Monday, March 30, 2015

New England - A Place Where Missions Happens

“Daddy, does Vermont have grass?” That was the question my five year old daughter asked after we have been living in Vermont for a few months. We had just endured their worst winter in 20 years and had only seen snow covered ground the entire time. I assured her that Vermont did indeed have grass, and she was excited a few days later when a few blades of frozen grass finally poked through the snow.

That first winter the temperature outside was cold, really cold. But what was harder to adjust to was the coldness we found toward the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Almost everyone we met told us they were not religious and it did not seem to bother them. We realized quickly that this task of winning New England to Christ was going to take a lot more work than what my wife and I could do in our own. Having been a youth pastor in Anderson, SC before moving to New England as a missionary, most of my ministerial friends were other youth pastors. I got on the phone and began to call them and ask them to bring their youth groups to help us.

Concord Baptist Church in Anderson, SC, was one of the first to respond. They came to Vermont numerous times to help us in our mission work and now they are coming to Connecticut to help us there. Over the years they have done many different types of ministry, but most recently they sent us what we affectionately call the “Grandmother’s Brigade.” It was bus full of mostly senior adult ladies. They stayed with us nearly a week and did several different types of ministry, but what will always stick out in my mind was their ministry on a secular college campus. They made dozens of homemade cookies, set up a booth near the student activity center and gave out the cookies, along with invitations to church and DVDs with a Gospel movie on it. Who can say no to a grandmother offering a homemade cookie! They connected to more students in three hours than I had been able to in the previous three weeks. We already have them booked to come back this fall and we hope to put them on two different campuses sharing Jesus with students through cookies and Christian DVDs.

Then there was Barker’s Creek Baptist Church in Honea Path, SC. It was a rural church with a heart for reaching the world. They came again and again to paint church buildings, renovate space to create Sunday School rooms and hold Vacation Bible Schools in tiny towns around New England. I remember one old church building they were painting. The town was so rural they had not been able to find anyone with one of those lift cranes to reach the high places. So a group of high school students that had taken a repelling class at summer camp repelled out of the steeple painting as they went. The highest part of the back of the church was not assessable from inside the church and we built some scaffolding but ran out of material and it only went part way up. So we had to put a 20 foot tall ladder against the building on top of the scaffolding. It was a pretty precarious situation and the pastor, Randy Creamer, refused to let anyone go up and paint that part of the building, he said he would paint that part himself so that if anyone fell and got hurt, it would be him. As he scooted up the ladder with a can of paint and a brush, a dear older saint grabbed a folding chair out of the church and sat it down near the bottom of the scaffolding. Not quite sure what she was up to, I asked her why. She said “That’s my pastor up there and he’s too valuable to the Kingdom for us to loose, so I’m going to sit right her at the bottom of this rickety scaffolding and pray for God to protect him while he paints.” And that is what she did for the next three hours. Randy finished painting and made it safely down the ladder back to the ground and the dear sweet saint folded up her chair and went back inside simply saying, “My work here is done.” Whether painting, or praying, we could always count on Barker’s Creek Baptist Church to complete the task and get the job done!

Though each year is different, in some years we have hosted as many as 100 mission teams who have come to New England to help us complete the task of sharing Jesus with as many as possible. After more than 20 years of missionary service, the number of total teams we hosted in some way becomes too numerous to keep track of, but there have been a lot of mission teams. Each team had some specific project or task they were assigned, but their real purpose was to share the Gospel and sometimes they got to do it in ways that was not part of their official task. Whether prayer walking, painting a building, expanding Sunday School rooms, holding a Vacation Bible School or a backyard Bible club or a sports camp, the goal was always to find a way to share Jesus and complete the task of evangelism. Though much has been done, there is still more to do. If your church is looking for a mission project? Consider New England!!!

Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England since 1993. He is the author of numerous books including Breaking Free from the Spirit of Offense. Find all of his resources at:

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