JEFFERSON CITY – In early March the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) allocated $120,000 to be distributed to Baptist associations to help with benevolent and ministry needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Associations received varying amounts based on their size. MBC Executive Director John Yeats encouraged directors of missions to use the funds to assist churches with benevolence. DOMs sprung into action and put those funds to work quickly.
Directors of missions report that they have been able to assist in a variety of creative ways that have benefited families who were struggling with decreased salaries or employment, churches that needed to purchase technical equipment in order to do online worship services, as well as assisting pastors who had unexpected financial emergencies.
The Crossroads Association in Moberly received the funding and made it available immediately to their churches upon request. Director of Missions Mark Carter said they knew of a church that was struggling financially as the statewide “Stay at Home” order took effect. The church did not request the funds, but the association was able to contribute to them to assist during the resulting financial downturn.
They also helped some churches purchase video equipment in order to do online worship services. Other churches were helping families in their communities who needed groceries and financial help due to the parents being suddenly unemployed.
Carter said, “The churches who have received some of the funds were very appreciative of the effort of the MBC. The monies for the families really helped them as they purchased groceries.”
Mineral Area Association, Park Hills, said they received $2,000 from this financial distribution. One pastor received funds to put toward a food ministry with kids he is involved with. Some of the funds went to churches to help with financial support for church staff members. DOM Bob Curtis said they were also able to send some funding to a ministry in an area prison to purchase some sanitary supplies for the ministry as well, as provide funding for students staying in dormitories at the nearby Mineral Area Community College. And they sent gift baskets of fruit to the staff of two nearby hospitals in Farmington and Bonne Terre.
Alan Earls, the DOM of the Concord Association in Jefferson City said their funds went five directions: 1) food for international students staying at Lincoln University; 2) to a church providing lunches and support to emergency medical staff and healthcare workers; 3) for a church to purchase a wifi extender to provide for people needing internet access while completing schoolwork or working from home; 4) for one church to set up a “blessing box” in their community to provide free food; and 5) for a church to purchase an FM radio transmitter for drive-in worship services.
Phillip Shuford, DOM of Tri-County Association in Nixa sent a letter and a check to each of their churches saying, “I’ve been praying for you personally and for your church. We know that the God we serve is ‘behind the steering wheel’ in all of this. I love the words of that old Moravian hymn, ‘Our lamb has conquered—let us follow Him!” The association provided $250 to every church (using some association funds and the funds from the MBC).
Pastor Bob Smith, of First Baptist Church, Queen City, received a few checks from Thousand Hills Baptist Association, Kirksville, so their church could provide financial help to some people who were struggling with reduced income or unemployment.
He said, “Although our church is rather small, we try to take care of those in our community that are suffering during this pandemic. With the help of our association, we have been able to touch the lives of several families that were adversely affected with benevolent gifts. … Intercessory prayer has proven to be the best gift so far. Many across the country are looking for answers and God’s Word has those answers.”
Bob Curtis said the gifts “show the cooperative nature between the convention, the associations and the churches.”
The MBC funds were provided from the Missouri Mission Offering and from MBC world hunger relief funds.