A Letter to the Churches of Missouri

Over the last year and a half I have been in talks with both the Meramec and State associations in Missouri about the possibility of planting a church in the state of Missouri. I had felt for a while that my time as a student pastor was coming to an end and I was approached about the possibility of partnering with the Missouri churches to further the gospel in the Columbia, Missouri area. My family and I pursued this perceived open door with the hopes of planting a church where a church is truly needed. First Baptist Church in Magnolia was in full partnership of the plant even to point of voting unanimously to send me to the mission field and be my supporting church. When I came to the associational meetings and shared my vision I referenced the church in Antioch in Acts 13 who sent out Saul (Paul) and Barnabas to spread the gospel. The reason for the church sending out those men was that she had a sufficient number of pastors for the church at Antioch. First Baptist Magnolia found herself in the same circumstance. A full pastoral staff and time to fill the student ministry position before I made the move in January of 2020. We were excited at the possibility of working with the churches in Missouri and furthering the ministry of FBC Magnolia (our sending church).

On June 23rd a curve ball was thrown into the process of planting a church. Our pastor at FBC at the time, Bro. Brent Summerhill, resigned as the primary preaching and teaching pastor because he felt that his time at First Magnolia had come to a close. This left our church in a little different position than when we first began the process to plant a church. My immediate plans were to stay on the initial time frame for planting the church and just step up to lead at FBC however I could until we moved to Missouri in January. However, as I sat and talked with the leadership at our church we began to pray about whether God was calling me and my family to stay at FBC and lead the church into missions efforts and in the preaching of the word as the Senior Pastor. For an entire year my heart and mind had been shifting to go and plant a church in Columbia, Missouri and in an instant it felt like my heart was now torn in two. I had a desire to go and make much of God’s name in Columbia, Missouri and I now had a heart to stay and pastor the people that I had been with for the last 12 years. I entered a season of prayer and fasting and sought the best counsel I could find which included pastors from Missouri, godly men from my church and even third party counsel that could be completely unbiased. As I prayed and led at FBC God began to grow a desire in my heart to stay and pastor FBC Magnolia. On Sunday September 8, 2019 our church voted to call me as pastor and I accepted that call. This was not something I did in secret. I had conversations with the committee chairs of the State and Meramec Associations along with Bro. Jim Hoffman, the Missions Director. These men along with so many others were vessels of grace during this decision. I want you all to know that I did not make this decision lightly. I still understand the need for the gospel in Columbia, Missouri and other areas of the state. That desire to see the gospel go to Missouri has not gone away simply because God has called me to serve in another place where the gospel is needed. I pray that in some capacity we will be able to help in Missouri’s efforts to plant churches in the future.

I would encourage you to continue with the plan to plant and revitalize churches together as two associations with the same goal of making disciples in Missouri. God has a man set aside for the purpose of going to the areas of Missouri where the gospel is not and making God known to those people. If anyone has any questions that they would like to ask me please feel free to reach out to me.

Lastly, I want to say thank you for the confidence that you as an association showed in me. I want to say thank you to the pastors whom I consider dear friends after the last year of conversations. I want to say thank you to Bro. Ben Kingston, Bro. Jamie Haguewood, and Bro. Jim Hoffman along with the rest of the State and Meramec Missions Committee members.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Dustin Wisely

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