“Gotcha Day” Celebration

When parents adopt a child, they many times will celebrate “Gotcha Day” to recognize and remember the day the child joined their family.  Recently CoffeeTalk Ministries and Events, a women’s ministry of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Lexington, had a “Gotcha Day” Celebration, or actually a “Gotcha Weekend” Celebration, for their adoptive KY-MSC Missionary Jill Boddy. 

Jill serves with HR Ministries in Princeton, a ministry of reconciliation that focuses on redemption, reconnection, and reentry.  HR mentors and ministers at several Kentucky Job Corps campuses, corrections facilities throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama, and through a community-based thrift store, Joseph’s Storage Bin.  Jill is involved in all aspects of the ministry and is very active in showing and sharing the love of Jesus Christ to those she serves. 

Serving in ministry is so fulfilling for those God has called, however there are times the missionary gets tired, may be involved in difficult situations, or just needs the support of others.  That is where Jill’s adoptive CoffeeTalk Family comes in.  They are there to pray for her, to encourage her, to assist with needs she or HR Ministry may have, and even to get her away for some rest and relaxation time.    

Recently the CoffeeTalk ladies invited Jill to Lexington for the weekend to officially welcome her into their “family.”  They provided a hotel room complete with a welcome basket filled with candy, snacks, and even included an Ale-8. 

Saturday was filled with lots of activities which began with lunch at one of the ladies’ houses and a special covenant ceremony where they pledged to pray for Jill daily, to meet needs as they can, to join her in ministry and send their encouragement and support.  They had a time of prayer for Jill and presented her with a “Gotcha Day” certificate.  The day ended with dinner, shopping, and a tour of the Lexington.  Marilyn Creighton, director of CoffeeTalk, shared that they had an opportunity to pray with their waitress, who was having a bad day and broke down in tears when they asked how they could pray for her.  The waitress was so encouraged and told us we “were the kindest people I have served all day and you have meant so much to me.”     

On Sunday Jill attended worship at Cornerstone Baptist Church where she spoke in the women’s Sunday School Class.  During the worship service Jill was introduced to the congregation, prayed for by the pastor, and told she was a missionary to Cornerstone Baptist Church as well as CoffeeTalk.  Lunch with the pastor, his family, and some of the church family concluded this special weekend.

Jill was overjoyed by the hospitality of her adoptive CoffeeTalk Family and the church.  “It means so much to know that I have ladies that have my back and are constantly lifting me and the ministry up in pray,” Jill said.  “The weekend was such a blessing.  The ladies surprised me with gifts of lotions, candles, soaps, and cards.  One lady gave me a month’s worth of sealed encouragement cards and told me whenever I felt down to open one and read it.  These have become a part of my morning devotions.” 

Thank you, Marilyn Crieghton, CoffeeTalk Ministries & Events, and Cornerstone Baptist Church for your support of a KY-MSC Missionary.

You too can be an encouragement to a KY-MSC Missionary and will be blessed as well.  For information on adopting your KY-MSC Missionary go to www.kybaptst.org/adoptmissionary

Less May Mean More

It’s interesting to note how often we use numbers to determine the success or effectiveness of our churches.  We talk about how many attend on Sunday, the number of small groups, how many were baptized or the annual budget.  If attendance is less this year than last, things must not be going well.  However, that’s not necessarily true if the number attending is fewer because they’re sending out missionaries, ministry leaders and church planters.  But how often do we describe a church by the number they’ve sent out?  

Throughout the Word of God, it’s very clear that God’s people are to go because we are sent by Him (Genesis 12:1-3, Isaiah 6:8, Matthew 28:18-20, John 20:21, Acts 1:8).  So, why not describe the success of our church by how many went on mission trips, the number of members engaged in local ministry, or how many we’ve sent as missionaries or church planters.   I think it would be exciting for this reason to greet pastors and church leaders with – “how many less did you have in worship this week?”  

We typically celebrate growing attendance in church and grieve if the numbers are less than last year.  But what if the numbers are less because we’ve sent more?  The sending of missionaries, church planters and mission teams is reason to celebrate.  Let’s see if we can begin a shift in our thinking and conversation to realize less may mean more if the church is sending people out on mission.  Our sending may mean a smaller number is gathering, but how exciting it would be!  Let’s celebrate fewer people in our small groups and worship if it’s the result of more Christ followers going out with the message of Christ. 

