CLINTON – First Baptist is noticeably on mission for Christ.
According to Randy Shipman, with the title of pastor emeritus since January, the church in early April has marked 16 years with their program called ActsOne8.
The flagship verse, in a nutshell, calls for reaching the world for Christ.
“It has become the DNA of our church,” Shipman said.
Shipman said it started when one man in the church wrote on a commitment card to avail himself to missions.
“The last year or two he’s been able to work in Alaska in an Aleutian village. He’s a pilot, bought a plane and fashioned it for Alaska. He is fulfilling his commitment.
“One lady who has affiliated with our church is leading the effort for an Easter celebration on the courthouse square with a bounce house and egg hunt. She’s leading the effort is doing so because of what God has done in her life. It was nothing our staff came up with.
“Another young adult is graduating from Missouri Baptist University and the Lord put on his heart to spend the month of June in a South Asian country, with an IMB couple from our church that is going back there, as that country has just re-opened after Covid. He’s taking a team of single young adults,” Shipman said.
Another group will go there in December to tell how Jesus fits in the Christmas story.
Yet another family in FBC who are missionaries in another Asian country, and the church has sent teams in the past in that country.
One team builds temporary handicapped ramps without charge. If conditions warrant where the ramp is no longer needed, it is removed.
Shipman said there is a church team planning a late May trip to help reclaim a church in Ashland Wisconsin, and there is an effort to develop a partnership with a Montana church.
“We are strong supporters of the Cooperative Program. We give a good portion of our budget.”
But the CP is not the main way the church mission activity is funded. That comes from financial commitment in the ActsOne8 plan that funds scholarships and projects, which is above regular tithes, regular building offerings, and CP.
“The Lord has so blessed us. In 16 years, we’ve given over $2.4 million for local and global missions. When you do missions, it does not take away locally, it adds to it. A dream has to have the funds for it to become a reality,” he said.
The church averages about 360 on Sundays, still below pre-Covid numbers, but Shipman said a new influx of people “is about to outdistance those who haven’t come back since Covid.”
The influx is partially from a nearby Methodist church that permanently closed, but he credits God with giving the congregation “a culture of generosity and helping them personally identify with missions.”
“Financially, Covid was a two-week glitch in March 2020. Since then, it has been phenomenal what God has done.”
The emeritus title is because Shipman, 70, has been at FBC for 22 years and is thinking ahead. It is the longest tenure of any of the pastors in the church’s 155-year history.
“We are in formal pastoral transitioning. That’s part of the current reality,” Shipman said.
He’ll stay at FBC as long as God allows, and then has other plans to pursue with NAMB.