Gives large gifts to Southern Baptist missions/ministries while building new facility
By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector
GREENFIELD — Bethel Baptist Church here celebrated a momentus day on Oct. 18. The congregation began meeting in its new facility.
Church members did this with a clear conscience — they had continued their tradition of strong support for Southern Baptist missions and ministries while building the facility.
The new $3.5 million facility was built over the past couple of years, said David Worley, pastor.
During that period the only basic change in the financial situation and plan of the church was the increased total giving which was up from 2014 by 41 percent. Members were asked to help pay off the building debt so they gave designated gifts to the building fund which may have led to that increase, explained Worley.
But gifts through the Cooperative Program to Southern Baptist missions and ministries and the main three Southern Baptist offerings (as seen in bottom right box) basically remained the same in both percentages of undesignated giving and dollar amounts. The dollar amounts were down some but not much (percentage giving through the CP was down 4 percent but in dollars was down only 2.3 percent — $60,567 through the CP from $226,812 of undesignated gifts in 2015).
Worley, who has been pastor of Bethel Baptist for nine years, said the church has drawn recently about 150 people to Sunday morning activities. Church leaders are optimistic the attendance will increase with the new roomier facilities and it did on Oct. 18 — 293 gathered.
Church leaders hope that will continue. People attend the church from several counties. Greenfield has about 2,200 residents but 6,600 people live in the zip code area.
Worley said he attributes the strong giving of Bethel to Southern Baptist efforts to several factors.
Church members want people they fund to hold the doctrines they do, he said.
“We want to know that they will be teaching what our church believes,” he explained.
The Women on Mission group of the church “really keeps it (Southern Baptist missions) before our eyes and before our hearts,” said Worley. Also the church teaches their children and youth about missions in Mission Friends, Children in Action, Acteens, and AWANA.
Leaders like Phil Mitchell, director of missions, and former DOM Wayne Perkins, Weakley County Baptist Association, “have kept it (Southern Baptist missions and ministries) before us. They keep us informed,” he cited.
“A lot of churches don’t understand or know what is being done in Southern Baptist missions work so they find other ministries to support. …,” said Worley.
“The people here have believed strongly in Southern Baptist missions for years and they want to support it.”