In 1984 my family and I had just answered the call to plant a church in northern Michigan. I had recently graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, but I knew absolutely nothing about starting a church or even pastoring one. I felt lost and went outside and looked up and said, “Now what, Lord?”
In the next few years, I learned of the vital need for networking to accomplish God’s task. I love being Southern Baptist because you are a part of a very large family that is committed to God’s mission in the world. Southern Baptists cooperate together to more effectively carry out the Great Commission.
Southern Baptists, through the Home Mission Board (now called North American Mission Board), provided insurance and a small salary to help us get started. The Baptist State Convention of Michigan helped by offering training for reaching our community. The local association provided fellowship, training and hands-on assistance in developing the church plant.
The associational missionary, Carrol Fowler, provided guidance and practical help to this very new minister. Carrol helped by providing a family to help us get started and a partnering church in Albany, Georgia. Carrol and I went to the church in Georgia and spoke about church planting in Michigan.
That church adopted my family and me as their missionaries. They gave us financial help, but, more importantly, they came on the field on a week-long mission trip every year for five years to work with us. Today, that church plant is still impacting its community and going on mission trips of their own to help other churches.
No doubt about it, we need each other.
A new task out West
Now, 38 years later, God has called my wife and me to a work in the Grand Canyon. While I’m no longer that young, inexperienced, new church planter, I still need God’s team to carry out the task God has called us to.
At the age of 71, uprooting my family for the ninth time in this adventuresome journey with God, we arrived in Arizona late in the evening to the parsonage provided by Southern Baptists. We were here at last.
It seems God has been uniquely equipping us for this call. Having served as a church planter, pastor, associational missionary and international missionaries, Dianne and I feel God has been preparing us for this.
Associational missionary David Cox had helped us in our relocating here, and the various pastors in Grand Canyon Baptist Association provided wood to heat our home. They stand ready to help in this awesome ministry. Waiting for us on the doorstep were some flyers, business cards, posters and signs that a friend in Hong Kong had created, designed and mailed to us.
‘Now what, Lord?’
As I go out on the South Rim, I ask God the same question from many years ago, “Now what, Lord?”
Let’s get to work, I could hear Him say. We need to network with the villagers, associational workers, local churches, Arizona Southern Baptist Mission Network, contacts we have made over the years, and reach the nations that are arriving daily at our doorstep.
Come if you can, pray for us if you will, join us if you are able. We need God’s army to catch the vision of how we will share the good news with more than 6 million people who visit the Grand Canyon every year. Thank you, Lord, for still calling, still using us in your ministry.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was written by Donn Broeker, pastor of Grand Canyon Baptist Church and Resort Ministry, and originally appeared in Portraits, a publication of Arizona Baptists.