director links small churches for big projects
By Ken Walker
MADISONVILLE, Ky.–Even the smallest of
churches can make a huge difference by working with other congregations
to do missions, according to Bob Morrison.
Morrison is director of missions for Little Bethel Baptist Association,
where a third of the 49 churches have fewer than 100 people in Sunday
School each week. Most others have fewer than 200.
But together the churches have seen more than 5,000 professions
of faith in the past decade through overseas missions.
Working through the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s partnership
missions program, Madisonville-area Baptists have helped build churches
in Tobago, a church and seminary in Russia and a school in Tanzania.
“We’ve seen a marked increase in missions giving,”
Morrison added. “This has made people bolder to share their
faith. People have answered the call to prayer, and young people
have surrendered their lives to missions. We’ve seen all of
The association’s trips put smaller churches on equal footing
with larger congregations, he said. For its most recent mission
trip to Tobago, 27 people from nine churches participated.
“Small churches tend to stand back and be reluctant to get
involved,” Morrison said. “But this way, they can do
as much as a big church. Small churches with limited resources have
found a productive venue.”
Even with the association’s success, Morrison said he still
encounters objections to missions, primarily those who say, “we
ought to take care of things at home first,” or who question
the expense of overseas travel.
But he said he usually can explain the reasons for going on mission,
and how those who go tend to be more involved when they return home.
Morrison also believes in association trips because it helps define
the character of an association and draws churches closer together.
In many associations, churches are linked by name only, he added.
Missions also helps direct a church’s vision outwardly, he
“One of the positive aspects of partnership missions is it
helps them get a vision for missions,” Morrison said. “We
take people overseas, and it helps them to be comfortable sharing
Second Baptist Church of Madisonville is one of the congregations
that has participated in Little Bethel’s mission trips.
Over the past four years, 16 members have been on trips to Trinidad
and Tobago. Ten teens traveled to Raleigh, N.C., last summer to
participate in the Southern Baptist Convention’s World Changers
housing renovation program.
Pastor Roy Finley said the church volunteers are invited to report
on their activities when they return.
“When people come back and share reports about what they’ve
done, they stir the congregation to be involved in something like
that,” said Finley, who has been at the church since 1996.
“It keeps people up to date and aware of what’s going
on. That really makes our people feel like they’re part of
Second Baptist, which averages just over 100 people in Sunday School,
helps members overcome financial barriers by establishing a mission
The fund currently contains $10,000, the maximum level set for the
revolving fund. It is replenished by budget contributions and other
donations after members go on mission projects.
The net effect of this effort has been an increase in giving and
more participation in missions, Finley said.
“The church was always missions-minded, but this is more consistent,”
Finley said. “Now it’s a regular, ongoing thing. We’re
already looking at going to Tobago next year.”
Reprinted with permission from the Western