Before Rick Sharp became the church’s pastor in October 2021, the eight adult members of Mount Nebo Baptist Church considered closing the Missouri church. Then God stepped in.
“We’re not to be amazed when God works, but I am amazed. These eight people had struggled for years to keep it alive when we got here,” Sharp said.
Those eight now number more than 60.
Sharp has implemented children’s church that is drawing between 12 and 20 young ones to the church.
“To see the joy on the faces of the older people is all the payment a guy would need. We recently added four new Sunday school classes (to the one adult class) in one Sunday and may need to add another. God has his hand on this,” Sharp said.
Furthermore, a second deacon has been added, and they may add another soon.
“For the most part, the new people coming to church weren’t involved with other churches. I don’t want to build a church by taking cars from one church parking lot to another.”
He and his wife, Tracie, believed they took the church to move into the community and become involved with it, going to games and talking to people on the street. Some of the new people came from where Tracie has a job and where Rick got a haircut. Those who are attending are now inviting other people. Young people are inviting friends for church events.
“God is doing what only God can do. It takes an army, not just the commander to win spiritual battles. We want to plant seeds of caring early in the young people. God is using the kids too,” he said.
Ready for baptisms with ’18-wheel tanker’
Sharp has led the church to embrace moving forward and not looking back, and hopes to reach some “untouchables, the ones nobody wants.”
Mount Nebo hasn’t had a baptism for years, and there was some concern what to do when it is needed, because the church is supplied by well water. Leaving the pump too long brings some mud. Sharp is reassuring people there will be a way to supply the needed water and noted he also works for a farmer that has an 18-wheeler tanker.
Sharp credits three secrets to the growth of the church:
“First, there is the willingness of the older people to let me take the lead and recognize the changes will be good. … Second, God told me a while back not to act like I don’t have problems or that I’m more spiritual. Third, the folks realize that being friendly means not just to those already here, but to those new people, whom they treat as gold when they get here.”
Humbled and ‘flabbergasted’
Without Sharp’s prodding, the church — at 70% capacity — is already discussing a possible addition.
“It’s a humbling situation. I’m just flabbergasted. God has his hand on this. I don’t want to get in God’s way. We can change the community, then we can change the state, then change the country and reach the world,” Sharp said.