Missions and ministrycomment (0)
July 24, 2003
By Johnie Sentell
With all of the rain Alabama has been getting this year, there have been many rainbows. What is found at the end of a rainbow? Near the south end of Rainbow Drive in Etowah County is a church serious about missions and ministry.
White Springs Baptist Church in Rainbow City was started in 1870, and Michael Yopp began as pastor on Easter in 1999. A graduate of the University of Memphis, Yopp also earned degrees from New Orleans Seminary.
Yopp said, “The Great Commission is a driving force for our church.
“We are involved in Faith,” he said. “That has helped us train our members to reach out to our community with the gospel and fulfill the Great Commission. In more than three years we have probably trained close to 75 members.”
In recent years White Springs has given about 15 percent of its total receipts to missions through the Cooperative Program and special offerings.
Church members also get personally involved in missions projects.
“Our missions focus reaches around the world and across the street,” Yopp said.
Vernon Lee, a deacon and Brotherhood director, is a regular participant in missions trips.
“We are a very mission-minded church,” Lee said. “We have several teams that go out every year. About a month ago 13 from our church went to Illinois and helped build an education building for First Baptist Church of Riverton.
“We also have about that many members who go to Honduras each year,” he said. “We have a medical team, a construction team and an evangelism team. This April we had 12 to go with that group.
“Every missions trip is different,” Lee said. “I got involved seven years ago. It makes me feel good to go out and help people. I feel God has called me to do that. Every time I do it I get a blessing.”
Earlier this month a missions team of 26 people from White Springs went to Oneida, Ky., to spend a week helping at Oneida Baptist Institute, a boarding school.
The Oneida team was prepared to do a little bit of everything. The team members ranged from 10 to 89 years of age and were glad to help with general maintenance, farming (including the hog operation and dairy cows) and painting. Some members of the team cut out soup can labels the school had been collecting, categorized them and got them ready to send off.
Yopp said, “Our philosophy is, ministry is for everyone and all ages can have a part.”
“Our men are also becoming involved in building wheelchair ramps,” he said. “We have built several for people in the community in the last two or three months.”
White Springs’ women’s ministry sponsors several monthly Bible studies, including Women at the Well, Designing Women, a prayer breakfast and a traditional study.
The church has a van ministry making two routes each Sunday.
Another White Springs ministry is Encouragers, a monthly support group for people who have lost their spouses. This month GA girls helped by doing manicures for the ladies, and the Challengers did maintenance checkups on vehicles.
“Our Sunday School and youth programs are strong,” the pastor said. “Chris Crain is our associate pastor and minister of education, and Jay Stewart is minister of music and youth.
“Last year we completed the renovation of our education facilities, and this year we completed renovation of our worship center,” Yopp said.
“Our deacons are fully committed to ministry and being ministers of the church,” he said. “They do a tremendous job of ministering to the families. They are committed to changing lives.”
White Springs Church sends The Alabama Baptist to all families in the church.
Yopp said, “The Alabama Baptist provides an opportunity for our people to be informed not only about what is happening locally but also in our state and the world at large. They can read it at their own leisure at home.
“The paper provides a trustworthy, credible source of information,” he said. “In discussion about important matters, the information is presented in a fair, unbiased way.
“The Alabama Baptist provides us a link to other Baptist churches and also to the world,” he noted.
Since January 2002 White Springs has been using the local edition service of The Alabama Baptist to deliver its newsletter.
Yopp said, “Our move to using the paper to send our newsletter has easily kept us from having to buy a new $10,000 piece of equipment. And it saves us at least eight hours of work every week.
“For us the decision started out as an economic choice, a matter of good stewardship. But it ultimately had spiritual implications by providing information about our world to our congregation from a Christian perspective. There are a lot of news sources, but The Alabama Baptist provides the information from a Christian perspective.”
Cynthia Camp, a church member for some 10 years, has done the newsletter about seven years, working on a part-time basis. She said, “It is much quicker now. Before we went to The Alabama Baptist it would take a whole day. Now it is a lot quicker — it takes me about two hours. And the quality is much better. We don’t have any trouble at all.
“I think it would be beneficial for churches to send their newsletters out with The Alabama Baptist,” she said. “It is beneficial to the members and a time-saver for the church.”
Jo Cochran, a member of White Springs Church for 24 years, has worked as church secretary for 20 years. She said, “This is a loving, caring church that really ministers. I have enjoyed the privilege and opportunity of serving as secretary. It has been very rewarding and a blessing to me. It is just a great place to serve and to work.”
Pastor Yopp said, “We all work together. At any church you need a great ministry team and great secretarial support. We have both.”
Yopp is married to his childhood sweetheart, the former Wilma Brogdon. They have three children: Amy, who will soon start her second year at Samford University; Brandon, a junior at Southside High School; and Brian, a fifth-grader at John Jones Elementary School.