Manchester Baptist Church has an Eye on Missions

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God directed my wife Kathy and I to Manchester Baptist Church a little over seven years ago. We were in a season of prayer, searching for a local Bible-teaching church. God clearly opened the door for us to start attending Manchester Baptist Church, just a short distance from our home. We were first drawn by the Bible messages delivered by Pastor David Scafide that were posted online. Once we began attending, the friendliness of the people sealed our decision to keep attending.

Tim Carey of The Garden Church, Baltimore, shares the message at the MBC “Eye on Missions” weekend.(Photo courtesy of Manchester Baptist Church)

Our first real involvement came in a “Strat-Op” meeting. Several members met for two days searching God’s will and assessing where we were as a local body of Christ and where He was leading us to best glorify Him.

We identified some strengths and weaknesses and began putting together a plan to improve on our strengths and develop the weaknesses into opportunities. One area we saw as a need for improvement was a closer connection to missions. The only international and national missions focus was a brief Missions Moment during our morning service. This did keep missions in front of the congregation, but there was a lack of personal connection and ownership. Our prayer was for God to put a burning desire in all of us to support missionaries, not only financially, but with faithful prayers and connection to their ministries.

We began to focus on prayer during our leadership meetings for God’s direction, and then we began praying God’s word back to Him with a desire to really listen. This opened our eyes to more mission and ministry opportunities, but as one our deacons, Ron McGee stated, “Once we began to focus on God and seeking Him, He opened the doors. We didn’t need a program or a strategy map, just a willing heart.”

God brought us in contact with the Griffith family, who had surrendered to God’s call to Poland to work with ABWE. The Griffth’s visited our church and God graciously used us through a love offering to help with their move to Poland. We took them on with monthly support through our regular budget. Our congregation adopted the Griffith’s enthusiastically, Micah, Emily, Silas, Eden, Olive, and Amos.

Nick Toothman, Team Poland, sharing God’s Word with the Chuch Plant in Tcew. (Photo courtesy of Manchester Baptist Church)

We learned that the Griffith’s were a part of a team of missionaries known as Team Poland and that another couple would be joining them in Poland. We immediately knew that God was leading us to expand our mission’s budget to include Nick and Jill Toothman and the church voted unanimously to do this, plus our members kept on giving towards Team Poland’s Special Ministry Projects over and above our budget. The Griffith’s and Toothman’s are both in Poland actively working with Polish nationals and Ukrainian refugees. Both families are involved in a church plant and several other outreach ministries with Team Leader Ron Davis and Maksym, a Ukrainian national pastor.

Martin Chamelin, MBC Deacon, commented, “It is simply amazing how God works when we listen. Several years ago, a donation was made to Manchester Baptist Church to provide for a ministry initiative behind the Iron Curtain. While that original ministry never happened, it is by God’s wonderful grace that years later, God is using us to support missions in Poland, taking the gospel to folks who once were behind the Iron Curtain.”

To help us learn more about missions and ministry outreach opportunities. We put together an evening fellowship in March of 2023 with the theme of “Eye on Missions.” This was not a full missions conference but a focus on doors of ministry. Members enjoyed a dinner with each other, exhibitors, and presenters. Groups represented that evening included local organizations, One Hope Church Planting Mission, Mid-Maryland Baptist Association, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, and ABWE. These organizations gave our members the opportunity to view missions on all levels, local, national, and international.

Manchester Baptist Church supports IMB Missionary Judy Armocost, shown sharing ith a couple. (Photo courtesy of Manchester Baptist Church)

Our second Missions Fellowship, “Share the Gospel,” is set for March 16, 2024. God has blessed us with several additional open doors of ministry since we began to focus more on ministry and missions, such as being invited back into a local nursing home for monthly services, renewing our contact with Ben and Judy Armacost, missionaries from our local area who are supported through the International Mission Board (IMB), a new partnership with New Hope Ministries of Hanover, PA gave us the opportunity to help provide Thanksgiving dinners serving forty-four families, and at Christmas, our members donated several items of warm clothing to the Cold Weather Shelter in Westminster, MD.

Jesus said in John 10:9, “I am the door.” We have learned our responsibility is to obey and enter His open doors.

John Butler, freelance writer and deacon, Manchester Baptist Church, Manchester, MD