SPRINGFIELD – When God reveals a need, the church is called to action. At least, that’s what the people at Glenstone Baptist Church believe.
In 2005 a study was done showing that a significant population of Filipino-Americans had moved into the Springfield area. Immediately, Glenstone Baptist went to work. They started with an at-home Bible study and the ministry took off from there.
In 2006, the church called Ednor Sebag from the Philippines as missions pastor and, with additional support the Missouri Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program, Filipino-American Christian Fellowship was born.
“They meet on Sunday afternoons in our fellowship hall,” said Doug Irvin, Jr., pastor at Glenstone Baptist since 2010. “They are running about 70 people and offer special ministries for both youth and children.”
Irvin, who spent seven years doing mission work in North Africa through the International Mission Board (IMB) before coming to Springfield, said it’s a great partnership.
“Our staff and their staff make a point to meet together and pray together,” he said. “We want to make sure the needs of both churches are met.”
He said the next goal is to help the Filipino-American church become self-sufficient.
“We are training them how to operate on a budget so that when the time comes, they can take over the responsibility of taking care of their church and their pastor,” Irvin said. “For the most part their working mentality is to earn money and use as little as possible to live on while sending any excess funds to their families in the Philippines. That’s fine, but we are also trying to teach them about giving to the Lord’s work and the importance of tithing. It’s a learning process for them, but they are responding well.”
Not that Glenstone Baptist desires for Filipino-American Christian Fellowship to leave. In fact, Irvin said the opposite is true.
“A vision Ednor and I have is to build a building on our church property,” he said. “It would be a sort of international fellowship center for the gospel. We are fairly close to the university here in Springfield and there is a lot of potential to reach other nationalities that come and make their home here. I would love to see both our congregations working together to reach out to other nations of people with the gospel of Christ.”