ST. CHARLES – During their latest meeting, the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) executive board recommended that the MBC enter into a seven-year partnership with the Montana Southern Baptist Convention (MTSBC), beginning on Jan. 1, 2021. Messengers at the MBC annual meeting will decide whether to move forward with the missions partnership during their annual meeting in here, Oct. 26-27.
Jeff Cahill, a Missouri native and now pastor of Valley Community Church, Miles City, Mont., said such a partnership would be valuable to pastors and church planters ministering in Montana. Missouri Baptists could help Montana Baptists with a variety of projects – from Bible schools to fixing damaged fences on ranches. (See story on the Cahill family here.)
But Missouri Baptists can also pray for them and encourage them in their Kingdom efforts, Cahill added. “We need other people to see value in our work.”
Barrett Duke, executive director of the MTSBC, told The Pathway that Kingdom ministry desperately needs to take place in Montana.
“A very small percentage of people in Montana claim any relationship with Jesus,” he said. “Despite the great beauty of the state, there is tremendous isolation and spiritual despair. We have the highest suicide rate in the nation. Drug and alcohol addiction is at epidemic levels in some areas.
“The church has the only real answer to human needs. We must bring the gospel to the people of Montana if we want to see any real change in people’s lives here. God is at work here. Many of our churches are growing, but we have very limited resources and manpower. The needs are great, and we want to do more than just make a dent in lostness in this state. We want to see God do a mighty work here. We see Missouri Baptists as crucial partners in that task for this moment.”
Duke also expressed his excitement about a partnership with Missouri Baptists.
“I am really looking forward to a partnership between Missouri Baptists and Montana Baptists. The first Southern Baptist church wasn’t planted in Montana until 1952. Most of our churches are just coming out of their second generation. I’m looking forward to the wisdom and knowledge Missouri Baptists have gained through their longer years of successful ministry. Many of our churches are ready to take significant next steps in ministry and maturity. This partnership will help us to pair Missouri Baptist churches with our churches as they take their next steps.
“I’m also looking forward to bringing Missouri Baptists together with Montana Baptists in outreach and church planting efforts. We still have many towns and vast areas in the state with no Baptist witness, not even any evangelical witness. Missouri Baptists can help us reach them.”