ARNOLD — Joshua Hedger, pastor, Freshwater Church, Bolivar, will be nominated for the office of second vice president of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) by Bob Caldwell, outreach pastor, First Baptist Church here.
Hedger is a fifth-generation pastor who grew up as the son and grandson of Southern Baptist preachers. Freshwater was planted in 2009 with 24 people at their first gathering and Hedger as the planter. Today, about three years into the plant, Freshwater has an attendance of more than 800, with approximately 65 percent of those attending coming from an un-churched or de-churched background. More than 150 have been baptized in the last 2 1/2 years.
Hedger has led Freshwater to have a heart for the Great Commission, with six church plants in India and one in West Africa. They are actively training indigenous people in both of those areas for future church plants. In addition, Freshwater is a partner church in Nicaragua with two orphanages.
His MBC experiences include four years with the summer missions program and an 2011 opportunity to preach at the Pastors’ Conference. He also served in the spring of 2001 as a missionary with the International Mission Board (IMB) in West Africa.
“Every healthy organization or ministry comes to multiple defining moments,” Caldwell said. “One of those defining moments is to know when to effectively pass the torch from one generation to the next. It is imperative then, when this begins to take place that it is handed to the right young hands.
The Missouri Baptist Convention has begun this process.
“While I do not believe that all leadership should be young in age, as there are many things to be learned from the wise elders in the state, it is still vital that some in key points of leadership are young. Joshua is one of our young pastors who will safely and effectively represent Jesus through Missouri Baptists and carry the gospel effectively to future generations. He loves preaching the inerrant, infallible Word of God and believes in sharing Jesus both at home and around the world. I feel that many of our young pastors look to Joshua for guidance as Joshua looks to mentors and family members of past generations for wisdom.”