I had the enjoyable experience on Friday and Saturday of traveling to St. Louis to participate in ChurchNet's annual meeting, held at Fee Fee Baptist Church. Fee Fee has the distinction of being the oldest Protestant church west of the Mississippi River, having originally been founded in 1807. We didn't have huge crowds present but the sessions were all great, beginning with the missions banquet on Friday evening. Three members of a team from Parkade Baptist Church in Columbia, MO and my colleague, Verlyn Bergen, shared about their recent experiences of traveling to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala to conduct dental clinics and a variety of other outreach efforts with two different congregations. They also had a chance to visit the Tabitha Ministry in Guatemala City.
Later that evening we were blessed with some great music by the Missouri Baptist University Chorale and a bell choir from MBU as well. John Upton, president of the Baptist World Alliance, brought an outstanding message on the theme of this year's gathering: "Share Hope: The Journey Continues."
Saturday morning we attended to some brief business before moving to a time of breakout sessions. I had the privilege of facilitating a couple of sessions on Cowboy Churches. Those leading the session were Tommy Goode, pastor of the I-70 Cowboy Church in Sweet Springs, MO and Steve Reed, a friend who has been engaged in cowboy church ministry for a number of years in Guatemala and more recently in the adjoining countries of Honduras and El Salvador as well. When Steve isn't leading teams to Central America, he's engaged in planting churches in the Kansas City metro area. He also leads a ministry in the jungle areas of Guatemala among the Kekchi. He jokes that he's still playing cowboys and Indians. Both Tommy and Steve did a great job of sharing stories and strategies about their ministries among cowboys.
It was great to get to fellowship with many friends engaged in ministry across Missouri this past weekend.