The Barnabas Project

By General Baptist Ministries

This post was originally published in the Fall issue of the GB Messenger. Don’t receive the Messenger? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the Messenger website,

In an effort to provide denominational services and connections as close to the field as possible, Executive Director Clint Cook has appointed a team of Field Representatives to provide personal connections to General Baptist pastors.  The Barnabas Project intends to establish personal connections to General Baptist pastors through regular, planned contact.  General Baptist Ministries has maintained a history of service to the pastors of its churches that can be traced back to the days when such ministry was funded and organized by the Christian Education and Publications Board.  In the reorganization of 1996 a Pastoral Ministries Department was included.

These Field Representatives have agreed to make personal contact with the pastors in their care by a phone call or by in-person conversation two to three times annually.  They will address the specific areas of concern identified by the executive director while also being sensitive to the needs and concerns of the pastors in their assigned group.

As much as possible the current listing of General Baptist pastors has been divided into regional listings with some specialized groupings.  Some of the regions are small enough geographically that the field representative will be able to attend Presbytery and Ordaining Council meetings to establish direct, personal connections.  In other regions contact will be primarily by phone.

For more information or to provide updated contact information please contact Congregational Ministries at 573-785-7746 or

Charles RichardsonCharles Richardson, Piggott, AR—In many ways this assignment has forced me to be intentional in an area where I should have been anyway.  As a pastor I need other pastors around me who face the same challenges while sharing wisdom, strategies and concern.  Creating many new relationships and strengthening some old ones has proven to be very rewarding.   I believe the Kingdom is benefited when men of God come together for the worthwhile cause of mutual encouragement, inspiration, and improvement.  Connecting with all these pastors and building these relationships will no doubt pay dividends well into the future for all involved.  I believe great opportunities and potential lies within the networks that are forming as a result of the Barnabas project!

Pete WhitePete White, Vincennes, IN—As this project took shape and calls began to be made, I was amazed at the response.  Pastors desiring to be heard!  For many, it seemed like a very long time since anyone had inquired of them how things were going or what the denomination could do for them.  Responses varied from ‘things are going well’ to ‘we’re really struggling out here and could really use some prayers’.

One pastor was disappointed in the inquiry, saying it had come a little too late.  He had resigned his church a little over a year and half ago.  The Barnabas Project helps reconnect the local pastor to the denominational offices and the services they provide, not only to the local church but also to the pastor.  More than ever, this connection is needed!  No church, no pastor stands alone!  We are in this together.  We are doing together what we cannot do alone. (I think I’ve heard that somewhere, right?)

I look forward to continuing to connect with the pastors in my region, if for no other reason, just to let them know someone is in their corner, praying for them, encouraging them, and standing in the gap for them!  We have a great work ahead of us, as General Baptists, in the days ahead and we need to be connected!

Donald KeyDonald Key, Westmoreland, TN—As to being a part of the Barnabas Project, I have found it to be a personal blessing to get to talk to the men of God who serve our churches.  Most of the guys on my list are bi-vocational.  They are trying to work a secular job, raise a family and see to the spiritual needs of their respective congregations.  Most of the phone calls they get are not positive.  It is usually about someone who has died, is sick, in the hospital or upset and leaving the church. Rarely do they get phone calls that are encouraging.

I get to be the one who calls and says, “Thank You. How can I pray for you? How can I help you?”  Most of the answers are the same, there’s not enough time, not enough volunteers, leadership training that needs to be done or just being able to balance all the responsibilities that go along with bi-vocational ministry.  However, just to hear an encouraging word and a sympathetic voice means a lot to these men.  Over and over they tell me, “I needed this today.” or “Thanks for the encouragement.” How wonderful to be able to tell a person who is giving his life to family, community, job and church that they are doing a good job and are appreciated.

Seriously, my life has been impacted by getting to be an encourager.  Each time I pray with a pastor, my life is strengthened, my circle of friends becomes larger (Prayer of Jabez) and I am encouraged myself.

Jeff LittleJeff Little, Mishawaka, IN—I am thankful to be part of this ministry. I am a pastor and I have a heart for other pastors.

