Groves wants more Missouri Baptists on mission
JEFFERSON CITY – David Groves, pastor of Living Word Baptist Church in Poplar Bluff, enjoys going on mission trips so much that he has developed a reputation as a “regional mobilizer” and a leader among leaders in the eyes of Norm Howell, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) partnership missions specialist.
Groves recently returned from his second trip to Galati, Romania to work with Troy Geddes, an International Mission Board missionary and a Living Word member. Groves and his wife, Karen, have also taken multiple mission trips to Moldova and Belarus.
“David has so much experience as a pastor, and he has such a passionate heart for missions, that he’s leading his people to do what’s right,” Howell said. “He’ll take teams three or four times a year, or more, into different places.”
Groves said he is compelled to go to foreign lands.
“I would like to think that my passion for missions is similar to what our Lord felt when He looked on the hungry multitude, had compassion on them, and then fed them,” he said. “There is an incredible hunger for Christ in many parts of our world today. Nothing excites a preacher of the Gospel more than people who want to hear the message. To bring them the bread of life and see their response is one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.
“I also find it truly enjoyable to get as many people as possible involved in short-term mission projects. It transforms them into caring, giving and involved church members.”
Groves and Gary Longenecker, retired senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lebanon, serve as leaders within a group of regional mobilizers, as Howell calls them, getting Missouri Baptists into the Romanian partnership churches. Groves and Longenecker have the experience to train and lead full teams of short-term missionaries in virtually any environment overseas, Howell said.
Many Missouri Baptist churches have yet to commit to an international mission trip. Leaders like Groves are working to change that.
“I believe if a pastor who has never been on an international mission trip would go, it would revolutionize his ministry,” Groves said. “I understand there are concerns about going, such as time and financial constraints. However, special prayer and planning, along with congregational support, can make a tremendous impact.
“I feel that church leaders, for example, should recommend to their individual churches that they financially sponsor their pastor on at least one foreign mission trip a year and build that into their annual budget. The church will reap huge benefits in its local ministry as a result. The Acts 1:8 Challenge is valid for every Missouri Baptist congregation, regardless of its size.”
MBC Partnership Missions is sponsoring a Sept. 11-20 trip to Romania at a package price of $1,560 per person from St. Louis. Another trip is being planned for Oct. 9-18. For more information, contact Linda Stockton at 1-800-736-6227, ext. 620 or 621, or email her at email@example.com.