The focus of the church must change from how many gathered to how many were sent.  It will be hard to talk over lunch or in meetings without asking how many attended small groups or gathered for worship this week.  But by changing the conversation, we’re taking a step toward changing the score card that determines success.  

Missional Skills: Developing Healthy Exit Strategies

The landscape of Kentucky has changed!

The nations are now our neighbors. Over a quarter of a million Kentuckians do not speak English at home, and nearly 180,000 citizens of the commonwealth are foreign born. Many of these are unreached peoples who have yet to hear the gospel.

Population growth in cities like Bowling Green, Lexington, Owensboro and Louisville has outpaced the growth of the church. In fact, we now have areas all over our state, both urban and rural, with inadequate numbers of churches to engage the lost.

Our towns and communities are seeing culture shifts, as our nation continues to transition and deal with the impacts of a global pandemic. Attendance in churches continues to fluctuate, and many churches are having to learn news ways to engage their community with the gospel.

The good news is that many of our Kentucky Baptist churches are meeting these challenges head on. They are working through the problems and looking for effective ways to see the gospel advance. The Gospel to Every Home and Acts 1:8 Mission Assessment Paradigm continue to help many churches and associations, as they reengage their communities with the gospel.

Is your church already playing a role in seeing our state reached with the gospel? Maybe you are strategizing to engage an unreached people group in your community, working in a partnership to revitalize a church, or preparing to launch a team to start a new church in a pocket of lostness. If so, it is time to start thinking about an exit strategy.

In Mark chapter 1, after John the Baptist was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). He calls some of his disciples, heals many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out demons. Then, in Mark 1:35-39, Jesus arises early and goes to a desolate place to pray. And when Simon and others who were searching for Jesus found him, they said, “Everyone is Looking for you.” But Jesus said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” So, Jesus went throughout all of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons (paraphrase vs. 35-39). Although Jesus healed people everywhere he went, he understood the purpose for which he had come, and it guided his path and influenced his decisions. Even though the Lord may not have shown us every step we should take to accomplish his mission, it should not stop us from developing an exit strategy.

Advancing with the end in mind
Exit strategies have long been an important component of how missionaries engage peoples, cities and regions with the gospel. Effective exit strategies help with ministry alignment and evaluation, bring clarity in communication, establish healthy boundaries, and create a trajectory and momentum toward multiplying gospel work.

Establishing biblically grounded, well thought through exit strategies is a valuable step in preparing your church for gospel advance in Kentucky.

Developing healthy exit strategies
It is one thing to have an exit strategy. It is another thing to have one that is effective. Here are a few considerations as you begin to think about developing an exit strategy to fit your context:

1. A biblical foundation: Start with a clear understanding of the mission and characteristics of a New Testament church. Then, map out clear objectives for church autonomy. A helpful question to ask is, “What biblically needs to be in place before we exit the work?” One reason churches lose strength, momentum and eventually die is that they do not have a strong biblical foundation. A great resource to consider as you think though the ecclesiological and missiological foundation in your exit strategy is 12 Characteristics of a Healthy Church by the International Mission Board (IMB).

2. A vision for sustainability: A good exit strategy must address sustainability related to areas such as finances, leadership readiness, overall cohesiveness of a body and other practical issues. A key question to ask is, “What practically needs to be in place for this new work to be autonomous and sustainable long term?” With the high failure rate of new church plants in the U.S. (some suggest as high as 70-80%), we need to make sure we don’t exit before the new work is positioned well to stand on its own.

3. A commitment to ongoing relationship: Exiting does not mean abandoning. When the Apostle Paul exited his work, he maintained contact and relationship with local churches. As you think through your exit strategy, ask the question, “What will the ongoing relationship and support look like after we leave?” Think through what ways you will continue to relationally support and encourage the church. Clear expectations regarding the ongoing relationship will go a long way in the flourishing of a new work.

Establishing biblically grounded, well thought through exit strategies is a valuable step in preparing your church for gospel advance in Kentucky. As we begin to think more like missionaries, let’s consider how we can best craft and develop effective exit plans for the work to which God has called us.

The Mission Mobilization Team exist to serve you and your church. Click: www.kybaptist.org/missions-strategies/ to connect with our team. Email either John Barnett [email protected] or Doug Williams [email protected] to discuss next steps. We look forward to serving you.

