SCBaptists Look to Expand Kingdom Efforts in Southern Utah
A team of SCBaptist pastors recently embarked on a vision trip to southern Utah to learn the needs of pastors in the area and explore the possibilities of starting more churches in the area.
The team of five, including Keith Shorter and Rob Merritt from Mt Airy Baptist Church in Easley, Church Middlebrooks and Tim Lang from Chapin Baptist Church, and Tim Rice, Missions Partnership Director at the South Carolina Baptist Convention, visited St. George, the second-largest metropolitan area outside of Salt Lake City, where only five evangelical churches serve a population of 100,000.
During the trip, the team discovered that the are is a hub for outdoor recreation, home to many national and state parks, and the Fundamental LDS movement led by Warren Jeffs. They also visited Colorado City, where the FLDS movement began and learned about the work of Brody and Liz Olson, who started the first evangelical church in town, Community of Grace, which is making a huge difference. The church has become a center of activities, sports, and spiritual care in this community.
Praying and Partnering
Rice hopes that more churches will seek to partner in southern Utah to help the Kingdom of God grow, transform lives, and reach the nearby towns and communities. He encourages SCBaptists to pray for pastors/church planters in Utah, including Joe Kline of Red Hills Baptist Church, who coaches wrestling and leads FCA at the high school, and Anthony, a potential church planter they are training up to send to Enterprise, a nearby community where they want to plant a church.
Additionally, Rice invites SCBaptists to pray for Valley Christian Fellowship in Panguitch, Utah, where they are constructing a parsonage and Sunday school space with volunteer teams and searching for a suitable pastor. Rice also encourages volunteers to participate in projects this summer, such as the 4th of July outreach in Hildale and the Sun Fest Outreach in Panguitch.
Rice also asks SCBaptists to pray for Brody and Liz Olson as Community of Grace is seeking a director to lead their youth center, for elders to lead the church, and for their Wednesday night youth Bible studies.
Furthermore, Rice hopes that SCBaptists will view the area with a different perspective and purpose, recognizing the preciousness of every life to the Lord, even in hard to reach places like southern Utah. He encourages churches to partner in southern Utah so that the Kingdom of God will grow and lives will be transformed with the hope of the Gospel.