By John Shaull and Ed Gregory, Church /Pastor Support Staff
The Church/Pastor Support Staff has been given the opportunity to work with the existing Baptist Convention of Iowa pastors and churches both individually and collectively. It is the purpose of this Staff to offer opportunities for encouragement and fellowship, and to be a resource for these congregations in several areas. As our BCI website indicates we serve in the following areas:
- Association Facilitation (fellowship and encouragement groups for pastors)
- Pastoral Support and Encouragement
- Church Staff, Interim, and Pulpit Supply Needs ( Pastor Search and Resume Services are provided on the Website as well)
- Church Evangelism Project Funds
With the vastness of the territory and diversity of the congregations John Shaull works the Western half of the State and Ed Gregory the Eastern half. They share in this work with Executive Director, Tim Lubinus and Discipleship Team Leader Chris McRae who work with numerous churches located throughout the State.
John Shaull reports that thirty six churches are a part of my territory in Metro and Western Iowa. At the present time, only one of those churches is without a pastor. Thirteen of these churches have bi-vocational pastors. Our three newest pastors are Noel Gandy and his wife Jill, in Shenandoah (a restart), Bruce and Debby Walters in Van Meter and Charles and Kristen Cuffman are now pastor and wife at Quimby. Mark Scott has become the lead pastor at Hosanna: Live, Love and Laugh Church (formerly Living Hope Community Church) in Southeast Des Moines. Our church/pastor support staff, as well as Chris McRae continue to keep in contact with our pastors for encouragement and consult on a regular basis. As always, we are grateful for our pastors and their families and ask all of our BCI family to remember them in prayer as they serve our Lord in their respective communities.
Ed Gregory, states that in the Eastern part of the state there are nearly sixty congregations including some of our oldest and some of our youngest churches each with their unique blessings and challenges. Some are dealing with “growing pains” and others with the struggle of how to regroup so as to insure a healthy future. A good portion of this year has been spent engaging the Pastors and Churches individually for support and encouragement and attempting to help the pastor Association groups get organized and up and running. We have enlisted team leadership in some of the regions for the development of these groups. In South Central Pastors Paul Miller and Jeremy Skinner are taking the lead. In Southeast Iowa Pastors Ken Barlow and Kendall Adams have accepted the challenge. In the Eastern Iowa (centered in the Quad Cities area) Pastors Woodie Ladnier and Cory Gonyo have begun to organize a group.
We also have had the privilege of joining Wilton Baptist Church and Muscatine Baptist Chapel in welcoming new pastors Denny Fowler and Chris Manley Beasley respectively. We also celebrated with the First Baptist Church in Dunkerton as they marked their 150th Anniversary and simultaneously began their search process to find their next pastor.
On a sad note we walked with the Central Baptist Church in Fairfield as they made the difficult choice to close the work there after many years of faithful service.
Jointly, it is the privilege of the Church/Pastor Support Staff to provide resources and consultation for Churches as they search for pastors and for churches and pastors as they seek to fulfill their “Great Commission” in challenging times. What a wonderful time to be part of what God is doing in and through the churches and leaders He has planted, and is planting, in the rich “soil”of Iowa!