Small Church Task Force rolls on
JEFFERSON CITY—Momentum continues to build behind the Small Church Task Force (SCTF) of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) after another successful meeting Nov. 15-16 at the Best Western Capital Inn here.
The third meeting of the task force is scheduled for Feb. 23 at the Baptist Building. MBC staff will be assembling resources to help the small church, and the point man on this project, MBC Ministerial Services Specialist George Roach, is shooting to produce a resource catalog by then.
“I see myself as a facilitator and a point of contact—a liaison between the small church and the Convention,” Roach said.
The nine members of the task force are: Patrick Ryan, director of missions, Eleven Point River Baptist Association; Dwayne Cartwright, pastor, Corinth Baptist Church, Salem; Don Kelley, transitional pastor, First Baptist Church, Green City; Jim Strube, pastor, Meramec Valley Baptist Church, Valley Park; Jon Dinwiddie, pastor, Independence Baptist Church, Richland; Jon Church, pastor, Katy Park Baptist Church, Sedalia; Barry Pfister, pastor, First Baptist Church, Linneus, Frank Welch, pastor, Peno Baptist Church, Bowling Green, and director of missions, Salt River Baptist Association; and John Schuler, director of missions, Webster Baptist Association.
One of the challenges that the task force is addressing is the problem of perception. Roach noted that some small church pastors can view Jefferson City and the Baptist Building as a fortress filled with bureaucrats encased in an ivory tower. Comments to the effect of “they don’t even know we exist” and “they really don’t care about us” were voiced in group discussions as the task force entertained ideas from the late 1990s.
“There was a lot of talk as we visited back and forth about the value that there was having state employees being decentralized—being in the field,” Roach said.
“They (the task force members) would like for us to be able to identify, by name and church, who our small church pastors are. We want to provide a method that we can pray for every small church pastor in the state.”
The SCTF kept all of this in mind as it worked on its mission statement. The men came to agreement that they wish to champion the small church, to reach people through small churches, to help equip and disciple and to communicate at all times.
“We spent a lot of time talking about how you communicate with our target audience, small churches and pastors,” Roach said.
As resources are being collected and organized in the coming months, the task force will be charged with prioritizing what will be good for the small church to use. A pastors’ subgroup of the SCTF wants to provide preaching resources, explain funding availability through the MBC, provide evangelism resources, grow small church pastors through leadership and discipleship training (including such categories as organization, administration, conflict management, new member assimilation, marriage retreats, lay renewal, teaching, revivals, and small groups), provide worship resources (how to teach, sound equipment usage, technology and media), and provide counseling resources. All of those areas will be undergirded by prayer.
The director of missions subgroup is charged with figuring out how to deliver the product to the small church pastors, which include more than 1,600 of the 1,984 congregations that make up the MBC. Information will be made available on a disc or in print form.
“We think that in some way, shape or form, (it is important) for that director of missions to deal individually with each of those small church pastors and introduce them to this resource,” Roach said. “And then, to deliver the resource catalog, we could have a presence on the (worldwide) Web.”
“I don’t see any end to what the task force does, because the needs will always be there and by the time we work through all of these things, with the way our society changes, we will have to come back and revisit,” Roach said. “The resource catalog, once you get it done today, it’s out of date tomorrow.”