Eyes on the Arizona Mission Offering: Love Baptist Church ‘refocuses’ on mission
By Johanna Willett | Aug 30, 2023
At a leadership summit in January, ministry teams at Love Baptist Church in Phoenix gathered to consider the year ahead.
The church’s senior pastor, Adam Henry, shared new vision and mission statements and a focus for the year — Love Baptist Church would be “a place for everyone — a place to belong and a place to serve.”
“[The leadership summit] was a great opportunity for all the people who serve in various teams to get a real picture of the body of Christ in action,” Henry said. It also provided an opportunity for each ministry to consider how God might use that ministry to accomplish the church’s mission.
That emphasis on shared mission came out of the church’s participation in the months-long ReFocus process.
ReFocus is funded in part by Arizona Southern Baptists’ gifts to the Arizona Mission Offering. Church revitalization is one of the eight offering categories.
“ReFocus is good for any church and especially helpful for pastors and churches that are unsure of what their next step in reaching their community should be,” wrote ReFocus Pathfinder Don Vickers in an email.
Pathfinders help churches navigate the process over eight meetings, assessing a church’s present reality and considering “how God has equipped that church to best engage with the needs in their community,” said Vickers, associational mission strategist for the Yuma Southern Baptist Association.
He said 22 churches in Arizona have gone through ReFocus. Several are in the process now.
As part of Love Baptist’s process, they interviewed church members and reviewed history.
“When you stop to think about a church that is about to turn 75 (in 2025) and think that this church set aside a season to seek a fresh sense of God’s perspective and now we’re coming with a mission that we’re putting before people, that’s remarkable,” Henry said. “It takes a lot of courage and humility to say we’re going to put it all on the table here.”
Henry became the church’s senior pastor in 2020 after an intentional three-year transition. He said the church averages about 70 on Sunday mornings.
Through ReFocus, Love Baptist identified a need for a united sense of mission among church ministries and a pathway to equip members to serve. They now offer the class Love Baptist Church Serves a few times a year.
“God has taught me that until people have a place to serve, they’re not going to feel like they belong or know where they fit in the body of Christ,” Henry said.
ReFocus also led to a church-wide goal to intentionally connect with those not present on Sunday or who are beyond the “orbit of the church who need to know they’re loved,” Henry said.
“This is not turning things upside down, but this is seeing where God is working in this season,” Henry said. “It’s building on this legacy of faith. We’re in a new season and a new generation. It’s time for us to yield to the Spirit and move forward together.”
Johanna Willett, a freelance writer living in Tucson, is a member of Mountain View Baptist Church, Tucson.