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Rural church’s student ministry called ‘a God thing’

LICKING, Mo. (BP) — The numbers don’t add up, humanly speaking. Rock Springs Baptist Church averages 120 in Sunday services. Yet they run about 180 in student ministry on Wednesdays.

“It’s a God thing. It has nothing to do with me,” pastor John Jordan said. “I’m just blessed to come in at the onset of this.”

Indeed, the student ministry began two years before Jordan arrived at Rock Springs in Licking, Mo., nearly five years ago.

“There was the regular prayer and Bible study, and a few kids came,” Jordan recounted. “They decided to put their effort into student ministry based on Psalms 78:4, which says, ‘We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders (NLT).’ They started pouring into Wednesday nights and started with 30-40 students.

“The Lord impressed on them to borrow for an addition,” the pastor continued. “They didn’t want to borrow but they stepped out in faith after praying. We’re a rural country church. To hear the folks tell the story is amazing. You hear their passion.”

Wednesday nights during the school year, they feed the kids and share Bible stories. There is no entertainment. The Lord continues to bring the students in. There are now eight age- and gender-separated classes led by teachers of the same gender. Seven students came to a saving faith in Jesus last semester.

In addition to a dozen teachers, a comparable number prepare the weekly full meals for the students.

“They love on the kids, tell them Jesus loves them and ask how their week is going. They fix the meal as if they were doing it unto the Lord. This group of folks has a mind to work and they see the impact they are having on their community,” Jordan said.

Overall, the pastor noted, “We used to say, ‘If we win the father, we’ll win the whole family.’ Some don’t have families so they decided to reach the children.

“A lot of times in church we don’t invest in children and students, but that’s when many come to faith in Christ,” Jordan said.

In the process, some of the mothers expressed interest in a Bible study.

“My wife began telling them the Easter story. We now have two ladies’ Bible study classes. About a year ago, some men said the women came home telling Bible stories and they wanted one too, so we have a men’s Bible study.”

Fellow pastors have asked Jordan how Rock Springs pays for the outreach. “The Lord provides. We make the student ministry meal and literature costs part of the budget,” he said.

The building has been paid off.

“The initial cost was $100,000. They had a vision to do something big for the Lord and they have an amazing kitchen. But that doubled the cost,” Jordan said.

The church had an overall debt of $135,000 when he came as pastor. “They paid off something like $11,000 my first year, then set a goal to pay off $20,000 in year two and surpassed that by some $8,000,” he said. “Last year they were able to completely pay off the debt.”

Rock Spring’s student ministry, like the area schools, is now on summer vacation. When they prepare for the fall, Jordan said members always talk about how God has blessed them when they stepped out in faith.

“We just try to be faithful and work hard,” Jordan said.