Shelly Summerfield Team

A Conversation With Shelly Summerfield

Visit with Shelly Summerfield and discover the importance of your prayer and financial support of those among us who serve overseas.

This post was originally published in the 2016 Spring issue of the GB Messenger. Don’t receive the Messenger? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the Messenger website,

SHelly SummerfieldLet’s begin with the big question: Why did you go to China?

Some people thought I was crazy for going to China but long story short—I was called and I went. I told people I wanted to experience something new—like a new culture, language, or yada yada but the real reason was I wanted to experience God in a new light—different from the typical “American Christian” way. And I did.

So, how was it?

My first year was the best year of my life. I was on a team of seven in a relatively small city. We taught together, prayed together, kept each other accountable and did life together. Students were drawn to us—they wanted to hear about Jesus.  The second year, God did a number on me. I moved to a larger city, had a smaller team, had a hard time teaching, but I got what I asked Him for—an experience that would help me see Him better. In a new way, I realized my need for Him—His love, His identity. It was hard—but I would do it all over again.

What do you miss?

What don’t I miss?! I miss the amazing food (very different from the American—Chinese “buffet” we know here.) I miss the welcoming and hospitable people—caring for me and helping me navigate life in their country.  And I miss the strategic relationships that were so obviously planned by the Father. Like with Cindy. When I met Cindy, she was closed off to the Father. One day she saw my Bible, and said she wanted to read it with me. I still see her face as she responded to the Word and to our conversation and I ask regularly that the Father will capture her heart. Cindy reminds me how God really uses us even when we don’t realize it.

Sounds like God answered your prayer about experiencing Him in a new light.

Yes, I learned so much about myself living overseas. Like, I am sinful, flawed, and redeemed all at the same time. I learned He is passionate about His name being made known among the nations. I learned that serving Him isn’t about me—it’s about Him.  About what He came to this earth to do. About what He did on the cross. About seeking Him first and keeping our eyes on Him daily. Those are lessons I’ll carry the rest of my life. Continue reading


Turnaround 20/20

A Five-Year Plan Helping Every General Baptist Church Reach Its Full Redemptive Potential

Turnaround 2020Beginning in the summer of 2016 General Baptist Ministries will begin a five-year initiative leading up to the year 2020. Turnaround 2020 intends to capture a renewed emphasis on evangelism and church growth so that every General Baptist church may reach its full redemptive potential. Because General Baptists believe in a general atonement—that Christ tasted death for all so that whosoever will may be saved—no General Baptist church reaches its full redemptive potential until everyone in its sphere of influence has heard, understood and responded to the gospel message.

Our strategy will be to produce and distribute turnaround resources for all, to present coaching opportunities to those groups who commit to in-person and/or video venue sessions, and to help mentoring for one-on-one intensive connections.

A Program and A Process

Turnaround 2020 will offer programming content readily adaptable in a variety of local church settings. At the same time Turnaround 2020 will start a process that, over time, will assist participating churches in their turnaround.

Why Turnaround?

Church growth experts continue to remind us that approximately 80% of local churches in the United States are either plateauing or declining in their attendance. A church plateaus when there is no change in the overall participation in its ministries. Plateau sometimes occurs when a group becomes closed to new members much like a private membership club that blackballs all new applicants. Plateau most often occurs when a church only reaches enough new members to replace those lost to death, drop-out or relocation.

If plateau continues for any appreciable length of time, decline becomes inevitable. A declining church counts fewer participants in the current year than were present in the prior year.

Plateau and decline are sometimes rationalized as the result of strict faithfulness to the gospel that discourages half-hearted followers. In many churches plateau or decline have become the new normal. No one seems to remember anything else!

Plateau and decline, however, most often results from the loss of connection to the community and the failure to communicate the Good News in understandable, meaningful ways.

Programming Overview

Beginning in 2016 the annual Mission & Ministry Summit will provide a platform for the distribution of Turnaround 2020 materials. Annually a planning notebook will be released at the Summit for free download or for hard copy purchase. Continue reading

Summit Keynoter Speakers

Meet Our 2016 Mission & Ministry Summit Keynote Speakers

Clint Cook – Executive Director of General Baptist Ministries

Clint Cook - Summit Keynote SpeakerBorn in 1962, Clint was called into the ministry at the age of 16 and ordained as a minister at the age of 20. Graduating from St.Louis Christian College in 1986 Clint began his first pastorate at Real Life Church in Springfield, IL in September 1985. At that time the church was known as First General Baptist Church.

