The General Association of Regular Baptist Churches held its annual conference June 27–30 in North East, Maryland. During the conference, Pastor David Huckins gave Regular Baptist Church Planting a check for $1,000 on behalf of Monongah (West Virginia) Baptist Church. Pastor Huckins shares why his church was moved to give generously.
Established in 1803, Monongah Baptist Church is one of the oldest churches in the GARBC fellowship and the second oldest established church in West Virginia. Monongah Baptist has regularly held worship services during its 214-year history, except during the Civil War, when fighting took place close to our small coal-mining town.
As is often the case with older churches, our congregation has experienced times of blessed growth as well as times of difficult decline. It was a blessing to help establish two local Baptist churches. And in the early years of our local association, the Freedom Fellowship of Regular Baptist Churches, our pastors helped establish three additional churches. But in the late 1960s it was difficult when our church experienced a small split shortly after our Sunday School attendance reached more than 350. Our church’s membership declined, but the congregation continued on faithfully. Sunday attendance today is around 125, but God’s blessings are still obvious.
Earlier this year I was impressed with Baptist Mid-Missions’ statement, “Why carry the Great Commission alone? We can help your church.” About the same time, Clare Jewell, national church planting coordinator for Regular Baptist Churches, challenged churches with Regular Baptist Church Planting’s “From Our Knees” 30-day prayer campaign. It was an effective way to, as Clare expressed it, “enhance awareness of the church planting initiative while rooting the movement in the power of God’s Spirit.” He also encouraged churches to participate in the campaign’s “30/30” offering project, setting aside $1 per day during the 30 days of prayer to raise additional funds for church planting.
I promoted to my congregation the “From Our Knees” prayer campaign and offering project for two weeks before we would start the endeavor on March 12, 2017. We glued the offering project’s logo to 5″ x 8″ manila envelopes to facilitate members’ giving. The congregation prayed daily and gave sacrificially until we ended the campaign on Easter Sunday. Then at the 2017 GARBC Conference, I had the joy of giving to Clare Jewell a check for the congregation’s donations, $1,000.
Early in my ministry, a missionary challenged me with these words: “A church will not have a strong missions program if it only supports missionaries to do her mission work by proxy. A strong missionary-minded church must be doing what it expects her missionaries to do.”
My present-day takeaway from that missionary’s wise words is for me to be and to lead my church to be obedient to the Great Commission. As articulated in the “From Our Knees” prayer and giving campaign, that means praying for the establishing and building up of new church plants, giving to support those church ministries, and planting the seed of the gospel in an unbeliever’s life by sharing my faith story and Scripture as the Spirit uses me to lead that person to trust Christ as Savior. I pass on that missionary’s challenge to all in our fellowship who desire to strengthen their churches’ outreach.