A pastor, church is blessed by MBC staff
March 2, 2004
I am appalled by what I see taking place today in the area of marriage. Who would have ever thought that we would come to the day when homosexual marriage was even considered a possibility? God help us!
Yet the biggest problem most of our churches face in the area of marriage has nothing to do with the radical homosexual agenda. The biggest problem we face in Missouri is the number of divorces and failing marriages within our churches. Every pastor has probably spent countless hours and great amounts of emotional and spiritual energy trying to help couples who have come to them with their marriage in trouble. Many times we never even get that chance or it is too late by the time they come to the pastor.
About a year ago, once again I found myself in the position of trying to help one of our couples work through their marriage problems. During a weekly staff meeting we discussed the abundance of young couples we have in our church and how we might avoid this same problem in the future. We decided that a little preventive medicine might help! We set up a special staff meeting and invited our wives to join us and began to explore the possibility of a family conference that would include marriage enrichment training along with classes for all age groups. Along with that, came the idea to follow that family conference up with a revival. If we could get our families right with each other, then it would be much easier for God’s Spirit to do a work in the hearts of those family members. After all, God instituted the family before He instituted the church.
While we were searching for leadership for this family conference, we heard that Joe Ulveling was coming onto our MBC staff to work with families. I called him and scheduled this conference with him before he actually made it to Missouri. We asked Bob Caldwell, who had been here at Miner Baptist Church before he was the evangelism director for the MBC to come and teach our youth and young single adults for the Family Conference. Daron Evans from First Baptist Church, Cassville, came and led our children for the conference. We contacted Bob Houchins, also an MBC staff member, and brought in Baptist Student Union students to help Daron with the children. We also hired nursery workers so that none of our young couples would have to stay in the nursery and miss the conference.
The conference was held on Monday through Wednesday nights, Feb. 9 – 11, and it was wonderful. Joe Ulveling did a tremendous job teaching us "Hooked for Life.” We had 74 couples involved. I think that everyone’s marriage was touched in a very positive way. Bob Caldwell as always did a great job with our youth, and Daron Evans is very gifted in the area of children’s ministry. The BSU students were an answer to prayer and we couldn’t have done it without them.
The next Sunday, Feb. 15, the revival began. We brought in Tony Nolan of TNT Ministries to do the preaching and Bill Shiflett, our state worship specialist, came in to lead the music. Revival broke out in the early service Sunday morning and continued all the way through Tuesday night when our last service was scheduled. We had a total of 90 decisions in three days. There were 43 salvations, 38 rededications, and nine people joined the church by letter or statement. There were many others who were at the altar praying and calling out to the Lord. God answered our prayers for the family conference and revival in a great way!
We have very gifted people on our Missouri Baptist Convention staff. It is so good to have a family ministries director that not only knows family ministry, but has worked in that field for years. Like wise, we have an evangelism director who has served in evangelism all his life and has the heart of an evangelist. We also have a worship specialist who seeks the heart of God, the leading of God, and knows what it really means to worship and praise God. We have many gifted leaders in other areas as well. They are available to be used in our churches and I would encourage you to use them. Financially and logistically, we could not have had this kind of a conference and revival without the help of our wonderful state staff! (Mitchell Jackson is pastor of Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston and is first vice president of the Missouri Baptist Convention.)
March 4, 2004