In 2011, Clint was called by the General Baptist Council of Associations to act as the interim Executive Director following the resignation of Dr. James Murray. After less than a year serving as Interim, Clint was elected to fill the Executive Director position on a permanent basis.

As Executive Director, Clint has continued his ministry as Lead Pastor at Real Life Church and continued and expanded the Next Level Coaching Network among General Baptist pastors and leaders.

Phil Cooke – Co-Founder and CEO of Cooke Pictures

Phil Cooke - Summit Keynote SpeakerAn internationally known writer and speaker, Phil Cooke has actually produced media programming in nearly 50 countries around the world. During that time—through his company Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California—he’s helped some of the largest nonprofit organizations and leaders in the world use the media to tell their story in a changing, disrupted culture.

Through his best-selling book Branding Faith: Why Some Churches and Non-Profits Make a Difference and Other’s Don’t, Phil helps churches and ministry leaders understand that they have to “tell a better stories.”

Ted Cunningham – Lead Pastor of Woodland Hills Family Church

Ted Cunningham - Summit Keynote SpeakerTed Cunningham is the founding pastor of Woodland Hills Family Church in Branson, MO. He is the author of Fun Loving You, Trophy Child and Young and In Love and coauthor of four books with Dr. Gary Smalley: The Language of Sex; From Anger to Intimacy; Great Parents, Lousy Lovers and As Long as We Both Shall Live.

He is a graduate of Liberty University and Dallas Theological Seminary. Ted and his wife, Amy, have been married for 17 years and live in Branson, MO with their two children, Corynn and Carson.

Gary McIntosh – President of the Church Growth Network

Gary McIntosh - Summit Keynote SpeakerDr. Gary L. McIntosh, has over 27 years of experience in the field of church growth consultation, coaching of church leaders, and workshop presentations. As President of the McIntosh Church Growth Network, Gary has analyzed over 1,000 churches, representing some 87 denominations throughout the United States, Canada and Southeast Asia. His articles have appeared in Global Church Growth, New Results, the Win Arn Growth Report, Leadership, Church Growth America, Growing Churches, and numerous denominational publications.

Gary is currently Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, where he teaches courses in the field of Pastoral Theology.

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Turning Point pastor Steve Gill

Turning Point Update

Turning Point Church in Bonita Springs, Florida launched in the fall of 2015. We asked Church Planter Steve Gill for an update of the early months of that fresh, new work.

This post was originally published in the 2016 Spring issue of the GB Messenger. Don’t receive the Messenger? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the Messenger website,

What has been most rewarding?

Seeing new people come to Christ and come to the first church for the first time is pretty rewarding. We are even seeing people who walked away or have given up on the church walk back after being away from for months and even years.

What has been most challenging?

Someone I know once told me that in ministry, ‘all of it is hard work’. Whether you are planting a church, restarting a church or pastoring an established church, it’s all challenging. It’s hard because we are pushing against darkness and darkness always pushes back! But we all know that it’s worth it because we are pointing people to know Christ.

What kind of life change have you seen?

The life change is the most exciting part! We’ve seen people commit their lives to Christ and even 12 people go public in baptism. We’ve already seen families dedicate their kids to Christ! It’s also fun to see people serve together and begin to build relationships with one another. People are starting to talk about Turning Point not as A church in town but as THEIR church.

One church closed in Louisville because their community disappeared in an expansion of the airport authority. They entrusted Turning Point with a large gift. What’s it like to carry that legacy?

It’s a privilege and an honor! In fact, we are grateful not only to that community of believers for their investment, but for many other churches, families, and individuals who have invested their generosity in this work. To all off them, we are proud to not only be a part of a legacy but proud to be have them help us reach people far from God.

