KANSAS CITY – Norfleet Baptist Church felt invisible.
“We have canvassed the neighborhoods many times,” said pastor Scott Flippin. “We have hung door hangers, gospel tracts, and invitations to church on their doors. We have rung doorbells and shared the gospel. We have prayer walked. We’ve put flyers out in the elementary schools. We’ve adopted local families at Christmas. We’ve hosted Trunk or Treats, Easter Egg Hunts, Movie Nights and Vacation Bible School, but we felt invisible. Nobody seemed to know that we existed.”
But one day last summer, the Norfleet phone rang. The woman on the other end of the line spoke with an accent, but it was clear to Flippin that she was a Christian. She was looking to host a birthday party for her daughter. Rain was in the forecast, so her original plan of the city park was a no-go.
The church offered her their fellowship hall for the afternoon for the birthday party. It was then they learned that the party-goers were Christian Russian immigrants who had fled their homeland in the early 1980s under threats of persecution from the KGB.
Some were affiliated with Lenexa Baptist Church 30 minutes to the west, and some had a connection to a Russian congregation in Sedalia, but the need for a gospel presence in the area was obvious.
“We challenged them to start a Russian/Slavic work at Norfleet,” Flippin said.
For one year, that challenge laid untouched. The mother contacted Norfleet in July to see if they were still interested in sharing their facilities with a Slavic church. The answer? An enthusiastic “Yes!”
“Sometimes you don’t actually have to pray about stuff,” Flippin said. “God just puts it on your plate and it’s like, ‘OK, let’s go!’”
Norfleet signed a building sharing covenant with them, Aug. 5, and three days later they held their first worship service with 18 in attendance. Last Thursday, more than 40 showed up. They hope to add a Sunday evening worship service in the future and have a goal of becoming their own independent church body by February.
“All of this because the weatherman forecasted rain for a little girl’s birthday party in the park,” Flippin said. “It is simply the Lord at work joining our readiness to be available to the direction He sets. To God be the Glory, great things He is still doing!” ν