Beyond this, I am inspired by the faithful people who have served many years in ministry, some under adverse and challenging settings.  In spite of these challenges, the pastors keep on serving! They serve in out-of-the-way places that won’t make headlines in the daily papers.

I’m also struck by the fact that each of these ministers have expressed a passion to see more people come to know Christ.

I’ve noticed that most of these servants aren’t asking for help from the denomination like I had anticipated they would. What they seem to desire is that someone give value to them as people and connect with them person-to-person. On more than one occasion the pastor expressed gratitude that the denomination is reaching out to them. It seems this type of effort in being personal and personally interested in local leaders touches them where they live.

It is interesting to learn some of the more personal ministry stories like the brother who attends county fairs to share the gospel from a booth. Another pastor told of going to Africa and being privileged to sharing the gospel with hundreds in an evangelistic crusade. A lot goes on in the lives of these pastors as they seek to share Christ with their world.

Overall, I’ve been enriched by these connections. After our conversations, sometimes I am saddened by the sadness in their lives as they minister in challenging places. Always our conversations leave me feeling gratitude that I get to serve alongside these folks.

David EvansDavid Evans, Tecumseh, MO—I have been blessed in the Barnabas Project by the selection of this team.  The group itself reveals well thought out members offering their regions special and unique perspectives from the pastor’s special talent and needs.  I receive blessings from other pastors when I pray for them to be blessed.  It is a blessing to see the motives and godly mission they display by wanting their churches to grow in numbers, in spirit, and in God’s word.

The road map of ministry includes calling, preparation, active service and finally the time of rest when tested and tried servants share their journey. The Barnabas project also has a road map of service.  There are signs on the pastor’s map that he/she may need extra support.  The road sign on the map of each minister’s journey may be grief and loss, disappointments, emotional problems, family struggles or even self-destructive behavior. It may even be pastoral burnout (giving out of self, without refilling, or lack of family support).  Each minister can be vulnerable and all ministers seem to have a case of compassion-fatigue at some point.

My heroes have always been ‘preachers’, pastors and men of God standing on principle.  It has been my desire to have a journey filled with successful ministry that mentors others, not perfect but humble, obedient and supportive, filled with unconditional love.  I continue to have the desire to learn from these godly men working in the vineyard of life. The Map is laid out.  Life’s journey is before us not behind us and the obstacles can be turned into blessings.

Cheyne NewberryCheyne Newberry, Heber Springs, AR—The Barnabas Project is great new ministry for our movement.  It seems like too many pastors feel they are doing ministry alone, and this simply isn’t true.  We have many churches in our movement, and that means we have many pastors also.  The greatest thing about this is that we are tasked with the same mission no matter where our churches are located.  We are all called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to make disciples!  The Barnabas Project encourages our pastors in this mission.

Over the past few months I have heard of some wonderful things going in Arkansas and the Missouri Bootheel!  It is so encouraging to hear news of people being saved and baptized, or to hear about small churches that are growing!  The Barnabas Project helps spread good news from our pastors and encourages them to keep fighting the good fight.  We are not at this alone; there are hundreds of other pastors out there facing the same struggles, and problems that each of us faces every day and week.  My goal as a member of the Barnabas Project is to encourage, pray, inform and help equip the pastors of our movement!  God is still moving in our churches, our communities, and in our denomination, so let’s press on and run the race!

 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” —Romans 15:13

Ken SlaterKen Slater, Newburgh, IN—What an honor to be asked to serve on the Barnabas team! Part of the assignment is to be an encourager to other pastors and as a pastor I know the ups and downs of a pastor’s life.  Yet, as I have talked with many of these men of God, I am the one being encouraged.  They serve in cities, towns and rural communities but mostly in small to medium size churches. They share a common love for God and for their people. Even when life is hard, and so many are working a second or third job, they just want to see people grow in their faith and people come to know Christ.

What a privilege to visit with pastors who have preached for their entire adult lives yet they are still looking forward to helping others through their ministry even when most would be thinking about retiring.

