GRANITE FALLS — Dudley Shoals Baptist Church goes with the
“tried and true.” This is true in Sunday School and in its Cooperative Program
Seeing the need to reach the families in two local trailer
parks, each a mile from the church in Granite Falls, church members took Sunday
School “on the road.”
The church built small “children’s chapels” in each trailer
park and brought Sunday School to the children. On Sundays, adult teachers lead
the Bible Study for up to 50 children before bringing them to the main church
campus for “big church.” The church has baptized 30 children through the
Using Sunday School as an outreach tool is a time-tested
strategy, pastor Ronald Winkler said. “It still works.”
Going with what works also is why Dudley Shoals Baptist
Church gives 25 percent of its undesignated receipts to missions through the
“The Cooperative Program is the lifeblood of our church,”
Winkler said of the way state conventions in the Southern Baptist Convention
work together the Acts 1:8 way — supporting local, regional, national and
international missions and ministries.
Winkler credits a strong missions education program as the
driving force behind their missions giving and their mission service. The
church has an active Woman’s Missionary Union as well as Acteens, Royal
Ambassadors (RAs) and Girls in Action (GAs) programs.
Winkler also credits the 32-year pastoral leadership of his
predecessor — Donald Ingle — for building the church’s steady commitment to
missions. Winkler stepped into the senior pastor position five years ago after
serving as the church’s associate pastor.
A decade of children’s chapel Sunday School has produced
tangible results. The parents of the children are invited to participate and
have been touched with the gospel as well, Winkler said.
A Wednesday evening Bible study also takes place at the
Crime had been a problem in the trailer parks prior to the
opening of the children’s chapels. The high rate of resident turnover and the
number of broken homes in the trailer parks made them an unstable environment.
A drop in crime after the children’s program began prompted
the local sheriff’s office to thank the church for its contribution in
stabilizing the community.
Other Dudley Shoals mission projects include the
distribution of Bibles and ministries at a women’s shelter and a local prison.
The church’s successful children’s chapels, local mission
projects, national and international mission trips have fueled its passion for
missions, Winkler said. Nearly 40 percent of the church budget is dedicated to
missions giving and missions service.
“We try always to keep missions before our people,” Winkler
said. “We are growing up a generation to be involved in missions.”
Four young men in the church are preparing for the ministry,
three of whom are enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake
Forest, where tuition is supported in part by Cooperative Program funds.
Randy Smith, who recently joined the church staff as
director of ministries, and his wife Debbie served as career International
Mission Board missionaries. Winkler said the church is anticipating Smith’s
leadership in involving more members in short-term international mission trips.
International mission service projects under consideration
by the church are designed to appeal to, and involve, a broad range of
membership, including retirees and farmers. Winkler said mission trips help
members understand the importance of giving through the Cooperative Program as
well as giving them an opportunity to see the work that Cooperative Program
“Letting people see the results of what we give is
motivating,” Winkler said.
The church’s many years of commitment to the Cooperative
Program have not always been easy.
“In spite of difficulties, we still gave to the Cooperative
Program,” Winkler said. “Supporting missions is what we are commanded to do.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Stewart is a freelance writer and
member of Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans.)
A legacy spanning generations
Grandfather Mountain forms the horizon at Mt. Zion Baptist in Hudson.
The name stirs a sense of legacy.
The century-old church’s evangelism and missions education
programs have forged a legacy generations deep. God has called from its
membership three International Mission Board missionaries and several full-time
pastors, youth and music ministers.
“We give through the Cooperative Program because of missions,”
pastor John Green said.
“It hasn’t always been easy, but we made that commitment a
long time ago.”
Mt. Zion’s total members in 2008 Annual Church Profile,
1,065; baptisms, 11; primary worship service attendance, 300; undesignated
receipts, $393,724; Cooperative Program, $82,229; CP percent, 20.9; total
missions expenditures, $124,167.
Connected to the world
Pastor Rit Varriale calls it “a beautiful picture of the
body of Christ,” noting how “God-called and God-equipped” individuals in the
church challenged and led fellow members of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Shelby,
to strengthen their commitment to reaching people through the Cooperative
Church members now see themselves as part of a larger
picture of missions. So strong is the church’s commitment to mission service
that the work of their Baptist Men’s Handy-Man Ministry was featured on a local
“The beauty of the Cooperative Program is that it connects
the body of Christ here in Elizabeth with the larger body of Christ around the
world,” Varriale said.
Elizabeth Baptist Church’s total members in 2008 Annual
Church Profile, 849; baptisms, 14; primary worship service attendance, 456;
undesignated receipts, $1,015,996; Cooperative Program, $170,256; CP percent,
16.8; total missions expenditures, $314,209.