Taking the Gospel to the Rockies
MBC to ink new partnership with Colorado Baptists
By Allen Palmeri
October 26, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – Messengers to the 170th Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) at First Baptist Church, Raytown, will have the opportunity to vote on a partnership agreement between the MBC and the Colorado Baptist General Convention (CBGC).
The partnership, if approved, would run from Jan. 1, 2005, through Dec. 31, 2008, with two one-year options to renew, said MBC Executive Director David Clippard. The focus of the agreement between the two state conventions would be on evangelism and church planting.
“We’ve made the statement in Missouri that the greatest churches are yet to be born in Missouri, and I believe the greatest churches have yet to be born in Colorado,” said Roy Spannagel, MBC associate executive director who left an associate pastor position with Riverside Baptist Church in Denver to join the MBC at the start of 2003.
“ Colorado is an exciting state to be able to partner with. It has a lot of diversity. It also has a tremendous need. It’s a place where I’ve spent a good bit of my life, a place that I love deeply.”
Colorado has 325 Baptist churches and a population of about 4.3 million. It is expected that many of the 2,000 Missouri Baptist churches would be interested in partnering with one of those churches because the distance between them may only be a day’s drive away.
“We have so many churches here in Missouri that have never been on a mission trip before,” said Norm Howell, MBC partnership missions specialist. “They’re not comfortable getting on an airplane, taking a group of people, with the expenses involved, and traveling a great distance. So with a partnership that is based nearby we can get our children and our families together and get into a vehicle and drive a day away from here and be able to minister intentionally in evangelism, church planting, Vacation Bible School-style things – and with the least amount of expenses. It’s a good way to prepare the way for that church to one day be able to make that larger step and go somewhere overseas.”
Spannagel, who has served as a pastor in Pueblo and Denver, said that when he was at Riverside, which is one of the very few large Southern Baptist churches in Colorado, there were several “very, very strong” churches planted out of that congregation.
“The satellites are stronger than the main campus today, and have grown exceedingly well,” he said. “There are some partnering opportunities there. Many of the churches across Colorado would be like our rural Missouri churches with 50, 75, maybe 100 or 125 people.”
Establishing at least 75 church-to-church partnerships is one of the stated goals of the agreement. Out of that would come the planting of at least 150 new churches.
“We want to be Acts 1:8 churches,” Howell said. “Part of the Acts 1:8 strategy is that we’re planting churches right in Missouri in our own Jerusalem, in our Judea and also in our Samaria, which is North America. So that state-to-state partnership (with Colorado) is really important for us because we’re helping out, working in these areas.”
The dynamic of the MBC being an older convention and the CBGC being a younger convention can add energy to the partnership, particularly as Missouri Baptists are able to teach strategic church planting principles, Spannagel said. Clippard called Colorado a place of “great, great need” where there is “a great void.” Anywhere from 3-4 million people in the state may be in need of a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
“It’s exciting to be able to see Missouri Baptists making a great contribution in Colorado Baptist life,” Spannagel said.