ST. LOUIS – Unity of mobilization was the theme of the Send St. Louis meeting held July 21 at the St. Louis Metro Baptist Association. Steve Davis, Midwest director of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and Aaron Coe, vice president of NAMB, led discussions on the strategy and plans for Send St. Louis.
Send St. Louis is NAMB’s effort to aggressively plant evangelistic Southern Baptist churches in the St. Louis area.
“Aaron discussed the support and mobilization plans as we identified partners in ministry,” Davis said. “We had new people at the table as the coalition is developing. We have a couple more pastors to join from the metropolitan area, one from Illinois and one from the Missouri side of the river.”
“Our next step will be to recruit key out-of-state partners,” Davis said. “We will also want to have a training meeting for the greatest impact on planting churches in St. Louis.”
Jim Breeden, director of missions for the St. Louis Metro Baptist Association, agreed that the meeting was productive. “We are beginning to see a template or skeleton of how NAMB and Send St. Louis will focus on our city. We are coming together to develop a structure of healthy cooperation for what God has called us to do as Southern Baptists.”
Breeden also sees this effort of cooperation as positive. “In the past,” he said, “the NAMB would come in with package deals, but in this case, we are having indigenous decisions developed by a local group. It may be slower on the front end with talking and planning, but it is healthier and broader in the cooperation.”
Prayer is the backbone of this effort. “Prayer is our starting point,” Davis said. “We want to bathe the entire city in prayer. We want to pray for every household and pray against every stronghold.”
According to Davis, the need in the St. Louis area is great. “We looked at the number of churches per population in various cities and states. In the entire state of Missouri, we have one Southern Baptist church for 3,000 people while in St. Louis, we have one Southern Baptist church for 7,500 people. That’s what lostness looks like.”
Davis said Coe’s group for mobilization will help the Send St. Louis coalition match resources to needs. “His group is working to develop partners to help. At the recent Southern Baptist Convention, more than 500 pastors expressed an interest in partnering with NAMB to reach major cities in North America. The mobilization group will match those pastors with specific needs in St. Louis.”
Plans are being made for the launching of Send St. Louis in the fall. An official date for the launch has not been set because of the growing coalition.
The meeting encouraged Davis. “There was lots of excitement in the room,” he said. “There was a real spirit of unity and a desire to have an impact on the St. Louis area for Christ.”
VICKI STAMPS/contributing writer