I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to the completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6
Two years ago, in January 2012, I used this space in the Rocky Mountain Baptist to introduce the beginning of a “big brother” partnership with the Oklahoma Baptist General Convention. What a blessing that partnership has proven to be. I never dreamed how the Kingdom work in Colorado would be accelerated by the help of our partner to the south. Several days ago I traveled to Oklahoma along with two other men from our convention to meet with Oklahoma’s convention leadership. The reason for the meeting was to review progress in our partnership and to tweak the relationship and protocols if needed. The meeting had a celebratory tone as we talked about past projects and teams that have come to Colorado the last two years. The Kingdom in Colorado has indeed been advanced as God has blessed our work together.
As an example, one area in which the Kingdom in Colorado has benefitted greatly is Disaster Relief (DR). Colorado provided the disasters and Oklahoma provided much of the relief. The summers of 2012 and 2013 saw three of the most destructive fires in our state’s history. In the summer of 2012 the High Park Fire west of Ft. Collins killed one woman and destroyed 259 homes. The Waldo Canyon fire, also in 2012, killed two people and destroyed 346 homes on the west side of Colorado Springs, in Manitou Springs and in Woodland Park. The Black Forest Fire of last summer is said to have destroyed 511 homes and killed two people northeast of Colorado Springs. Then in addition to these fires in September of last year torrential rains led to 14 counties in northern Colorado and around Colorado Springs being declared disaster areas because of flooding that left eight people dead, 19,000 homes severely damaged and 1,500 homes totally destroyed.
Enter Oklahoma partners. It is difficult to tally the investment of man hours and expertise that was donated to our state in these disasters. But in dollars alone, $91,155 was donated in 2013. $25,000 in a single Partnership DR grant which was used to buy and rent equipment and an additional $66,155 in Oklahoma team expenses. In equipment, Oklahoma DR graciously provided feeding units, ash out units, mud out units, shower units, laundry units, and much more. Compounding this, while Oklahoma was helping us with our disasters, they were coping with their own tornado disasters. As with all ministry evangelism, the Kingdom impact in Colorado cannot be measured but we know it’s been significant.
Disaster Relief is only one example of many ministries provided by Oklahoma volunteers. Partnerships between churches and associations have been formed. Choirs have come to minister (not just perform). Work crews have repaired church buildings. Countless VBS teams have helped our smaller churches reach the children and families of their neighborhoods. New communities have been prayer walked in preparation for church plants. And Colorado also received a really cool car – the MY316 Car that many have seen in community parades and at the state fair.
And more is in the offing. Along with the continuation of all these ministries, Oklahoma will be sending experts in communications and Cooperative Program promotion to consult with our convention. Oklahoma women’s ministry will continue to help with our women’s ministry leadership along with providing resources for pastors’ wives and church planters’ wives. And on it goes.
Speaking on behalf of Colorado Baptists I will use the same scripture I quoted two years ago at this time. I can honestly say along with Paul, I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your PARTNERSHIP in the gospel from the first day until now. Thank you Oklahoma Baptists for helping us advance His Kingdom here in Colorado. I look forward to the next years as we continue to partner together in fields that are ripe for harvest.