John BrumbielJohn Brumfiel, Dixon, KY—Two things stand out to me now that The Barnabas Project is up and running. The first is that General Baptist churches have some of the best pastors in the entire world. Having had many opportunities to talk with many pastors from different church backgrounds – small churches of less than 20 to large churches running several hundred – I have been impressed with the heart of each pastor to make an impact for the Kingdom of God. As a whole, I have found our pastors to be genuinely and passionately concerned for the future of the church, of the General Baptist movement, and the lost in their midst.

Many are doing well and it is encouraging to hear of their personal walks with the Lord. There are some who are hurting and struggling with personal issues, church issues, family issues, marital issues, and financial issues. It is a privilege to offer a listening ear and a word of prayer.

The second thing that strikes me about The Barnabas Project is the depth of compassion, grace and care that is found in the team that makes up the regional representatives. This group of men cares greatly for the Kingdom of God and His servants. They are going above and beyond what has been asked of them, often doing things for pastors that were never even conceived in the Barnabas Project plans.  It is an honor to stand along my fellow pastors as we serve the Lord together since “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17).

Christmas with Prakash and Jemima Pamu

By Prakash and Jemima Pamu

This is a post in the series, ‘Christmas Around the World,’ first published in the General Baptist International Missions Capsule. Don’t receive the Capsule? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the GB website under the International Missions tab and click on Capsule.

Christmas with the PamusGreetings in the precious name of Jesus. India is a country with different cultures, languages and religions. Hindus have many festivals throughout the year. For all those festivals they buy new clothes, clean their houses, and perform different worships to different Gods.

For we Christians, a festival is sharing what we have with others. Usually we distribute new saris and blankets for the poor people. We sing Christmas carols in the streets and tell the story of the birth of Jesus to non-Christians.

We will have sewing girls Christmas and Pastors Christmas separately on different days. We serve special food on every occasion and give some gifts to the pastors.

We conduct street Christmas festivals during the nights throughout the Christmas month In Pithapuram. Every year we conduct four to six street Christmas celebrations in different parts of the town and share the gospel story of salvation in person and in meetings.

Christmas in India

By Jessie Vemula

This is a post in the series, ‘Christmas Around the World,’ first published in the General Baptist International Missions Capsule. Don’t receive the Capsule? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the GB website under the International Missions tab and click on Capsule.

Jessie Vemula speaking to the congregationChristmas is an important holiday for Indian Christians. However, when I was young I used to not think that. Growing up in a mostly Hindu country and going to a Hindu school did not help my views. My Hindu schoolmates had fun on most breaks from school, because there were so many festivals.

During the year a Hindu can celebrate at least 50 different festivals. When the break was over and school started again, my friends would brag and tell me what a wonderful time they had. This made me feel bad, and I wished that Christians had more festivals like Hindus.

When Christmas would start to get closer though, I would get very anxious and excited, because I knew I was going to get to have fun like my schoolmates and make them jealous. As a child this is what I thought and felt, but now I look at Christmas as a great opportunity. When the Christmas season approaches we start preparing everything from children’s plays, decorations, and even painting the church. The church will be decorated with many colors, garlands, and balloons. The children will do dances and a nativity play. Everyone is so excited and happy when the month of December finally arrives.

The fun side of Christmas in IndiaAnother part of Christmas here is caroling. Usually a group of people will go to our church members’ houses. One person in the group will be dressed as Santa Clause and he will give out cookies, candies, and gospel tracts. After caroling our church member will serve sweets and other foods that they have prepared to the group. It is a great time of fellowship, celebration, and opportunity.

Christmas is the one time of the year that we are not kept from worshipping Christ openly. There is less opposition and persecution from Hindus. So Christmas is the time for us to really focus on sharing about that faithful night when God sent His son to earth so that He could die for all. This is a very precious time for every church member here because they get an opportunity to tell about Jesus Christ and what He has done for them.

Please pray for Christmas in India. Pray that it will be a time when many souls will come to know about the baby that was born in Bethlehem that Christmas night!

