MBC/Global Encounter touches Kansas City with the ‘Good News’
By Allen Palmeri
August 3, 2004
KANSAS CITY – The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC)/Global Encounter partnership to evangelize inner cities, minister to declining churches and train future leaders has added Kansas City to a growing list of established mission outposts, joining St. Louis and Houston, Texas.
Six Missouri Baptist churches and 80 workers ministered July 23-31 at two sites in Kansas City. Student missionaries conducted Vacation Bible School at Englewood Apartments and First Baptist Church, Riverside. The host church for the initial Kansas City Project was Northland Baptist Church, Kansas City.
Global Encounter was founded in 1992 by Bob Caldwell, the MBC’s state evangelism director.
In Kansas City, First Baptist Church, Braymer, helped stabilize a group that included four youth pastors leading teams to the mission field for the first time. First Braymer, a veteran participant in Global Encounter, brought 30 members of its youth group as well as a group from First Baptist Church, Cowgill. First Braymer’s influence was so strong that youth from five other churches – Union Baptist Church, Hardin Baptist Church, Braymer Christian Church, Braymer United Methodist Church and Cowgill Assembly of God Church – came with them to Englewood Apartments. The student missionaries did their work under five tents set up on the grounds.
The other four churches who came to Kansas City to participate were First Baptist Church, Strafford, First Baptist Church, Hollister, Immanuel Baptist Church, Springfield, and Carpenter Street Baptist Church, Moberly. They were assigned to First Baptist Church, Riverside — a church with five members, none of them younger than 63 years old.
Braymer is a town of about 900 people 50 miles northeast of Kansas City. Travis Smith, 18, of First Braymer, said ministering in Kansas City is a good way for students to stay out of trouble.
“It’s perfect for youth who are searching for God and searching for ministry experiences because when they come here it keeps them away from hometown distractions,” Smith said. “It allows them to get in touch with God.”
Smith’s pastor, Eric Turner, has been blessed to see seventh- and eighth-graders in the church lead other students to Christ. He said the MBC/Global Encounter model is a wonderful training method.
“More than anything, it gives them discipline,” Turner said. “It teaches them the spiritual discipline of having a quiet time, because they’re forced to do that every day. Also, since they run Bible school while we kind of step back, they’re actively involved in witnessing to the kids. So it teaches them to be Christ-like.
“They’re starving their flesh and feeding their spirit. That’s what Global does for these kids. It teaches them to set everything else aside — they can’t bring cell phones, they can’t bring secular music — and let God take over in their lives.”
Caldwell entrusted the first-year administration of Kansas City to Todd Wallace, a member of Springhill Baptist Church, Springfield, Lindsay Jones, a senior at Southwest Missouri State University, and Luke Jackson, a sophomore at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. Wallace was in charge while Jones and Jackson, part-time staffers for Global Encounter, handled many of the details at the two ministry sites.
Jackson spent a lot of his time at First Riverside. He said he grew to enjoy serving the first-time missionaries and their youth pastors.
“It’s an important thing to be humble in leadership,” Jackson said. “God’s really shown me, especially on this trip, that people respect you a lot more when you’re willing to serve them first instead of trying to tell them what to do.”
Jones envisions Kansas City growing and joining St. Louis and Houston as part of a large, effective training model in evangelism.
“By bringing more people in through the convention, we hope to get more missionaries on the field,” Jones said.
The Rheubin L. South Missouri Mission Offering (MMO) supports the MBC/Global Encounter partnership by funding the inner-city mission projects out of a $10,000 MMO allotment for Youth Evangelism and Missions.