HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (BP) – Planting churches and giving to the Cooperative Program are two sides of the same coin, pastor Ron Mitchell said.
By Karen L. Willoughby
HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (BP) – Planting churches and
giving to the Cooperative Program are two sides of the same coin,
pastor Ron Mitchell said.
“We’ve become focused on planting churches, but
we’ve done this with a firm commitment that we not reduce our CP
giving,” Mitchell said of First Baptist Church of Huber Heights’
support for Southern Baptists’ worldwide missions and ministry. “And
now we’re in a building program that’s costly for us but we’re also not
going to reduce our missions giving because of it.
“We go on mission trips,” he said. “We’ve gone to
Brazil, Uganda, Russia, the United Kingdom and Romania since I’ve been
pastor here, but the only way to fulfill the Great Commission – to go
into all the world – is through the Cooperative Program.
“We’re partnering together with other Southern
Baptists and extending our mission throughout the world with CP
Missions, and we can do that without taking special offerings,”
Mitchell said. “When we bring our tithes and offerings every Sunday,
that makes us part of a worldwide missions thrust.”
In addition to helping plant more than 20 churches
in the last 11 years, and despite building a second campus, First,
Huber Heights gives 13 percent of its undesignated offerings through
the Cooperative Program Missions, plus another 4 percent to its
As methodical as he is visionary, in the first six
months of his pastorate Mitchell led members of First, Huber Heights
through a long-range planning process, which helped the church to
realize “we were at the point of burnout and drop-out” and to regain a
focus for ministry and missions.
First, Huber Heights celebrates its 49th anniversary
this year. Its current era of church planting efforts began in earnest
in 1995; two years later, Mitchell was named president of the State
Convention of Baptists in Ohio.
“For three years, I challenged the congregations in
Ohio to have 2,020 churches by 2020,” Mitchell said. “We actually refer
to it as 20-20 Vision. … We had probably 450 churches in Ohio at that
time. I think it’s over 700 we have right now.
First Huber Heights also carries out the Great
Commission locally with a variety of activities and events designed not
only to minister to people in the community but to engage them in
About 120 members are involved in the G.R.O.W.
program of evangelism – “God Rewarding Our Work.” A product of Southern
Baptists’ LifeWay Christian Resources, G.R.O.W. involves a four-week
training period and a 15-hour-a-year commitment to connect with
members, visitors and people new in the community. In any given week,
about 25 members participate.
“We don’t think of ourselves as ‘soul-winners’;
we’re God’s witnesses,” Mitchell said. “The spirit will draw them to
Christ. God does the saving. … Anyone who shares his faith is not a
failure because that’s all God calls us to do. Knowing this takes off
all the pressure. We succeed just by sharing.”