CRESTON, Iowa — Chuck Spindler, who has been pastor at Creston Baptist Church for 18 years, knows that his congregation that runs about 150 in Sunday worship is mission-minded.
They have a team going to Guatemala this summer and they have sent missionaries to Asia and Venezuela in the past. But as much as he said they need to have a heart for foreign missions, they also need a heart for local missions.
Enter Corning, Iowa – a town of 1,600 people, located 22 miles west of Creston on Highway 34. Corning has a mainline church presence, but not a large evangelical presence. Over the years Spindler has sensed that God may be calling his church to do something in Corning and recently a few believers began to filter into his church from Corning, further convincing him to begin the discovery process for a church plant there.
“We are called to go to our Judea, which is near us, and I feel like these counties around us that have no Southern Baptist witness are calling out for us to reach out to them,” Spindler said.
Creston Baptist Church is already reaching out to Corning in a number of ways.
Spindler’s wife, Myra, and the church’s administrative assistant, Cindy Taylor, have been visiting Corning periodically over the past 12 years to get their hair done and to visit neighboring shops so they can build relationships in the community.
The church is hoping to make contacts and build relationships through a county fair this summer.
And in August they have rented a newly refurbished opera house in town for a couple of nights to show the movie “Courageous” to lay a spiritual foundation. A woman who works at the opera house, and is a member of a mainline denomination, was thrilled to hear about the upcoming showing.
“She was so excited,” Spindler said. “She said, ‘I’ve been praying for something to happen,’ and she really felt like God was answering that prayer. She quoted a line from Chris Tomlin’s song, ‘God of This City,’ that says, ‘And greater things are still to be done in this city.’”
Spindler hopes to have a good indication by the end of August regarding Corning’s willingness to embrace a Southern Baptist church plant. If all goes well, they will start a weekly Bible study by September. And then they will see where God directs them from there.
The four-year partnership between the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) and the Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI) is vital to the success of the prospective plant in Corning. Spindler has been working in conjunction with Jim Plymale from Franklin Baptist Association and Pat Panepinto from Meramec Baptist Association – both of whom are directors of missions in Missouri. Plymale and Panepinto are committing resources to the intial efforts this summer.