LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BP) – Along with discipleship, Geyer Springs First Baptist Church believes its generous support of the Cooperative Program is a key part of its strategy for advancing the Gospel.
“The Cooperative Program does a lot of things,” Pastor Dave Hughey said. “Our main interest is the international missions component. Because of the Cooperative Program, we’re able to support several thousand missionaries, rather than just a few, by cooperating in our giving with other churches that also support the Cooperative Program.”
The Cooperative Program is the way Southern Baptist churches work together to support the missions and ministries of state conventions, six seminaries, the international and North American mission boards and related endeavors.
“A lot of our CP funds do things here in the state,” Hughey said. “We’re very supportive of our state convention.”
Arkansas Baptist State Convention Executive Director J.D. “Sonny” Tucker called Geyer Springs “a leader in missions giving in Arkansas.
“Arkansas Baptists are grateful …,” Tucker said, “that Geyer Springs has served as an exemplary missions-minded church and a gracious partner in the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.”
Ten percent of Geyer Springs’ undesignated offerings is allocated for the Cooperative Program. The church where about 1,600 gather in person and online for Sunday worship also gave $124,677 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions in 2020, plus $23,136 to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, and $24,253 to Arkansas’ state missions offering.
“We can’t be everywhere,” Hughey said. “One of our values is kingdom partnerships. If other organizations and churches – like the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board – share our values, doctrine and beliefs and if they have a heart for reaching people with the Gospel, we’re willing to come alongside to assist them.”
Geyer Springs helps support two church plants in the Little Rock area, as well as plants in faraway places like St. Louis, Denver and Portland. All of the plants share the values, doctrines and beliefs of the Arkansas church.
“We want to support as many church planters as we can to get the Gospel out to as many people as possible,” Hughey said.
Ten years ago, the church purchased 52 acres four miles south of the church to be used in sports ministry. Raymar Fields now hosts Upward Sports such as flag football and cheer, the Raymar Harvest Festival each fall, food trucks onsite about four times a year to draw people for unscripted family fun times and other events.
“All the ministries we do give us opportunities to be around people who need the Gospel,” Hughey said.
The church recently added a large playground area to Raymar Fields. A 4,000-square foot house on the property is being renovated into a community center, and an operations/maintenance building is being constructed. It’s all part of Geyer Springs First’s new – as of June – plan to move from an “attractional” (come to the church) model to a “community” (here for you) model.
“It’s time for us to redraw the matrix of success,” Hughey told the congregation in June. “How are we to flesh out the Great Commission as the body of Christ called Geyer Springs First Baptist Church?”
Discipleship is key, he told Baptist Press. The church’s mission statement as of June is that. “We exist to glorify God by making disciples who love God and love others.”
For years discipleship and evangelism were considered two separate things by most people, the pastor said, but Geyer Springs First combines them.
“We are making disciples who make disciples in an ongoing process,” Hughey said. “A lot of folks don’t realize you can disciple an unbeliever and lead them to Christ.
“People who don’t know the Lord want to know what’s going to happen when they die. It’s easy to continue the discipling process after they come to know the Lord. The key word is relationship.”
All the church’s activities, events and programs – which also include a 90-child preschool center, “Breaking the Chains” recovery ministry, special needs ministry, pro-life activities, post-abortion ministry and others – are designed to build relationships as well as do ministry.
“All these things expose us to people not associated with our church,” Hughey said. “The process is developing relationships, beginning to disciple them toward the gospel, and in time get them to the point they can disciple someone else.
“In June we spoke of our vision for the future. We’re a large church on the interstate, but more and more people are looking for a smaller group in their neighborhood; We want to plant smaller congregations of 100 or less. We can plant 10 or 15 small churches where people can build relationships easily and effectively.”
This article is written by Karen L. Willoughby, national correspondent at Baptist Press. It was published at baptistpress.com.