One of the greatest ways God has shown his faithfulness to us, as well as his commitment to our growth as leaders has been the partnerships and connections we have in our work with the Baptist Missionary Association of America (BMAA). Here are a few of the life-changing and ministry-shaping partnerships we have been part of that have led us to where we are today.
The first partnership that shaped our heart and vision takes us back to four years ago when Antioch Baptist Church reached out to a young kid with no vocational experience and offered me a full-time position working with high school students. I moved to Conway from Oklahoma City in 2008 and from day one, rooted myself into the life of Antioch. Just as soon as I made my decision about Central Baptist College being my place of education, I resolved that Antioch would be my church. I served there for several years, built life-long relationships, and experienced firsthand many of the exciting accomplishments this church has made over the last near decade. Antioch will always be a home to me.
It was in January of 2016 that my wife Lynzie and I committed ourselves to intentional prayer about something God had laid on our hearts when we began dating. Since those days, we knew that our ministry would one day have us directly involved with planting a church. We even knew where that would be: Oklahoma City. We also discovered that God has his own timing for things. So it wasn’t until 2016 that we really committed ourselves to the pursuit.
We then began having conversations that were intentional. These conversations led me to reach out to Brandon Cox, lead pastor of Grace Hills Church. The nature of my conversations with him revolved around collecting recommendations for resources for young guys like me who were interested in planting churches, but he completely ignored my questions. However, he delivered in a way I never expected: Brandon invited me to join him on an upcoming trip that several of his favorite authors would be attending as well, and he offered to introduce me to them. In the end, he did much more than answer my questions; he offered a partnership, one that would begin as a trip to sunny Florida and place me where I am today.
That partnership is turning out to be a life-changing and ministry-shaping partnership. I currently serve at Grace Hills Church as pastor and church planting resident where I am able to lead in a focused time of learning as well as spend time and energy planning and looking forward to where I know God is sending us. Grace Hills is behind us working as a tool God is using to shape where he wants us to go. Grace Hills sees their mission going far beyond the church to a position God has placed them that furthers God’s kingdom. Grace Hills is instilling into me, as well as carrying out the vision of the leaders of the BMAA, that churches plant churches. The church is directly involved with financially supporting this vision as well as developing me as a pastor and leader through the assessment process, including post-assessment development based on those assessment results. They are committing a great amount of time and energy to investing in younger leaders, even while they are a young church themselves.
Grace Hills is also aware of the role they play in sending me. They recognize that other leaders will also invest in me once I part with them. They have gone above and beyond to help me navigate the current and future partnership process with the BMA of Oklahoma. The leaders of the BMA of Oklahoma are praying fervently for more leaders to pastor existing churches and plant churches in Oklahoma. This partnership I have with the BMA of Oklahoma is already benefiting us in big ways. From their financial support to their investment in me as a leader of my home and ministry, they get it! I am praying and hopeful for more partnerships like these that God will use to equip more leaders to go and make disciples.