Conservative church coming to Columbia
By Allen Palmeri
August 17, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – Anticipation continues to build for the Sept. 12 launch of Heritage Baptist Church, Columbia.
The church will be traditional, with a graded Sunday School program. It also will be immersed in conservative Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC)/Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) doctrine. Heritage, with its stated goal of reaching out to the un-churched, un-saved populace, will stand in stark contrast to the more theologically liberal Baptist churches that dominate Columbia, some of which are affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Missouri (BGCT) and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).
“We need an unapologetic SBC/MBC church that’s going to be committed to a traditional style,” said Monte Shinkle, pastor, Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City. Concord is serving as the mother church for Heritage. A steering committee, chaired by Mike Bronson, Concord’s associate pastor, has been taking care of the many details leading up to Sept. 12.
“It’s like trying to organize mercury,” Bronson said. “It seems like it keeps changing daily, but you can clearly see God’s hand in this.
“I really think the thing is going to take off like a rocket. The level of interest that has been expressed to me by email, by mail, by phone and by word of mouth is just incredible.”
MBC leaders are teaming with Shinkle, the immediate past president of the MBC, in the effort to plant a church in Columbia that will faithfully and fearlessly proclaim God’s holy, sufficient, inerrant and infallible Word every Sunday, Shinkle said. David Clippard, MBC executive director; Kenny Qualls, MBC associate executive director; Roy Spannagel, MBC associate executive director; Bob Caldwell, MBC state evangelism director; Norm Howell, MBC partnership missions specialist; and Monty Hale, MBC leadership development specialist will assist Shinkle and Bronson in filling the Heritage pulpit for the first few months.
The MBC is also contributing $12,000 for the rental of a building for one year. The church facility, a one-story office building, is located north of Interstate 70 on Highway 763, immediately south of the Kemper Auction Barn. Services are scheduled for 10:45 a.m., with Sunday School – coordinated by Bruce Morrison, MBC Sunday School leadership specialist and Sondi Scroggins, MBC preschool/children’s specialist, at 9:30 a.m. Shinkle will preach the first sermon.
“We’re going to lift up Jesus Christ,” he said.
Jerry Field, head of the MBC’s church planting efforts statewide, said a new church in Columbia that will reach out to the un-churched, un-saved population is desperately needed.
“From a geographical and a numerical perspective, the city has continued to grow and yet the churches have declined,” Field said. “The population-to-church ratio has increased dramatically. You can put one in the south and you can put one in the north. They’re needed.”
Mike Quinn, pastor, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Hartsburg, has dreamed of the day when a church like Heritage would be planted in a city where many of the existing churches are shaped by the liberal academic culture of the University of Missouri. Quinn’s wife, Becky, chairs the publicity and outreach subcommittee of the steering committee.
“Conservative churches have said that there needs to be a good Bible-believing, conservative church in the Columbia area,” Becky Quinn said. “Now there’s a lot of excitement since it’s finally coming together. A lot of people are getting on board.
“I know some people who live in Columbia and are going to these churches. They’re really not happy, and they would like to be able to align with a church that’s a little closer to their conservative beliefs. I think the climate is pretty liberal in Columbia.”
Several area churches have been working with Concord to plant the church. Grandview Baptist Church, Centralia, gave $3,000. A Concord member, who was shopping in a store, was unexpectedly given a check for $1,200 for the new church. First Baptist Church, Moberly, dedicated its Vacation Bible School offering of $400 to Heritage. These are only a few examples of how God has been providing funds for His work in Columbia, Bronson said.
God has been providing people as well. Shinkle said State Farm Insurance Co. has decided to transfer 50 families from West Monroe, La., to Columbia. A number of these families are Southern Baptist and could very well become candidates for membership in the new church, Shinkle said. The new church also helps Concord in that several families have been traveling from Columbia to Jefferson City to go to church. Now those folks will have an option to stay at home.
Shinkle said that nothing in life is easy—particularly when you are trying to plant a church in a place like Columbia. If, after one year, Heritage has only 80 members, yet a permanent pastor called by the congregation and leadership raised from within, then it could be classified a success in God’s eyes. On the other hand, he agreed with Bronson in that there’s “great potential” to build a large church in Columbia.
Field sees MBC leaders supply preaching for six months, maximum, as Heritage gears up to call a pastor. Bronson is scheduled to preach from Sept. 19-Oct. 3, with MBC preachers filling out the rest of the year.
“It’s not unlike the church I planted in Denver in 1981,” Field said. “The director of missions, a retired pastor and a furloughing foreign missionary had for a year worked with a group of people trying to get it established. We went from there with a very strong sponsoring church.”
For more information on how you can help with this Sept. 12 church plant in Columbia, call Bronson at (573) 893-2876 or email him at email@example.com.