ST. LOUIS—Joe Spicer, custodian and minister of missions/outreach of South County Baptist Church in St. Louis, never meets a stranger. He only meets divine appointments.
Many of these divine appointments have resulted in conversion experiences leading to baptisms. Since August, South County Baptist Church has baptized 45 people.
“Why is God working here?” Spicer answered his own question, “You begin with the sovereignty of God. Jesus paid the high price for our salvation, and if we are willing to work with God, He’ll provide the ripe fruit.”
John Childers, pastor of South County, agreed that God is providing the harvest.
“Of the 45 baptized, more than half are adults: young couples, fathers, mothers, 50+ coming to Christ from the world,” he said. “The church has been praying for an Awakening of the Heartland since before I arrived and God is faithful. Joe is a blessing and an encouragement to the rest of the church. They know he is willing to share with others even though it is not easy for him.”
When Spicer, a retired math teacher and former pastor, discusses fear and his witnessing, he quotes D. James Kennedy of Evangelism Explosion.
“He tells the story of Kennedy’s ‘back condition,’” Spicer said. “The reason he didn’t witness was because he had this yellow streak running down his back. I know exactly what he was talking about.”
Because Spicer is the custodian, he is able to witness to anyone who comes into the church. He finds a connection and he links into it.
“Last week, a UPS man made a delivery,” he said. “When I went to sign for the package, I met Jesus. I asked him if Jesus was in his heart and if he was a baseball fan. I pulled out an Albert Pujols card with Pujols’ testimony on the back. We also talked about (Yadier) Molina’s faith. It only took about two minutes, but he went off with that card in his pocket.”
Spicer also looks for people he doesn’t know who are attending other ministries of the church.
“One Wednesday night at our dinner,” he said, “I looked in and spotted a family I didn’t know. It turned out that the grandparents were bringing their granddaughter to AWANA. I talked to them and found out the grandfather was an agnostic, but they believed it was important for her to come.”
All of the ministries are important to witnessing according to Spicer. “If it wasn’t for the kitchen crew, I would never have met that family,” he said. Spicer also tells stories of meeting with people attracted to the church by the music ministry and the English as a Second Language (ESL) class that South County offers.
Childers tells of the way Spicer ministers to the preschool parents coming to the church.
“When the parents come to pick up their children from our preschool,” he said, “Joe arranges his work in proximity to the school. When the parents come in, he greets them and builds a relationship with them. We’ve had some of those parents become believers, and that decision changes the destiny of an entire family.”
Spicer recognizes the source of power for his witnessing and begins each day with spiritual preparation.
“Each morning, I pray for the forgiveness of my sins to be a clean vessel for Him,” he said. “I pray to put on the full armor of God and to exhibit the fruit of the spirit. I want to be a man after God’s heart and to share the Good News with humility.”
His pastor sees the power of evangelism in what he does.
“Joe will ask the questions,” he said. “He just needs to be released and freed up to witness. As he puts the finishing touches on the church, he walks the halls and prays.”
Childers described the effect that the witnessing is having on the congregation.
“Joe is an inspiration to them,” he said. “And several other members are beginning to step out. The entire church recognizes the excitement and the Spirit is palpable.”
BY VICKI STAMPS / contributing writer