OSAGE BEACH—Partners in Care, a bond between the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) and the Missouri National Guard, was celebrated Nov. 1 during the 177th annual meeting of the MBC here at Tan-Tar-A.
Early in this year’s legislative session, Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, approached Kerry Messer, lobbyist, Christian Life Commission, MBC, at the State Capitol. Danner was looking to establish a connection with Southern Baptists regarding challenges his citizen/soldiers were facing, and he asked Messer to provide him with that. Messer chose to pass along the request to then MBC Interim Executive Director Jay Hughes and former MBC Communications Director Vince Blubaugh. A partnership was born.
“I am ecstatic with the result,” Messer said. “I had no idea that the adjutant general coming to me with a need would result in this kind of a ministry partnership. It just shows you never know how the Lord is going to work in your life. Never pass up the opportunity to follow the Lord’s unction.”
On the platform Nov. 1, Col. Gary Gilmore, Joint Force Chaplain Chief in the Family and Warrior Support Division of the Missouri National Guard, prayed for the new partnership. Gilmore served more than 25 years as a Missouri Baptist pastor and is a former trustee of Southwest Baptist University.
Gilmore said Partners in Care, which is a memorandum of agreement, is designed to reach a “hidden and somewhat hurting population.” Many are part of family units that have been serving in “the long war,” the Afghan conflict, not to mention five state emergency duties in 2011. Simply put, the Guard is in need.
“We need the strength of the churches today like we have never needed it before,” Gilmore said.
There is a progression of spiritual power and transformative contextualization of the blessed Holy Spirit that is about to take place. Gilmore said the key is for local churches to invite the Guard in to their various facilities and ministry settings by means of filling out some paperwork that was made available to the messengers at Tan-Tar-A.
“The strength of the family is their community, and the strength of the community is the church,” Gilmore said. “The door is wide open, and I believe the gospel will be heard and responded to.”
Danner reports to the governor and is responsible for approximately 11,500 personnel in the Missouri Army National Guard and Missouri Air National Guard.
ALLEN PALMERI/associate editor