ENOCH, Utah (BP)–A lot of change can happen in 10 years — spiritual change, vision change, financial change.
That’s what happened at Red Hills Southern Baptist Church in Enoch, a small town in Utah’s southwestern corner.
What was perhaps a typical church start in 1993 that was focused on its needs has evolved into a missions-focused, church-planting, community-serving leader in its Baptist association. Nowhere is that more evident than in its support of the Cooperative Program.
“The Cooperative Program is the linchpin for what we’re doing here at Red Hills,” said pastor Scott Maxwell. “This sense of cooperating with other Southern Baptists around the world for the purpose of seeing people come to Christ is both emboldening and strengthening.
“CP Missions gives us courage to launch new churches, new ministries, new activities, and it helps undergird the work God has for us,” Maxwell explained. “There’s just no option as far as I’m concerned about being anything other than Southern Baptist because of the incredible way the Cooperative Program pools the resources of small churches like ours with other churches to do work in evangelism that we couldn’t imagine doing otherwise.”
When Maxwell was called in 1998 as pastor of Red Hills, the congregation for the most part consisted of people without a Southern Baptist background. They didn’t understand the blessing and stewardship of the Cooperative Program, he said.
“I taught them that the benevolence organizations they were giving to was not missions because they were secular in nature,” the pastor said. “If we have any other purpose than seeing people come to Christ, we’re doing the wrong thing.”
Maxwell led the congregation to funnel that giving through the Cooperative Program.
“Through the Cooperative Program, no matter how small the church, missions can still be a priority,” Maxwell said. “We also believe that even though giving to the Cooperative Program needs to be our tithe, our church needs to have direct missions involvement as well.”
Red Hills, where about 80 people attend Sunday morning worship, is sponsoring a church start in Duck Creek, Utah, and a college church at Southern Utah University.
Red Hills members are involved in the local emergency response system and the Fishes and Loaves soup kitchen led by First Baptist Church of Cedar City, Utah. Red Hills helps fund that ministry, which is five days a week during the winter, and on Wednesdays during the summer.
The church sent a member on a two-week construction mission trip to Russia this summer with an extra $1,000 — which met a financial need the Russian church hadn’t anticipated in its building project.
“We are committed to both funding and personally involving our church family in missions opportunities,” Maxwell said. “We are in the process of putting together a yearly trip to Mexico to build homes for the homeless. There are several mission and ministry projects in the planning stages, including short-term mission trips.”
That hands-on education is extremely important in developing the congregation’s heart for missions, but so is classroom education, the pastor said. Children in Action and Mission Friends are important components of the church’s ministry to children.
Youth learn missions hands-on involvement in community events and through a partnership with First Baptist Church in Duncan, Okla.
The women of the church have gone through almost all the Beth Moore Bible studies produced by LifeWay Christian Resources, and 15 went earlier this year to Las Vegas to learn directly from Moore.
“We’ve got a very strong WMU,” Maxwell said. “It helps that our associational WMU director is in our church, Carolyn Sinderson. She’s also the church WMU director.”
Jim Ballard, director of missions for Color Country Baptist Association in southwestern Utah, also is a member at Red Hills.
Not only does the church give to Cooperative Program (CP) Missions, Red Hills — like most Southern Baptist churches in the western United States — also is on the receiving end of CP Missions. In December 2001 they completed construction of a three-story worship and ministry center designed by the pastor and built almost entirely by volunteer missions workers.
Bill and Jane Maxwell — the pastor’s parents — are fulltime RVers and Mission Service Corps volunteers from Immanuel Baptist in Ridgecrest, Calif., who for six years have gone from one church construction job to another. They served as construction supervisors of Red Hills’ 7,800-square-foot project.
“Our building was designed to house mission groups and several have stayed here already,” Maxwell said.
One group from Kentucky last year worked in Vacation Bible School. This year they hosted a festival in the park on July 5, with clowns, face painting, moonwalk and a concert. The Proclaimers, a group from Missouri, is slated to help in VBS and two area concerts.
“That’s something else that’s so great about the Cooperative Program,” Maxwell said. “It’s all of us working together, helping and being helped, sharing the joys and the blessings, and together reaching out around the world to tell people that God loves them and sent His Son, Jesus, to show His love.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: REFLECTING THE SAVIOR, PASTOR’S FAMILY, KENTUCKY-UTAH LINK and UPWARD IN UTAH.