First Wentzville practices ‘five E’s’ of growth
WENTZVILLE—Traveling eastbound on Business Highway 61 in Wentzville will take one by the First Baptist Church, where former Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) President Ralph Sawyer is pastor.
For the last nine years, Sawyer has led this church, which includes 40 ministries and averages around 750 in Sunday worship. A quick browse of the church’s front page on the website will display the plethora of ministries that Sawyer points out are biblically goal oriented. Those goals are to love God, love church, and love people.
“It’s evangelism and discipleship,” said Sawyer. “That’s the heart of everything we do.”
Sawyer called the First Wentzville outreach goals the “five E’s,” which are evangelism, equip the core, edify the committed, exalt Christ, and encourage the congregation.
From the many ministries there is a deaf ministry, a hope ministry, and a mother’s-day-out ministry, just to name a few. There are also age-group ministries. These ministries are started by those in the church who discover and develop spiritual gifts given by God. Sawyer explained that First Wentzville believes in and practices the biblical model of ministry team leaders pulling people in, training them, and becoming part of the ministry.
One of the biggest ministries at the church is the Hope Ministry, which focuses on meeting physical needs of those who have less. There are about 50-60 members who help run the ministry, feeding around 900 people a month. For one Saturday a month, First Wentzville is able to distribute raw meat to those outside the congregation to take home for preparation. “It’s the right thing to do,” Sawyer said.
Don’t be surprised to see a signer during the worship and sermon at this church, because there is a deaf ministry at First Wentzville. The ministry for the hearing impaired started when a woman in the congregation, who came from another church, had a deaf parent. At her previous church, she also had some deaf friends. When she came to First Wentzville, her spiritual gift was put to use there, and the deaf ministry was born. The usage of the deaf ministry expands to signing during counseling sessions. It is also used in other forums as well. Others in the church have also been trained to sign. Now there are six signers and about 15 attend a hearing-impaired Sunday School class. Sawyer said that he doesn’t know if the deaf population of Wentzville is higher than anywhere else, but the ministry reaches those roughly in a 40-mile radius.
A ministry for mothers with preschool-aged children, or Mother’s Day Out, is another way to serve at the church. It gives women with youngsters the opportunity to go out shopping or run errands. When the kids are at the church, there is a devotion time, and there are additional lessons that the children are taught. Currently about 220 kids are a part of Mother’s Day Out. Building relationships with the mothers helps evangelize attendees. Sawyer said moms and entire families have joined the church because of this ministry. During the Christmas program, the kids and parents involved help “fill the sanctuary,” Sawyer said.
There are also ministries for age groups. There is a seniors ministry, or 55-plus as it is called. This ministry includes many different groups such as Gospel singing. The groups often go to conferences seeking ways to expand the ministry and train people. Like the seniors ministry, there is also one for students and young adults. The age-group ministries at First Wentzville provide fellowship for those attending and leading.
It is clear that the ministries of First Wentzville are outreach in nature. They seek to meet multiple needs of many individuals and give the Gospel when there is an opportunity to share Christ. Practicing the five E’s and being biblically goal oriented is how the people of First Wentzville are loving God, loving church, and loving people.