Allow me to share some JOY with you!
February 21, 2006
Most months (about ten of the twelve), your MBC Staff and I gather at the Baptist Building for a day in what we call our “In Office Day”. The purpose of these days is so that everyone can network and coordinate ministry efforts with all the other areas. Your staff is flushed out of the Baptist Building like a covey of quail almost every other day except these ten. They are spread out across the state working with our churches, associations and Missouri Baptist people in more ways than I can list in this article. This is a time we all get to hear ministry victories (and some defeats). I want to share a few exciting victories and opportunities with you:
Spring River Association conducted a Vision Tour of their association with their leadership and MBC’s Ken McCune. Ken is one of our church planting strategists assigned to the SW part of the state. As a result of that driving trip, debriefing and prayer time, Spring River Association’s leaders started two new churches! Jesus said, “ Lift up your eyes, the fields are white unto harvest.” Spring River did just that!
Ed Moncada, your International Student Strategist, recently made a trip with a Philippine pastor, Ed Gonzales, to Branson with a stop in Waynesville. On this trip, there were 12 Filipino people saved in Branson and seven in Waynesville! These have now become the nucleus of two new churches in Missouri! Ed Gonzales is going to be their pastor. There is an International mission field somewhere near you in this state.
The St. Louis Metro Association and our church planting missionaries tell us they have found the largest concentration of Bosnian Muslims in the world (outside of Bosnia itself) massed in an area in the south side of St. Louis. These first-generation immigrant people need to be reached with the Gospel. Pastor Darren Casper and the Heartland Baptist Church in Oakville has already been blessed with some of these Bosnian women who have come to Christ. Pastor Darren’s wife has just been moved to a school system where MOST of her students are children from this Bosnian people group! Pray for them and send a mission team to St. Louis to reach this people group.
Chalmette, La., is an area that has been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. With the help of MBC’s Disaster Relief teams and your gifts to this need, two Chalmette churches had their first worship services Feb. 12. I have been to this site and it is destroyed almost beyond comprehension. Our sister Louisiana Convention asked the Missouri Baptist Convention to focus on the Chalmette area and in particular two churches in that town. Chalmette is an area of many shipyards, oil refineries and industry. People will return because of the jobs that are available. Two of the six Southern Baptist Churches are now open to minister to the needs of the returning families. Some of the dollars you gave to Katrina hurricane relief has now been channeled to pay the salaries of pastors who have stayed to minister but have lost their churches and people due to displacement. Another $25,000 was just sent to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to assist students relocating back to the campus to finish their educations.
MBC’s State Evangelism Conference was one of the best ever. On Tuesday night, just after Robert Coleman spoke to us about his experience in and the ripple effect of the Asbury Revival of 1970 in Wilmore, Ky., I thought we might have had just a taste of what it might have been like. When God comes in power in the lives of His people, more happens in hours than decades of our own efforts. It was one of those experiences no one can adequately write about. Our own Pathway senior writer Allen Palmeri tried to describe it in the last issue. He told me Tuesday night, “Brother Dave, how can I (as a writer) explain what we just experienced?” I agreed with him that he could not. Maybe God will bless us thoroughly the next time Missouri Baptists gather together. We need a genuine Holy Spirit Revival. Pray.
I was privileged to be hosted at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary this past weekend and had dinner with Phil Roberts. While there, I met a student who has an intense hunger for a genuine revival. That student told me that the number of students who are diligently praying and seeking God to grant revival is growing. I was very encouraged to hear about that spirit on campus. These future pastors and missionaries will impact Missouri and the world in the days to come.
Missouri Baptists, the greatest days of this convention are just ahead of us! Can you sense it? I can!