This year marked the fourth consecutive year that MTSBC has hosted a Summer Vision Tour to share ministry opportunities in Montana with potential planters and sponsoring churches. This year, Michael Liner and William Johnson hosted guests from Alabama, Mississippi, and New Mexico. In two days, the group covered 572 miles, stopping along the way to gather stories about communities, churches, church plants, and ministry needs.
Two pastors from Bay Minette, Alabama, and a pastor and his wife from Noxapater, Mississippi, participated in the tour. These leaders have been praying about how they can partner with church plants or other ministry areas in Montana. Pastor Mike Fondren of Noxapater Baptist Church first connected with MTSBC at the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2017. Pastor Mike stopped by the MTSBC booth and received some information about Montana ministry opportunities during that meeting. Upon returning to Mississippi, he placed the MTSBC refrigerator magnet on his office whiteboard as a constant reminder to pray for Montana. After other follow up from MTSBC staff, Mike registered for the vision tour and made the trip to Montana.
There was also a potential church planter on the tour who currently lives in New Mexico. After hearing many of the needs for church plants, he is returning home to pray about the possibility of planting in Montana and visiting with other friends who could potentially be part of a planting team.
The tour started and ended in the Bozeman area. The group toured Bozeman, Butte, Helena, and Great Falls, and several stops in between. Along the way, planters and pastors met tour participants and shared their individual stories about their families, their call, and their ministries. The tour group got to hear both highlights and challenges of church planting in Montana. The 2018 Summer Vision Tour concluded with a group dinner with MTSBC Executive Director, Dr. Barrett Duke. He was able to present other opportunities to share about what God is doing among Montana Southern Baptists and the need to reach the state with the gospel.
The purpose of the tour is to expose people who are interested in ministry opportunities in Montana to a glimpse of the vastness of the state, the cultural diversity between communities, and the need for a gospel presence to impact each town or city. In the past, we have had participants move to Montana and start churches after attending the Vision Tour.
We have already received correspondence on how helpful the tour was in affirming what participants have believed is their next step in following God’s call for their lives. Please pray for, “the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2)