FRANKFORT—A student ministry leader serving a five-county area who has seen more than 1,980 students accept Christ during the past decade was named the 2018 Kentucky Missionary of the Year.
Tim Bargo, executive director of First Priority Tri-County, received the award during the Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union’s Missions Celebration at Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort.
The annual award recognizes a Kentucky missionary for commitment to and effectiveness in evangelism, church planting or ministry; positive representation of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board; and demonstrating a true reflection of being an “On Mission Christian,” among other exceptional attributes.
In commending Bargo for his work with students, Teresa Parrett, Missions Mobilization consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, said, “He connects on so many levels from middle school, to high school, to college; from athletes to academics.”
First Priority Tri-County, the ministry which Bargo serves, is a local chapter of a national organization whose main goal is to encourage, equip and empower students to share their faith in Jesus on their school campuses, Parrett noted. The 10-years-old local chapter serves Knox, Laurel, Whitley, Clay and McCreary counties and currently has 27 student-led, evangelical clubs meeting weekly.
“During its decade of operation 1,981 students have accepted Christ,” Parrett highlighted. “Since August of this school year alone, the organization has given out 1,432 Bibles, witnessed 103 students accept Christ, trained 210 students to be campus missionaries, brought together 25 local churches and 1,109 students for a local youth rally, and organized 2,411 students for the ‘See You at the Pole’ event.
Bargo recently has taken the lead on efforts to create a “Day of Pray Over Students” for the state of Kentucky, Parrett noted. He also has served as a North American Mission Board chaplain with the University of the Cumberlands Football Program for 10 years and was commissioned as a MSC Missionary in June 2009.
An active member of Immanuel Baptist Church in Corbin, he is a highly sought-after speaker and trainer for students, youth pastors and other leaders at various conferences, worship services and other events.
His director of missions, Steven Jett, of South Union/Mt. Zion Baptist Association, said of Bargo, he “embodies all that for which the Kentucky Missionary of the Year Award is presented.”
In accepting the award, Bargo shared his testimony of how at age 25 he’d realized “there’s got to be more to life than stuff and what I’ve got,” and he started reading the Bible. After reading Romans 5:8, he “never got over it,” Bargo recalled.
“No matter where you go or what you do, you can’t get over the fact that Jesus Christ died for your sins,” he said. “That’s what we try to get across to our students.”
In the past five or six years, Bargo said he has been teaching students to lead others to Jesus. “I’m hearing stories of students leading people to Christ at ballgames, after practice, during lunch,” he said. “I’m not leading as many people to Jesus as I did in the beginning, but more people are being led to Jesus. That, to me, is what it’s about.”
Asserting that the Great Commission says to go tell people what Romans 5:8 says, Bargo added, “I don’t know how we’ve missed the boat for so many years. The Great Commission doesn’t say to invite people to a building or to a meeting,” but to tell them about how God demonstrated His love for us through Jesus.
Bargo concluded with three prayer requests of WMU: that churches would “keep on keeping on” in reaching children and youth with the Gospel; that First Priority’s faculty would empower student leaders to reach other students; and that church leaders would follow up in discipling students reached through the ministry.
During the WMU Missions Celebration, 13 new Kentucky missionaries were commissioned. They include:
• Forest Aalderink, of Jeffersonville, Ind., serving the Center for Christian Workforce Development in Louisville;
• Nancy Brown, of Corydon, serving the Kathy J. Strange Answer Center in Henderson;
•Joyce Decker, of Barbourville, serving Cedaridge Ministries in Williamsburg;
• Chuck and Dottie Gebhart, of Elizabethtown, serving Mission Hope for Kids in Elizabethtown;
• Richard and Amy Greene, of Salyersville, serving Koinonia Mission Center;
• Tom Grugel, of Mackville, serving Boyle County Detention Center in Danville;
• Grant and Gina Hasty, from Whitley City, serving Crossroads Community Baptist Church in Whitley City;
• Sandy Kiper, of Leitchfield, serving Grayson County Center for Women’s Ministry in Leitchfield;
• Terry McIlvoy, of Springfield, serving The Way Home Ministries in Springfield; and
• Garry McKinney, of Rochester, serving Morgantown Mission in Morgantown.