Rise and Respond

Rise and Respond

I was reading in Acts 9 about when the Lord confronted Saul on his journey to Damascus. It is such an awesome story of a call to salvation and a call to be on mission.

In the story, the Lord confronted Saul with a bright light in a very supernatural moment. The Lord got his attention and gave Saul direct instructions. It was during that confrontation that his life was transformed, and he began proclaiming Jesus Christ, acknowledging that he is the Son of God (Acts 9:20).

Saul was called to rise and respond to the command of the Lord. And the Bible said that he did, and as we continue to read the Bible, we see how God used Saul (later changed to Paul) in some miraculous ways. In fact, Acts 19:11 says “Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul.”  In other words, he was put in a position to see some amazing things that God did through him because he answered the call to rise and respond.

But what if Saul had said “No!” First, he would have been in direct disobedience and even rebellion to the command of God. And we all know that God has ways of getting our attention and convincing us we need to obey. Remember Jonah? But secondly, he risked missing those moments of experiencing the amazing things that God did through him.

But what if Saul had said “Sure!” and then adjusted God’s plan? Again, he would have been acting in disobedience and not trusting God for the results. Saul would have hindered God’s best blessings for him.

But what if Saul had said “Yes!” and followed the Lord for now, but then later became complacent and allowed the excitement to wear off. Again, he would have been out of the will of God and miss out on countless blessings.

I think sometimes we all do the same things. Sometimes we react with an immediate “No!” In doing so, we miss experiencing moments of God’s amazing plan. We may even suffer his discipline until he gets our attention.

Sometimes we even adjust God’s plan because “we know better.” Or so we think. In doing so, we can miss God’s best for our lives.

And sometimes, and maybe more often, we are excited in the beginning but then become complacent once the newness wears off. It is in our constant serving our Lord when He shows us His best blessings.

God has ways of getting our attention to rise and respond to His call. He often gets our attention in several ways:

  • Through Suffering. When life is hard, unfair, painful, or just plain gut-wrenching, we have nowhere else to go but to the Lord. Those times opens the door for our learning, our trusting, our growing, and our preparing.
  • Through Supply. God at times gets our attention by giving us gifts, abilities, finances, resources, talents, positions and calls us to use those for His purposes.
  • Through Surprises. There are times that God gets our attention to rise and respond in unexpected ways, unexplained moments, or from unlikely people.

But I do know this, that God is calling us all to rise and respond. He has a plan for you, and He is waiting for you to say as Isaiah said in Isaiah 6:8 and Annanias said in Acts 9:10, “Here am I.”

He’s calling you to be on mission…now! Will you rise and respond?

Check out the opportunities to be on mission at www.kybaptist.org.

The Lord is waiting for you to rise and respond!

Is it really a fork?

Years ago, while following my handy-dandy, trusty GPS late one foggy night on a KY backroad, the path split.  The GPS told me to go in one direction, but my “gut” said go the other.  I followed my GPS.  After winding through the narrow road, which seemed to get narrower and foggier as I drove, the directions from my GPS eventually led me to a metal gate at the entrance of a cow field.  In newfound wisdom, I thought to myself, “This GPS is wrong.”  Lesson learned: never assume your GPS is always right. 

We have all found ourselves at the proverbial “fork in the road,” when a decision needs to be made but we have more than one option.  How do we know the will of God when facing decisions in life?  Do we simply follow our GPS?  Could it be that we flip a coin?  Or maybe we just go with our “gut” feeling. There actually is a better option.  Scripture is not silent about these “forks in the road.”    

The wisdom of King Solomon offers us guidance when facing decisions in life.  He urges, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NASB).  I am afraid that all too often we make the “will of God” out to be some mystery that He hides from us, only revealing it to us if we say or do the right things—that is, pick the correct fork in the road.   

To trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not lean on our own understanding and acknowledge Him in all our ways is another way of saying, “walk faithfully with God.”  God’s promise for a straight path—a successful, agreeable, right path, is only after we are careful to trust in Him.  God’s greatest concern in our lives is not whether we buy this car or that car, whether we move here or there, or take this job or that job.  Rather, God’s greatest concern is that we fully rely on Him, that we live our lives in submission to Him. 

