By Kayla Rinker
RAYTOWN – Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Partnership Missions Specialist Rick Hedger represented all Missouri Baptists Oct. 27 when he signed a three-year partnership agreement with the Associations of Northern Illinois at the 175th annual meeting here.
The partnership agreement will begin in January 2010 with the option of renewing one year at a time for two additional years.
Daryl Stagg, director of missions, Lake County Baptist Association (located in the Chicago area), also signed the agreement, stating that he believes the partnership “is going to be great for the glory of God.”
This is the MBC’s “Judea.” Hedger said it is like what Missouri Baptists have done in the past.
“It is association with association and church with church,” he said. “They already have the leadership there and we have to go there and work with them.”
The role of Missouri Baptist churches will be to assist in planting new churches throughout Northern Illinois associations (in some areas there is only one Southern Baptist church for every 37,000 people) and working to strengthen existing churches and associations in their evangelism efforts. Typical opportunities will include prayer walking communities without a church, random acts of kindness, block parties, special Bible studies and Vacation Bible School.
“In Mark, chapter 1, after Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, He got up early the next morning and went to a solitary place,” Hedger said. “When the disciples found him they said, ‘Jesus, you have to come back,’ and Jesus told them no. He said, ‘Let’s go to a nearby village because I have been sent to preach to them.’ Northern Illinois is our nearby village and we need to go there.”