ROSWELL (BNM) - On Monday evening, Oct. 25, ministers, their families and other guests gathered in the fellowship hall at First Baptist Church, Roswell, for the Registration Reception before Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s 2021 Annual Meeting. The Baptist New Mexican spoke with several of them among the ministry displays and reception snacks.
Dusty Marshall, pastor at The Well, Alamogordo, also serves as the new associational mission strategist for the Mountain Valley Baptist Association. He and his wife, Elizabeth, as well as their three children, Collin, Raelynn and Madilynn, came to the Annual Meeting to connect with other associational mission strategists, replant pastors and friends from previous churches he served. The family moved from Fort Worth, Texas, where he was a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Marshall’s wife grew up in Alamogordo.
When asked about their experience at The Well, Marshall responded, “It's been amazing.” He accepted the call to pastor the church in December, 2019. The couple knew that The Well’s congregation had dwindled to about six members. Its only deacon is 93 and had health issues. According to Elizabeth, the church needed, “fresh life and energy.” In January 2020, the congregation decided to become a replant, partnering with the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board.
In March, 2020, the Governor's COVID-19 health orders shut down the church’s in-person ministry. So, members met via Facebook Live from March through June, 2020. Then, they restarted in-person meetings with a baptism at their first service. They have celebrated two more baptisms since then and have continued their online services. The church’s membership has grown to 18, Marshall said.
Jonathan and Sharon Holmes, are part of the replant and also came for the Annual Meeting. They are Marshall’s father-in-law and mother-in-law. Jonathan leads worship for The Well, and Sharon is the church’s WMU director.
When the Baptist New Mexican asked Jonathan about his role in the replant, he said, “I love it.” “I have always gone to church, but never been involved in church,” Holmes said. “I have been called to ministry, and shared that with the church last week.” He is also learning to play the guitar, and uses hymn videos from YouTube.
Juan Mendoza pastors another church plant that shares The Well’s building each Sunday. He uses his guitar skills to help Holmes and Marshall. Mendoza pastors Jesus el Buen Pastor, a Spanish church plant sponsored by First Baptist Church, Alamogordo.
Mendoza and his wife, Grace, along with their young daughter, Eliette, moved to Alamogordo from Peru. There, Mendoza served with the SBC’s International Mission Board.
Mendoza’s church plant launched the first week in October and is following the pattern of the Bible’s first church in Antioch. A few bilingual members from The Well helped the first two weeks. A couple with roots in Mexico has joined the church, too.
Mendoza is contacting local pastors to ask for assistance with a core team. He is praying for volunteers to help for a time to build a team to reach Spanish-speakers in the area. He is reaching out in the neighborhood of the church with food baskets, and is planning to develop a food pantry ministry. Food security is a common issue in the area the church plant is targeting.
During the BNM’s interview with Mendoza, several BCNM staff told him about resources the BCNM offers. Tar Henderson, the convention’s Evangelism and Discipleship Team leader and Cricket Pairett, the convention’s Mission Mobilization Team ministry assistant explained available funding for food ministries from the Mission New Mexico offering. Convention staff also described other support and funds available for evangelism ministries and outreach events. Mendoza also learned about resources and assistance available from the convention’s Information Services Team leader, Kevin Parker.
The Annual Meeting provided opportunities for attendees to connect with friends, fellow ministers and BCNM staff and resources. The Registration Reception additionally featured displays highlighting BCNM ministries and camps. Other convention and SBC entities had displays to share resources, too. They included the New Mexico Baptist Children's Home, the New Mexico Baptist Foundation, the SBC’s GuideStone Financial Resources, IMB, NAMB and the Church Finance Corporation.