An email led to an opportunity, and an opportunity grew into a global partnership. Such is the story of First Baptist Church, Blue Springs, and the connection they now share with Stanmore Baptist Church, a London congregation located in the heart of one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse areas in the world.
Matt Sprink, FBC’s pastor of disciple-making, received a message from a then-unknown sender asking if he were the Matt Sprink married to Holly Sprink, the author. As the correspondence continued, the Sprinks developed a close relationship with their digital friend and found out that he pastored a church in the London Borough of Harrow, one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse boroughs in all of Europe. His church, Stanmore Baptist Church, consists of about 170 people from more than 30 countries. The more the Sprinks learned, the more they saw a unique opportunity for cross-cultural discipleship in one of the world’s most influential cities. Pursuing the possibility of future ministry, FBC Blue Springs sent the Sprinks to London in October of 2014.
During the trip the Sprinks experienced firsthand the overwhelming diversity and recognized the potential for fruitful partnership with the London church. The Sprinks returned to London with a small team in April 2015. Members prayer walked, made relationships with local religious leaders, and even dined in the homes of borough residents. After these initial trips, FBC Blue Springs sensed the Spirit moving and sought to couple with Stanmore Baptist in a long-term ministry partnership.
This summer FBC Blue Springs sent two discipleship teams to London, one consisting of mainly youth and the other adults. These teams were able to connect with students in the local school, and were also able to reach out to locals as well as assist Stanmore Baptist with their 80th anniversary celebration.
Although the teams and the Sprinks have returned for now, the church will continue their global partnership, reaching the world through London.
By Tim Howe as published in The Pathway August 25, 2015, edited for length for the November 2015 issue of our Missions & Ministry Newsletter