To reach beyond the valleyby Mike Creswell
This Crestview Baptist Church actually does have a view of crests.
The 500-member church's building is on Pisgah Drive that heads southeast from Canton through a valley surrounded by Pisgah National Forest and mountains with names like Rocky Knob, Pressley and Poison Cove Top.
A few peaks over is the more famous Cold Mountain of book and movie fame.
When Dan Page, Crestview's senior pastor, speaks of "reaching the valley," this is the area he means.
For Page, leading a church to reach out locally and supporting missions far and wide through the Cooperative Program is all part of how Crestview members respond to the Great Commission.
"We are focusing on our immediate field, which is our valley. Then we're focusing on reaching further afield with mission trips and mission projects; we're starting right here in our Jerusalem," he said.
But Page says to reach beyond the valley, they support the Cooperative Program.
In 2010 the church gave almost 12 percent of its income through the Cooperative Program. Further, the church led other Haywood Baptist Association churches in having the biggest increase in CP giving over 2009.
"We look around at the needs, particularly on the foreign mission field, and we believe the best way to meet those needs is through the Cooperative Program effort of all our sister Baptist churches," Page said.
"It's the greatest tool, I think, in the world for pooling our resources and playing a key role in reaching the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
"I see independent Baptists and other groups who are using self support and I respect them. But I think that the Cooperative Program is still the most powerful tool we have for doing missions. I fully support it. We're going to stress the Great Commission, reaching the world, and this is the way we can participate in it," Page said.
"We have experienced significant growth in baptisms and increased giving because God is blessing. The church is growing. We need a new building. Our services are full and our Sunday School is full. I did the last baptism two weeks ago in the river and it was a great blessing to our people. But we know the Great Commission is to go all the way to the far reaches of the earth. I'm a die-hard, 100%, missions-minded pastor and that's the way it's going to be wherever I serve, because I believe in missions," he said.
"I pray other individuals and churches will be motivated to use their dollars for the mission work of the Cooperative Program in a greater and greater way. The needs are urgent, and the time is short for us in this generation to reach our communities with the gospel of Jesus," Page said.
Through their Cooperative Program giving, Crestview supports a wide range of ministries across North Carolina, including: starting 125 new churches in 2010, the NC Baptist Children's Homes;Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute; a youth program that reached more than 7,000 young people this year; evangelism and church growth ministry, prayer ministry, women's ministry, partnership missions and many kinds of pastor and church staff support, nearly 10,000 missionaries serving across North America and around the world, plus six Southern Baptist seminaries equipping more than 13,000 students for church leadership and missionary service. Those schools include Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary at Wake Forest.
And much more!