As a recent college graduate in the early 2000’s I moved to Cheyenne Wells, a town of 1200 people in Eastern Colorado. I had been living in Denver for a few years at that point when I accepted a teaching and coaching job on the high plains. Truth is I visited the town after I had accepted the job and returned to Denver trying to figure out how to get out of the contract. God had other plans and I followed his leading into the new adventure. It seemed to be a wasteland where there were more bars than churches and only trees in locations where there was a house.
Once I became involved in teaching and coaching various sports I quickly realized I was out there for a reason. God broke my heart for the people of the town and the surrounding area. A fellow teacher and I started a Fellowship of Christian Athletes gathering once a week and quickly had a large percentage of the school meeting with us to play games and talk about Jesus. We saw numerous students come to Christ as we invested in them.
God blessed me through seeing the lives of many students changed by him and as a bonus, I also figured out the high plains were a hidden hunting gem! It was in the midst of that time that the Lord seemed to be giving me vision for how we could reach into every town on the eastern plains. I didn’t have any churches to partner with, nor did I know there was even a state convention or local associations. Soon the vision seemed to fade because I was called away to do ministry in another state and then to seminary.
Fast forward to spring of this year as we were now living in Pueblo and working with NAMB and the Royal Gorge Baptist Association (RGBA). Mike Proud came to have lunch with me and asked if I would pray about taking on a role as Regional Director where I would get a chance to serve and work with not just the RGBA but also the Arkansas Valley Baptist Association, which to my surprise stretches up to Cheyenne Wells. Though it did not hit me at first, once I accepted the call to follow God into this new endeavor, I realized that God had not forgotten about his original call to help take the gospel to the towns of Eastern Colorado. Actually, He just had to break me and shape me enough to be ready for what He was going to do. This week as I write this, I am traveling out to Cheyenne Wells to rekindle some of the relationships He has allowed me to maintain over the years.
As I pray and dream about what God is doing and going to do to build his kingdom in Southern Colorado, I have something I didn’t have when I first lived here. I am now surrounded by churches and leaders all around Colorado who have the same heart I have, to see gospel movement in every community. We don’t have to strive alone and in isolation reaching a few; we are called to kingdom collaboration. We are called to work together for His kingdom. Already in the RGBA we are starting to see the first fruits of partnering together, and my prayer is that as I get to know the AVBA better it will be the same. I may still feel as young and unprepared as when I first lived in eastern Colorado, but now I am part of a much greater fellowship of believers who want to partner and do anything possible to see gospel impact.