Mayfield—Every year, First Baptist Church of Mayfield celebrates Founders Day. As part of the celebration, they collect an offering, which is usually used towards building renovation. But this year, they felt led to give away all their $118,000 offering to church planters who are serving in two largely unreached locations in the United States.
“So many members of our church have seen firsthand the brokenness and lostness of the Native American reservation in Arizona and Staten Island in New York,” said Wes Fowler, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Mayfield, “It’s hard to believe, but there are places in the United States where virtually nobody is reached.”
Some of the offering will go to help Chris Turpin, the missionary leading the effort to reach the lost in Staten Island, N.Y. Most will be donated to the mission efforts in Arizona among a village of unreached Native Americans. The Mayfield congregation believes God has specifically placed these mission fields within their scope and in the hearts of their church.
“The congregation has always given generously, whether there was a specific offering we were trying to raise or if was a regular Sunday,” added Fowler. “In this case, there was even more giving. It’s such a blessing to have a church that has that kind of heart for the Lord.”
“When (Fowler) announced the total amount given to the offering, he said if the giving didn’t cause a difference in something in their lives, then it probably wasn’t sacrificial,” said Todd Gray, church consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention who preached at the church that Sunday, “That really says a lot about him and his church.”
The goal for Turpin and his ministry in Staten Island is to plant 50 churches in the next 25 years. Church planters recognize that it is contributions from churches like First Baptist and other outside sources that help make their ministry possible.
“Gospel focus and selflessness are key attributes to a healthy church,” concluded Fowler. “(The congregation) saw a need for people to come to know the Lord and they responded.”
Gray added, “The story needs telling. The fact that there was a record offering for church planting says something about the congregation. Their priorities are where they need to be.” (WR)