Passionate about the Gospel, Romania
An MBC church catches fire for lost souls in European nation
By Brian Koonce
August 9, 2005
VANDALIA – Derek Grigg went to the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) annual meeting last October expecting to hear some good preaching. What he didn’t expect is that through it God would lead him and his church to Romania. He also didn’t expect the prospect of a mission trip to spark a passion within the church.
“It was my first convention,” Grigg, pastor of First, Vandalia, said. “I was new on the field and had been at the church for less than a year. I just came away really convicted that God was calling me to go.”
If he was nervous about the reaction of his church, God took care of that – and more. The first affirmation came when the church’s associate pastor, expressed a calling to go and the second came as Grigg shared his desire to start a partnership with a Romanian church with a deacon over lunch.
“I showed him the flyer about Romania from the convention and he looked down at it and said, ‘When are we leaving?’ I was floored,” he said.
With a deacon and the associate pastor onboard, Griggs felt it was time to take their plan to others. Grigg said that he felt the team of three would be sufficient to go on a vision trip, but presented the plan to the church so that God “could put the team together.”
In January, Grigg preached a Sunday morning sermon on Acts 16, the “Macedonian Call,” and asked those who were burdened to go on mission for the Lord to surrender, regardless of the funds or circumstances. To say the church responded is an understatement.
A dozen people committed to the trip that morning and soon there was a roster of 21 signed up.
“I was amazed,” Grigg said. “I’ve never been on an overseas mission trip and none of these people have either.”
He said God stirred the hearts of the rest of the church as well, as they committed to help raise the nearly $40,000 it would cost to send the team.
“We raised the total within three weeks,” Grigg said, “With $21,000 of it coming in one week.”
The trip has also had an effect on the church, and they’re still a month away from going.
“Ever since January, it’s been a buzz,” he said. “It is our passion to become an Acts 1:8 church,” referring to a church that fulfills Christ’s calling in Acts to “be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
“We were not one,” Griggs said. “We gave to the Cooperative Program and everything, but we weren’t personally on the field or involved. We have not been evangelistic even in our hometown as a church body. We’ve been growing fast, but it’s been through the efforts of two or three rather than the whole, but now a passion is taking hold bit by bit.
“It’s really motivated our people,” he said. “Those who are going on the trip began sharing their faith right here. We have a passion for lost souls.”
The team from Vandalia will leave Sept. 12 for Medias, Romania. They will be traveling with 25 other pastors and church members from across the state on the vision trip, seeking to start strategic partnerships with Romanian Baptist churches. This team will be just one of about 40 teams of Missouri Baptists to make the trip this year as part of the MBC’s partnership with Romanian Baptists.