God is after our lives, not simply the decisions we make with our lives.  He wants us wholly devoted to Him, and in being so, He will make our paths straight. In other words, God is more concerned about the journey along the path than He is the particular choice on the path.  Lesson learned: let’s not be as focused on the “fork in the road” as we are on His work in our lives along the road.  It’s a journey along the path more than it is a “fork in the road.”   

The Simplicity of Cross-Cultural Ministry: Ordinary Conversations Serving an Extraordinary God

Each month I look forward to receiving Alex Tenenbaum’s ministry newsletter.  These newsletters are full of stories about how he ministers to people just as he goes about his everyday life.  Alex is a quiet kind of guy but wow, is he ever impacting those in his church and community circles. 

Alex is a KY-Mission Service Corps Missionary, serving through Forest Baptist Church in Louisville as Director of Community Engagement.  His main role is to equip church members and mobilize them to make disciples in the community by finding where God is moving and create ministries to meet the practical needs of the community.  Not only is Alex equipping church members but is leading by example.

Alex has a passion for unreached people groups of the world and desires to see them come to know Christ, as well as a passion to disciple believers to go deeper in their faith.  As a result, Alex has gotten involved in a cross-culture community in Louisville and even moved into this community to intentionally minister to and reach them with the Gospel. 

You may find Alex helping a young man with his driving test, connecting residents to ESL classes, helping to sponsor a cookout in order to meet his neighbors, partnering with a nearby hospital to offer materials, classes, and training for those he serves, helping residents to get into college, and organizing Bible study and prayer groups.  He shares stories of how all these activities have opened doors to share Christ and to help others grow in their relationship with Christ. 

One interesting story Alex shared is about an evening they ordered Chinese food and it was mistakenly delivered to the wrong address.  Alex went to the other home to share about the mix-up, which led him to a thirty-minute conversation with a high school student.  Not only was this young man in school, but he was also having to work to provide for himself, his mother and niece.  He had moved to Louisville from Rwanda in 2020 and is still growing in the English language.  Alex encouraged him, shared that he could support him with his classwork, and be another friend to connect with.  “He has an interest to connect with the church, but as of yet has not,” Alex said. “There were silent moments when we hung out but, as I was about to leave, this young student said that he doesn’t know how he will thank me for visiting him that night, that it is so good to have a friend.  This reminded me,” Alex went on to say, “that we just don’t know how our simple steps of faith can really bless and impact someone else’s life.”

You can be sure this is only one of many conversations Alex has with men and women each week, and that he looks for every opportunity to show and share the love of Christ. 

Please pray for Alex and for Forest Baptist Church as they reach out into their community to “know” their neighbors and share the Gospel.

To learn more about Alex’s work, or to subscribe to his monthly newsletter, go to https://fbcnewburg.org/ministries/community-engagement.   

Consider “adopting” Alex through the KBC Adopt-a-Missionary program.  Click on www.kybaptist.org/adoptmissionary for information.

Displaced People: God’s Great Commission Strategy

Displaced People: God’s Great Commission Strategy

We live in an incredibly unique time to fulfill the great commission! Every day, millions of people are moving across the planet and communities, cities, and countries are literally changing overnight. In the midst of this migration, God is opening new pathways for the church to be on mission both locally and globally. Taking the gospel to the ends of earth is not only about being a sending church, but also a receiving church. It has always been God’s design for the gospel to spread to and through diaspora communities, or through those who have been displaced from their homeland.

Welcoming the nations locally

As God poured out His Spirit in Acts 2, the disciples began to fulfill the Great Commission by ministering among the diaspora in their midst. The apostles were preaching to, baptizing, and discipling the “devout men from every nation” who had come to Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost. These men, both Jews and proselytes, had come from the Near East, Asia Minor, North Africa, Arabia, and from the known world. Under the apostle’s leadership, they formed the church, faced persecution, boldly proclaimed Christ, helped those in need, and God added to their numbers daily.

During the pandemic, God opened the door for KBC churches to embrace the displaced people across the state. One church was able to not only love, serve, and welcome a refugee family from an unreached people group to KY, but also to lead them to the Lord. Through Zoom, the team met Ibrahim’s mother, who still lived in a refugee camp in Central Asia. After hearing her son’s testimony, Ibrahim’s mom was willing to let an IMB worker visit her home. As she heard the gospel in her heart language, she not only came to know Christ, but also opened her home to host a Bible Study for women in the camp!  

