Rural church delivering gospel to homes no pie-in-the-sky moment

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HARRODSBURG, Ky. (KT) – The pastor of a small rural church is finding there is much benefit from being a part of the Gospel to Every Home.


Stephen Brogli, the pastor of Bethel Baptist, is excited as he watches the church live out its mission. They are taking the gospel into their rural community and the results have been encouraging. Two have made professions of faith and several gospel conversations have come through their efforts. 


As a reward, the church set up a homemade pie fellowship  that included a peanut butter pie with a heavenly destination. More on that later.


Taking the Gospel to Every Home in a rural community requires more driving than walking. Homes are sometimes miles apart. But if the gospel is going to get to every home in Kentucky, Brogli said everyone has to do their part and that includes the rural churches.


“Our church has historically been so intentional about praying for missions, praying for lost people and their generosity is unbelievable,” the pastor said. “We reached all of our offering goals even during COVID. I wasn’t surprised by that. I think the thought always in the back of my mind was we need to start using our hands and feet and get the gospel out.”


So when he saw the Gospel to Every Home initiative of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, he knew it was time to mobilize the church into action.


Brogli began strategically with a series of messages on evangelism and discipleship. “I wanted the church to come to a better understanding of what salvation is and what we must do in response to that.”


After watching a training session with KBC Evangelism Team Leader Rob Patterson and regional consultant Andy McDonald in Harrodsburg, he invited them to Bethel.


“I knew this effort was going to be important for the church,” Brogli said. “We live in a time where people think the pastor is going to grow the church by himself. It requires evangelism and discipleship for the church to truly reach the goal. As we started to promote the effort, we started using Sunday nights to train after Easter.”


Brogli’s messages from the pulpit centered around evangelism and discipleship to prime the pump of the church members who were going to take the gospel to the rural neighborhoods.


Once McDonald led them through an hour of training, the church was dispatched into the community. Brogli said at least a third of the church members present on Sunday morning returned for the training and then went into the community. The pastor had prepared them with 15 group assignments that included maps. Eleven groups went into the community.


One retired pastor and church member told the group, in all his decades of ministry, he had never seen that many people going at one time to share the gospel.

McDonald said the pastor’s preparation in the preceding months was critical in the process. More than 40 people came to the training session and then into the field the first time.


“All the advance work Bro. Stephen had done since January had his people ready. Some of the church members were a little nervous, but all were excited,” he said. “I was blessed to be part of a team that engaged several people in good gospel conversations, and one man trusted in Christ on his front porch.”


“We are out in the middle of nowhere,” the pastor said. “You kind of see the dogs from a distance.”


What Brogli saw within the church encouraged him. “We had folks who had never been out to share the gospel. There’s enthusiasm and excitement within the church.”


Two salvations, multiple gospel conversations and longtime members who were making their first gospel house calls have energized the church body, the pastor said.


“Several mentioned they were thankful to be pushed to go outside their comfort zone,” Brogli said. “One of our senior saints who is 86 or 87 showed up and went with my group. She told me, ‘I have never done anything like this.’’’


Brogli had some incentive for everyone who went out the first night, including McDonald. Homemade pies were the treat.


“We came back and had a pie fellowship,” Brogli said. “We have some ladies and gentlemen who can throw down in the kitchen. One lady does peanut butter pie. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever had. It’s glorious. I think it’s going to be in heaven one day.”


McDonald was licking his lips thinking about the pies. “I’m not saying people came back because of the pies, but it sure didn’t hurt.”


Patterson, who couldn’t attend the training because of some health issues, said the results from the church didn’t surprise him because of their history. He said they have always been strong supporters of the Cooperative Program and mission-minded.


“Bethel is an exceptionally generous church in supporting missions and ministry through the Cooperative Program and other means,” Patterson said. “It is exciting to see how the Gospel to Every Home is providing chances to be involved locally.


“What we see at Bethel is reflective of the hearts of rural KBC churches across the commonwealth. They are passionate to see their neighbors come to know Christ.”


Brogli said the Gospel to Every Home experience has benefited not only the community but the church itself more than he ever imagined.


“We are called to go and take the gospel,” he said. “You get to find out who is really serious about being the church and who wants to just play church. The neat thing for me is I have a group of folks ready to be the church.”

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