JEFFERSON CITY—The arrival of Mark Snowden Aug. 16 as Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) evangelism/discipleship associate will signal a new era in terms of the two concepts being wedded together.
“We’re blessed to have him,” said Rick Hedger, who will be Snowden’s supervisor as an MBC team leader. “I didn’t think that we would get him.”
Snowden, who served 18 years with the International Mission Board, comes to the MBC after serving in several roles with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) including four years in the church planting group. His storying expertise is something that the MBC has never had in the evangelism position.
“When you think of it it’s evangelism / discipleship,” Hedger said. “It’s not evangelism and discipleship. For too long evangelism and discipleship have been two separate things, and they are not. They cannot be. Within international missions, we disciple to evangelism, and sometimes we evangelize and disciple, but both must be going on. That’s a strength that Mark Snowden will be bringing to our team.”
Snowden said the approach required in his title will be a team effort.
“Making disciples as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28 starts with our own relationship with the Lord,” he said. “We have to know what Jesus commanded and then obey it. Everyone is involved!
“If I could make a video clip, it would show someone bowing one knee to accept Jesus and then switching knees to pray for groups of people that they know that needed Jesus, too. In 2 Tim. 2:2, Paul taught his protege Timothy to make disciples that can keep making disciples. I like that! If church leaders will prayerfully prioritize making disciples of all people, then evangelism and discipleship will follow by the Holy Spirit’s power.”
Snowden has been trained by storying pioneers Jim Slack and J.O. Terry, which means that is bound to come out of him in his new position.
“Our culture is driving a storytelling revival,” he said. “It’s animated and 3-D. Yet our evangelism and discipleship are done linearly and sequentially, using print formats. Even video-based classes are print made loud. Thankfully, through Bible Storying, it is possible to bring the Bible to life!
“In the Bible, it says that Jesus did not speak without using a parable. And it is possible for Missouri Baptists to make disciples like Jesus did. There’s no longer a need to theorize that Bible Storying will work. We know that it works. Bible Storying is used across America – and the world – in churches, on college campuses, in prisons, and in the workplace.
Responsibility for learning shifts from the teacher to the students. God wired us for stories and in His Word there are 500-700 ready to learn, tell, and discuss.”
The geography of Missouri is also appealing to Snowden.
“Missionaries work day and night to evangelize what they call the ‘ethnographic core’ of a people group,” he said. “The people who hold core values shape the beliefs and behaviors of their people. Missouri is the heart of America. I believe that this state can eternally influence the core of America’s values – and the world beyond – to the glory of God! It will be a joy to walk alongside Missouri Baptist church leaders to take on one of the most significant and urgent challenges in our lifetime.”
Snowden is also being placed over the area of prayer and spiritual awakening.