Christmas in the Philippines

Christmas in the PhilippinesBy Phil Warren

This is the first post in a series, ‘Christmas Around the World,’ first published in the General Baptist International Missions Capsule. Don’t receive the Capsule? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the GB website under the International Missions tab and click on Capsule.

The Christmas season begins in September in the Philippines. For four months you hear Christmas music in the malls and the decorations brighten the atmosphere. Filipinos love Christmas! There is a part of me that is cynical when I hear “All I Want For Christmas Is You” over and over, but there is another part that says “Shouldn’t Christmas be in our hearts all year-long?” Maybe the Filipinos are getting it right.

Christmas here and Christmas stateside have little in common. There are no big trees with brightly wrapped gifts stuffed underneath for most families. The meal does not have a big brown turkey or smoked ham as its centerpiece. Yet, it is still loved as a time for families to gather and share love, laughter and music. Because of the strong Catholic influence, worship is still embraced as an essential part of the holiday celebration.

Poverty is still a big part of life here in the Philippines. Especially during December you become so aware, as the people from the mountain villages are allowed to come and beg in this city of over 3 million. At almost every stoplight young women with a child on their hip come to your window with a paper cup and making an anguished face and signing they are hungry.

Cynical…again it would be easy, but the reality is that they are poor. As I reach into my pocket for pesos, I do so with grace and try to place myself in their situation. With the pesos we give a tract that shares the Gospel story.

Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.” When they come, dirty and ragged, I get to help them. I get to show love and acceptance. I get to be Christ to them.

I urge you to love the season of Christmas. Enjoy family and friends and the blessings God has given you. Also, I want to urge you to not be cynical and see who you can help and share God’s grace with.

If you want to give a gift to the Philippines, we have pastors who survive on very little in their rural mountain churches. If you want to give a gift, I guarantee that it will be a Christmas they will remember.

Donate Now

Six Thoughts on Six Living Generations

Six Thoughts on Six Living GenerationsBy Dr. Franklin R. Dumond – Director of Congregational Ministries

Six generations of people now live in the United States.  They range in age from those who are centenarians to those still in their formative years.  The labels given them and the chronology of their generations are:

GI Generation—born 1901-1926, now age 90+ years of age

Silent Generation—born 1927-1945, now 70-88 years old

Baby Boom Generation—born 1946-1964, now 51-69 years old

Generation X—born 1965-1980, now 35-50 years old

Generation Y (Millennials)—born 1981-2000, now 15—34 years old

Generation Z—born after 2001 and now in their formative years.

While lengthy descriptions abound to label and define each generation here are six observations about these six generations.  For further discussion of generational characteristics see this interesting article.

  1. Generational labels are cultural, not necessarily chronological.

    Just because an individual is of a certain age doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she holds the same worldview, preferences and habits as everyone else in that generation.  People come in all shapes and sizes.  Habits and lifestyles are learned and chosen not imposed and required.

  2. Each generation enjoys unique experiences and thus has its own language and style of communication.

    Typically those unique experiences are little known or recognized at the time and are understood by the participants in hindsight.  My great-grandmother was born in the 19th century.  Her generation experienced the innovations of electricity and DDT.  Electricity provided lights and power.  The insecticide DDT provided respite from the plague of insects so prevalent during the growing season.

  3.  Cross generational networks are important to aid mutual understanding of and appreciation for the similarities and differences between the generations.

    The most natural mechanism for cross generational networks is the family of origin since it has always been the case that one generation gives birth to, nurtures and then releases the next generation.  Cross generational networks often form in the workplace, in the neighborhood and in faith communities.

  4.  Intergenerational networks are vital to form identity, share values and develop the new alliances that characterize adulthood.

    Without peers we can never realize our own full potential for no one is an island.

  5.  Authenticity and mutual respect are essential within and across each generation.

    Enough said.

  6.  With six active generations present at the same time, each influenced by unique circumstances, life-events and preferences, niche marketing is essential.

    This principle has been expressed by a businessman who became a public relations spokesman.  He advocates that one must become all things to all people to convince a few of the truth being shared.  This businessman was originally a tent manufacturer who later became a primary spokesman for Christianity. He also reminds us that unless we speak their language they will never hear our message.  Logically he also concludes that unless someone tells them they will never know what we know.

