Intentional Transitional Ministries is just one tool God uses through Baptist Church Planters to serve churches. We were just starting our part-time partner-raising in January of 2019 when a pastor contacted me about a church in transition. I had just received a contact from another mission agency about a couple that wanted to serve churches in transition. I had no idea what God had intended for those two connections, but by May, Marty and Susan Basinger were serving the Gilcrest Baptist Church of Gilcrest, Colorado, as ITM pastor and wife. I am humbled by the amount of trust that the church and the Basingers had in the newly developing ITM Ministry. The deacon chairman, Jonathan Wakefield, was able to grasp and convey a vision to the church for the value of having the Basingers join them through their difficult time. His words below accurately depict the value of an ITM pastor to a church in transition:

Gilcrest Baptist Church was forced into a transition period, resulting from the sudden death of our pastor. Transitioning to a new pastor is never easy, especially when it results from difficult circumstances, but it is a joy to see God work through such times. God has worked through Baptist Church Planters and their newly created Intentional Transitional Ministry. From the beginning, they were eager to come to our aide and to be flexible on their end in order to make it easy for us to partner with them. Pastor Marty Basinger thoughtfully constructed a plan for preaching that encouraged the church to continue moving forward for the sake of the Gospel. Pastor Basinger has a passion for good expository teaching of the Word of God and that did not just come out in his preaching, but also in the counsel that he gave to our church leadership. He was intentional and effective in helping the church leadership to identify our strengths and vision for ministry, while not influencing us to change the way that we do ministry. This helped us to identify candidates for the pastorate that would fit into the church’s existing ministry.  He was also a great help in vetting the doctrinal positions of candidates for the pastorate.

It was an honor to watch the impact that Marty and Susan had on the church. It is also great to learn more about the needs of churches by listening to their testimony:

An ITM missionary is one who comes alongside a church that is without a pastor and who, through intentional messages and lessons and consultation with leadership, fulfills the regular pastoral duties until a permanent pastor is in place. 

On May 1, 2019, my wife and I started serving a local church in Colorado that had suffered the sudden and tragic death of their longtime pastor of twenty-six years. We walked with the congregation through the grieving process, ministering to them with messages of encouragement, revival and perseverance. My consistent presence projected an image of stability to both the congregation and the community. As an ITM missionary I was thrilled and honored to be their consistent voice in the pulpit each week. The desire of an intentional interim is to see attendance and giving stay strong, to help the church be attractive to visitors, and for the church to continue their gospel outreach to the community. God answered these prayers!

We are thrilled that Gilcrest Baptist Church was able to install their new pastor, John Mathew, just before the end of 2019. It was exciting that Pastor John was familiar with BCP, and even the ITM, prior to connecting with his new church. This is reflected in his perspective of the process:

I appreciate BCP greatly, and when I heard that there was a new Intentional Transitional Ministry being developed and implemented, I was excited. I never thought that when God transitioned me to His next ministry that He would use the ITM to help. In my discerning whether the Lord was leading me to this next ministry, ITM was one of the helpful factors in accepting the call. I thank God for the ITM Director’s (Scott) and Pastor Marty’s heart of concern and care for being tools in God’s hands to help churches in a delicate place without a pastor.

We realize that the work at Gilcrest Baptist Church is not done just because they called their pastor and the ITM pastor has moved on. We continue to uphold the church in prayer and seek to help the pastor get connected with others in the area. We also want the church to take advantage of other services available through Baptist Church Planters so that they can have an impact on other churches.

Our ITM ministry is dependent upon God’s timing. The Basingers are waiting on the Lord for their next assignment, and we are reaching out to potential ITM missionaries to prepare them for the churches that God will bring our way. We are in regular communication with churches in transition, offering consultation that may lead to another ITM opportunity.   Please visit our website at www.bcpusa.org/ITM for more information. You can reach Scott Owen at 515-203-9580 or sowen@bcpusa.org.