Philippine Mission Team to India

Go Beyond Borders – Mission Beyond Ourselves

By Joyce Porcadillia, President of General Baptist Bible College, The Philippines

This post was originally published in the 2016 Spring issue of the GB Messenger. Don’t receive the Messenger? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the Messenger website,

Philippine missions trip to IndiaThe General Baptist Bible College, Inc. (GBBC) over the years has evolved from a small Bible school of 18 students to a multi-level educational institution. The dream to have a training school has been fulfilled. Through dedication, commitment and hard work this institution was built. We thank our leaders who have gone before us for their leadership, foresight, careful planning, and generosity. If not for their leadership and vision in the past, GBBC wouldn’t even be here today.

Most of us were not around when GBBC started, but we all know that moving towards where GBBC is now has been challenging as well as inspiring. The current reality is that in order for GBBC to be distinct in its offerings, we need to adapt to the fast changing landscape of basic education, theological education, and ministerial training. We need to be proactive in responding to the demands and needs of our stakeholders and the different fields of missions and ministries. Therefore, we need to maximize our physical, human and financial resources and adopt new initiatives to achieve the vision of becoming a premier institution for leadership development in Christian ministries and missions in the Philippines and around the world. Continue reading


Reaching The Unreached

By Mark Powell, International Missions Director

This post was originally published in the 2016 Spring issue of the GB Messenger. Don’t receive the Messenger? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the Messenger website,

THUMB - The unreached people groupsGod has gifted General Baptists with varied and unique opportunities to preach the good news that “Jesus tasted death for every man.” Since the time of Benoni Stinson we have been faithful to the call of reaching every person with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The reality, however, is that in the world today there are still six thousand unreached people groups (Joshua Project). The call of the gospel and the command of the Great Commission, not to mention the echo of Benoni Stinson’s voice, is to “go into all the world and preach the gospel.”  From Asia to Micronesia to Central America and the Caribbean we have faithfully proclaimed the good news that Jesus has indeed tasted death for everyone. The reality, however, is that there is much more to be done and much more we can do!

The Joshua Project ( identifies 16,404 people groups in the world today. A people group is a group of people with a common identity that shares the same language and thinks in similar ways and has the same basic philosophy of life. The Grecians of Acts 7 would be an example of a people group. A people group is the largest group through which the gospel can flow “without encountering significant barriers of understanding or acceptance.” The Joshua Project explains it this way: “In many parts of the world lack of understandability serves as the main barrier and  it is appropriate to define people groups primarily by language with the possibility of sub-divisions based on dialect or cultural variations. In other parts of the world, most notably in portions of South Asia, acceptance is a greater barrier than understandability. In these regions, caste, religious tradition, location and common histories, plus language may define the boundaries of each people group.” Continue reading

Summit Kids' Track - Let's Make A Splash!

Summit Kids’ Track – Let’s Make a SPLASH!

Kids’ ministry is one of the most important programs you can have in your church. In order to keep our churches alive, we must strive to reach children. This track is designed to help you implement a thriving kids’ program in your church. Whether you are a large church or a small church, this track has been designed for everyone.

Join us as we explore the best practices of kid’s ministry; how to begin, how to expand, how to recruit volunteers, and how to lead with mission and vision. We encourage you to not miss a single session. Begin one of the most exciting adventures and Make a Splash so that you can Connect with the next generation.

Main Stage Session – Tuesday 10:10 – 11:00 am in Main Ballroom

Taking place on the main stage of the Summit, this session is a must, a non-negotiable, a connection with the next generation! We’ve scheduled a special time without any other breakouts so you can join Relevant Church and a team of their volunteers as they take you inside what a kids’ service would look like. You will experience games, live actors, music, and an illustration you will never forget! You will be inspired and learn how the key to growing your church begins with kids’ ministry. We will also have a conversation on the advantages of using KidSpring in our churches, how to implement it, and success stories from General Baptist Churches who are already using KidSpring. So make plans to be here, Make a Splash, and connect with the next generation!

Kids Ministry for Churches over 100 – Wednesday 1:30 – 3:00 pm in Ballroom B

If you want your church to grow, you must grow your Kid’s Ministry. Join our team as we take you on a journey through the phases of a child’s life and how we must create environments with this in mind. We will also explore key aspects of mission/vision, staff structure, service planning, recruiting volunteers, and plans for growth. You will also learn how ONE simple decision exploded our kids’ programs. Be a champion for kids and be here! Continue reading