To further explore these notions see the New Testament writings of Paul as found in “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” I Corinthians 9:22  and  “Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying?” I Corinthians 14:9 and “How can they hear unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14

3 Reasons for Church Membership

The importance of church membershipBy Brandon Petty

This blog post originally appeared at and is reprinted with permission. It is part of a series of posts dealing with “Next Steps” in the local church and written from the perspective of a local pastor speaking to his congregation. Brandon is Founding and Lead Pastor of Generation Church and Co-Director of General Baptist National Missions.

One of the often asked questions that people have about the local church is whether or not a Christian has to attend church or better yet do they have to join a church to be a Christian. Let me answer the surface level question with a surface level answer; no. Being a part of a church or going to church does not save you. Salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ and in Christ alone. (Ephesians 2:8)

Salvation is not necessarily the result of joining a church; however joining a local church is the result of salvation. Becoming a lone ranger in your faith can be tragic. Yet, it is common in our culture for people to attempt to do life alone. In a culture that seeks for others to be transparent and authentic, most avoid any transparency in their own lives. But when we become a follower of Jesus, we become a part of something bigger than just ourselves:

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”—1 Corinthians 12:12-20

We actually become a part of a functioning body that God is using to accomplish a mission. Salvation is not exclusive, but inclusive. We were saved with a purpose, yet for a purpose. The Bible is clear that one part of the body cannot simply decide to dis-member itself. God places us in the right community, with the right people, with the right mission. It’s up to us to connect to the mission that best fits our purpose, not our preference. Personal preferences change; purpose does not.Salvation is not exclusive, but inclusive. @BPettyGC Click To Tweet

Let’s look at 3 reasons why membership is important:

1 – Your Growth as a Believer Depends on It

Nothing can grow apart from other sustaining sources. Every seed needs water, sunlight, the right soil, and nurturing. The health and growth of the plant depends on it. I teach our church all the time that the number one way to disciple in our church is to commit to giving your time, your talent, and your treasure. We use the term Owner instead of Member. When you own a vision and mission, you take responsibility to help in its accomplishment. When you’re simply a member, it’s easy to have an attitude of entitlement. There is nothing wrong with using this term; we just prefer to use Owner. When you become an owner at Generation Church, you commit to growing spiritually. The more time you spend around other believers who are on the same path to accomplishing a mission; you will grow spiritually. The early church immediately began meeting in homes, giving generously, worshipping nearly every day, and reaching the lost in their community. As a church, we offer small groups, serve teams, and outreach efforts that give people plenty of opportunities to connect to Jesus and the community. That’s the picture of the local church that God intended for us to imitate.

2 – Connect to a Mission; not a Mindset

Most people will choose a church based on a few criteria: the music, the preaching, denomination, how “deep” they are, and the comfort level. Not many people ask; what’s the mission of this church? And yet, this is one of the most important questions to ask when choosing a body to belong. That’s due to our mindset of church as a place that we attend instead of a body of believers in which we engage. We must change our mindset to engage in mission. Belonging to a body of Christ is not about what we choose to tolerate. It’s a place for us to be stretched, challenged, engaged in mission, and grow the Kingdom. We are only as “deep” as we “do”. The gospel was not preached to absorb information; it was preached to bring dead people to life!We must change our mindset to engage in mission. @BPettyGC Click To Tweet

I never have a problem with people leaving our church to find another church as long as it’s to engage in mission. But the sad reality is that people will church hop in the same way we want to try new restaurants. We want to try everything on the menu but no one wants to pick up a tray, a towel, and serve. We are not called to be consumers; we are called to be Christ-like. And Christ formed a body of believers and then served them.

