had to go through as a pastor."
Shinkle had visited shut-ins much of the day with his assistant pastor, and Stroble had stayed after normal work hours at the church to catch up with some administrative duties. He left the church about 6 P.M. and was killed about 15 minutes later in a one-vehicle accident on a slick road west of Jefferson City.
At the time of the accident, Shinkle and his wife, Betty, were driving back to Jefferson City to eat and to view Christmas lights. They came up on the assistant pastor’s mangled truck, but authorities routed the Shinkles around the accident. They did not know that the victim was the assistant pastor until receiving a call later.
"When Kenny Qualls resigned to take the job with the convention, I suddenly realized that I’d be president (of the MBC). I remember thinking that I would have a strong right arm to make certain things get done here at the church when I had to be gone. And then suddenly I find I’m by myself," Shinkle said.
Concord has been a "Pacesetter" church in baptisms four of Shinkle’s 10 years at Concord. "We baptized 66 last year, but we ought to be baptizing a 100," Shinkle said. "I’m solidly committed to the direction Dave Clippard is leading this convention in evangelism and starting new churches."
The Shinkles are the parents of four children: Nathan, a state Highway Patrolman, Aaron, Jonathan, Hannah and one granddaughter.