In partnership with World Hope Bible Institute, the Mobilization Team started a training center for international pastors in Louisville.  Multiple pastors from across the state are providing theological education for 11 pastors from East Africa. Also, the Lord opened the door for KBC churches to partner and plant two new Congolese churches, and now these 11 pastors shepherd 4 different congregations.

Going to the nations globally

In Acts 8, God allowed persecution to send Philip to preach the gospel in Samaria, and God used an angel to send him to lead an Ethiopian eunuch to Christ in middle of the desert. In Acts 11, scattered believers from Cyprus and Cyrene preached about Jesus to the Greeks and many believed. They called themselves Christians and formed Antioch church. Then, in Acts 13, the Holy Spirit called out members from this church of displaced people to declare God’s glory among the nations.

In June, volunteers from 3 KBC churches went on an emergency trip to West Africa, in order to help IMB workers serve displaced people in crisis. On this trip, God used the team to not only open new pathways to love and serve those in crisis, but also to share the gospel with Muslims who have never heard. After sharing the story of Jesus healing the paralytic in one of the camps, one of the Muslim men said, “No one has ever told me that about Jesus. If Jesus can forgive sins, then that would make him God, right?” Now, local pastors are leading Bible studies in the camps.

Declaring God’s glory among the nations by ministering to and through the diaspora has always been a part of God’s global plan. The question for us is simple: Are we willing to join him? Discover the new opportunities for you and your church today. Contact John Barnett email: [email protected] phone: 502-654-3385.

Are you a READY CHURCH?

WHAT IS A READY CHURCH?

Most churches and organizations fail to plan and prepare and tend to be more reactive rather than proactive to any type of crisis or disaster. Because of this, they often find themselves wondering what to do, how to do it and who to call for assistance. Very often churches have the resources and volunteers capable of the work but failed to prepare properly that when disaster strikes, they find themselves unable to respond effectively.

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief offers a strategy plan. “READY CHURCH” is a strategy and tool to aid churches to prepare, connect and respond in times of crisis or disaster. This strategy plan will give churches the ideas, tools, and direction to respond effectively and in a timely manner to assist their community when disasters happen.

READY CHURCH strategy will give the local church the tools to be equipped to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the local community.

The goal of READY CHURCH is three-fold:

  • To assist churches to PREPARE for disasters by developing a plan for preparedness.
  • To assist churches to CONNECT with the local community prior to a disaster or crisis.
  • To assist churches to RESPOND in the local community when disaster or crisis happens.

You have heard the quote, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

READY CHURCH will help your church plan for:

  • How to respond to crisis or disasters, large or small.
  • How to involve your church family with training and roles.
  • How to minister and evangelize during a crisis or disaster.
  • How to be the light of Christ beyond the crisis or disaster.

Paul challenges Titus and the church “To be ready for every good work.” Titus 3:1

Communities across the Commonwealth have the potential to experience tornadoes, floods, ice storms, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, windstorms, power outages, fires, explosions, industrial accidents, vehicle crash, train derailments, riots, public shootings, and more.

When communities experience such tragic events, our emotion and compassion kicks in, and we tend to react rather than respond. The goal of READY CHURCH is to prepare your church to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to make a lasting difference in your community.

During times of tragedy and loss, people will need compassionate people to love on them, care for them, and help them physically, emotionally, and spiritually deal with their loss. The Scripture encourages us to minister and care for the widow, orphans, strangers, broken, wounded and to the “very least of these.” This is the perfect time for the church to be the church.

We live in a dark and fallen world that needs to see and hear the light of the Gospel. Compassion ministry creates opportunities to share the Gospel and hope through Christ. You have heard it said, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Disasters and crisis open doors that have often been closed to the Gospel if the local church would compassionately respond and care for those who are hurting.

READY CHURCH enables the church to prepare for times of disaster. It is not a matter if the disaster or crisis will come to a community, but when. Churches need to be ready to respond promptly and properly.

READY CHURCH will help you identify real need and not perceived or manufactured need.

READY CHURCH will guide you through assembling your team, identifying community leaders, knowing your resources, understanding needs, and guide you through implementing your plan.

READY CHURCH will help you:

  • Develop Your Roles
  • Determine Your Resources
  • Define Your Response

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) defines preparedness as a “continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response.”

In other words, READY CHURCH is not designed to be a training for information, but rather a training for continual action.