3 – Joining a Local Church Reflects Christ

When the local church is living on mission, it has the greatest potential to change the world. We can make a small impact alone, but we can change an entire city together. When the body of Christ is operating together and functioning at a healthy level; it becomes the city on a hill that Jesus envisioned. Jesus died to establish the local church. It’s a body that is being used by God Himself to reflect His glory by how we reach our community. Jesus wept over Jerusalem. He had compassion over the lost and hurting in His city. When we have a heart for the body of Christ and for the city in which we’ve been called to serve; we reflect the heart of Jesus.The gospel was not preached to absorb information; it was preached to bring dead people to life.… Click To Tweet

For those who are interested in knowing more about the mission and vision of Generation Church, we have an Ownership Class every third Sunday of each month. Our next class is this Sunday November 15th. The class starts at 9:30am and your kids can enjoy our amazing kids ministry while you attend the class. You can then attend the 11:00am worship experience. For more information or to sign up, you can simply email

If Generation Church is not for you, then I strongly urge you to find a church that you can join and engage in their mission. Our church attendance has never inspired life change. But our church involvement has changed hundreds of lives. Get involved today; be a part of the body of Christ. It’s the most important decision you can make as a follower of Jesus.

Why the Relevance Versus Obedience Argument Isn’t As Relevant As We Think

Phil CookeBy Phil Cooke

This blog post originally appeared at and has been reprinted with permission. Phil Cooke is one of our keynote speakers at the Mission & Ministry Summit, July 18-20, 2016 in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

I have to admit that I’m growing weary of the “Is it better to be relevant or obedient” arguments. Frankly, it’s wasting a lot of time and energy, plus, it’s causing division and isn’t helping the cause. Here’s why:

1. We’re not even using the word correctly.

By definition, “relevance” isn’t about popularity, being cool, being liked, or by extension, compromise. Relevance is about the right thing at the right time. It’s about being connected to the matter at hand. It’s about the right tool, strategy, message, or idea that fills a need. What could be more important in sharing the gospel? By misinterpreting and condemning the word “relevance” we’re closing the door on important and critical ways it could be used to reach this culture with the gospel.

2. Relevance and obedience actually work together.

Using the word correctly, if you’re obedient, then you’re relevant. In our obedience, God uses us to be the right answer at the right time. Anything else is disobedience and irrelevance.

3. The relevance versus obedience argument is a slippery slope.

It can too easily imply our superiority and godliness, and minimize other’s efforts to share the gospel. Are we forgetting that we’re all in this together? We all make mistakes, go too far, don’t go far enough, miss the mark in many ways. Can we just extend a little grace? You say you’re called to “Preach the Holy Ghost with fire.” Great. Knock yourself out. I’m all for it. Just remember that not everyone has the same calling as you – and it’s not our job to decide which is the most important.

4. We use scriptures like 1 Corinthians 1: 18-25 as permission to drive away the very people we’re trying to reach.

That scripture doesn’t give us the right to be pushy, arrogant, weird, or jerks in order to share the gospel. Our weirdness shouldn’t be a badge of honor. “Speaking the truth” doesn’t mean you have to be rude or insensitive when you do it. If the message of the gospel drives people away, so be it. If our behavior, style, or attitude drives people away, it’s wrong.If the message of the gospel drives people away, so be it. If our behavior, style, or attitude… Click To Tweet

Do people compromise in sharing the gospel? Of course. Do others become “theology cops” in their efforts to bring them back in line? You bet.Maybe we should spend more time in the middle. And for what it’s worth, I’m not diminishing doctrine and theology. Let’s just use the right definitions when we teach (or rant via social media.) The stakes are too high in today’s world to waste time just getting the choir amped up.

I’m probably dreaming to think our time would better be spent sharing the gospel with a lost culture than arguing over the wrong definition of a word. Maybe we all should just repent and start over.

But wait – you’re using a fog machine at your church, and that’s not godly – so I’ll need to correct you on Facebook…

Forever Changed

By James Pratt

Jim and Kris Pratt - Forever ChangedI accepted my calling into the ministry in the summer of 1981. Since then, I have tried to share the Good News of Jesus Christ tasting death for everyone with as many people as I could. For 25 years, I have had the support of my lovely wife, Kris. God blessed us 23 years ago with a lovely daughter who is married to a minister, and they are actively involved in sharing the Good News as well.