The Missions Mobilization Team of the KBC can assist you in developing your church as a READY CHURCH. Created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ. Contact us today at 502-489-3401 or [email protected] We are here for you. 

5 Ps of Mission Partnerships

Each local church has the same mission from God regardless of the location or culture of that congregation.  In essence, all churches are called to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19-20).  While we have the creativity and wisdom to nuance how each church carries out this God-given mandate, multiplying disciples is the mission of the church.  No church can be everywhere, but every church is called to make disciples of all nations.  How is this possible?  One practical way for every church to make disciples of all nations is by partnering well with missionaries who serve among the nations. 

IMB photo

One of our IMB missionary partners helped develop what we call the 5 Ps of partnership.  In other words, how can your church partner practically with missionaries who live among the nations in order for your church to be part of discipling all nations?  While Southern Baptists are part of impacting all nations through our Cooperative Program giving, we also want to make personal connections with missionaries in order to put a “face” to Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, and, in our state, Eliza Broadus. 

Here are 5 ways to partner with missionaries for global disciple-making:

  • Prayer– This is where it all begins. No partnership should pursue any of the other four “Ps” without starting here. This is God’s work. The book of Acts describes the early church as being empowered through prayer (Acts 1:14).  Developing a prayer strategy is essential for global impact.
  • Pastoral– Often overlooked, pastoral (soul) care provides missionary longevity. The book of Acts describes how the early church provided encouragement for mission partners. (Acts 14:21-22).  Paul intentionally encouraged his partners, knowing that ministry is a road filled with adversity.
  • Project– Mission trips are what most people think of in terms of partnership.  Project partners (local churches) should listen to their mission partners (missionaries), assisting in their existing platforms and identities to help and not hinder long-term work.  As needed, churches can help missionaries accomplish much in disciple-making through mission trips, particularly as they assist them along the missionary task.
  • People group/Place– The focus here is on the people group/place itself; that is, there is an understanding workers may come and go, but a long-term commitment to supporting a planting effort among a particular people group/place can take different forms and involve different people over time.  The local church commits to that people group/place regardless of whether missionaries come or go.
  • Pioneer– Perhaps the least common among these five, Pioneer Partners take the work on for themselves, mobilizing their own teams to directly engage in the long-term planting effort.  Realizing that the need is greater than there is manpower, Pioneer Partners commit to enter a location themselves with the help of nearby missionaries. 

If the Missions Mobilization Team of the KBC can help your church intentionally develop mission partnerships by thinking through the 5 Ps, please let us know ([email protected]).  We are here to help. 

Remembering Bro. Jerrell

Last week our KY-MSC Family lost one of our longest-serving members.  Bro. Jerrell White, who had served as a KY-MSC Missionary with the Earle C. Clements Job Corps in Morganfield since September 1999, went home to be with the Lord. 

Bro. Jerrell was one of the most encouraging men I have ever met and was the “life of the party” whenever we met for our annual missionary retreats.  During the last retreat he and Mrs. Connie attended, I walked out in the hall and heard singing.  He had found a piano, recruited a pianist, gathered a group of the missionaries together, and they were singing the old hymns to the top of their lungs.  Of course, I joined in. It was so much fun. 

Nearly every time I talked with him, whether on the phone or in person, he thanked me for the leadership I gave to the missionaries and then asked to pray for me.  I recall the evening I was working in western Kentucky, and they asked me to spend the night.  Before bedtime he, Mrs. Connie, and I gathered in their living room for a time of singing, devotion, and prayer.  It was such a special time and a memory I will never forget.    

Arlene Miller, the KBC west region mobilization consultant shared, “Bro. Jerrell was an inspiration.   He could do more than everybody else put together.  When I called to get his report each year, he had been involved in more activities than all of us put together.  This inspired me to want to try harder.” 

Not only was Bro. Jerrell involved in “activities”, but you can be sure he was befriending and sharing the love of Christ with those he encountered.  Every year he reported 8-15 men and women at Job Corps that he had led to faith in Christ. For his faithful service, Bro. Jerrell was chosen as the 2005 Kentucky MSC Missionary of the Year.

Bro. Jerrell, thank you committing your life to the Lord and for sharing Him with all of us.  May we follow the example you set for us to love Him, serve Him, and share Him with others.  We loved you and gonna miss you.

Please pray for Mrs. Connie and family during the difficult days ahead.