It was with my daughter’s urging that we went on our first international mission trip to Honduras in 2007. We were forever changed. Now, after eight trips to Honduras, two trips to the Philippines, and one trip to Saipan, I have the privilege of serving as the new Mission One Coordinator.

My desire is to expand on the accomplishments of past coordinators. I want to expand the number, types, and location of teams. My desire is to equip each team with adequate pre-trip training and post-trip follow-up. I will also work with the missionaries and nationals to help them know what to expect from the teams.

It is my dream to place college interns at each of our mission locations with the hope that many of them will become career missionaries. I will also aid in recruiting people approaching retirement to serve as short-term missionaries.

I am humbled to be selected for this opportunity to take the gospel to the nations. Pray for me as I challenge others to also become forever changed.

Pete Leija Installed as Special Projects Coordinator for Honduras

Installation of Pete Leija as Special Projects CoordinatorPete Leija was installed as Special Projects Coordinator during the recent rededication of the Willingham Center at Faith Home in Honduras.

Pete serves as a deacon at the Morehouse General Baptist Church in Morehouse, Missouri.  He has made many Mission One MVP (M1) trips to Honduras and is well-regarded by the pastor’s and leaders in Honduras. Pete spent 40 years connected with the US Army dating back to the Vietnam Conflict and also serves as mayor of Morehouse, Missouri and as a general contractor.

The Special Projects Coordinator is a volunteer position responsible to coordinate capital improvement projects of Faith Home and the Honduran Churches with the Mission One Coordinator, Dr. James Pratt, and Mission One team leaders.

Pete Leija - Special Projects CoordinatorIn a very short time, Pete has already been able to complete several projects from money that had been donated by various teams over the last couple of years.

Raised in a migrant workers home in Texas, Pete’s father spoke English and Spanish but his mother spoke only Spanish.  From that background he made his way through the ranks of the Army National Guard, married, and made his way to Morehouse, Missouri. There he became connected with the local General Baptist Church and started a contracting business. He even became mayor.

Pete has a huge heart for Honduras and loves Faith Home and the ministry of our General Baptist Churches in Honduras. He will not only serve the churches in Honduras, but will host most of the Mission One teams coming to Honduras. Pete will be a great asset to our Faith Home Director, Christina Massey.

An Interview with Gary Baldus – Part 2

This is the last of a two-part post of an interview with Gary Baldus, pastor of New Walk Church in Zephyr Hills, Florida.

General Baptist Ministries asked Gary several questions about his walk with Christ, his calling to ministry and church planting, the personal and ministry connections with General Baptists, and the ongoing work of New Walk Church.

General Baptist Ministries (GBM):  You served as Moderator/Host for the Mission & Ministry Summit in 2013. How did this experience impact you personally? How did it impact New Walk Church?

Gary Baldus (GB):
 What an unbelievable experience!  Our church loved it.  They look back on that as one of the coolest things to be involved in that we have ever done by serving all those leaders who traveled to Florida.  It was like a New Walk Event.  We just watched our church rally to the cause. We told them, “We have all these people coming down and these are the General Baptist people who helped us get started.”  They just thought it was awesome that they could serve those people who had invested in New Walk from a distance.

Pastor Gary Baldus

GBM:  As you look to the future what do you see as the greatest challenges for our General Baptist network?

GB:  It all boils down to money and men.  Many are called and few are chosen.  God sifts through people and not all guys are capable to lead church work.  I have people tell me of their call so I give them ministry assignments.  It is not unusual that six months later they are crying because ministry is so hard and they quit.

GBM:  How did your connections with General Baptists aid in the construction of New Walk’s first permanent buildings?

GB:  Our building would not have happened if not for the General Baptist Investment Fund.  This was like when the Kingdom Expansion Campaign was involved at the outset.  This is a faith based thing for us so we had to have someone who believed in us to be the right kind of lender. We are going to spend the next 2-3 years on stabilization and taking care of things to maintain a healthy operational base but if it had not been for a group of people seeing the potential in New Walk we would probably still be in the YMCA setting up and tearing down every time we had a meeting. Continue reading