2021-2022 Viola Webb Offering for State and Associational Missions
Every fall KNCSB collects the Viola Webb Offering for State and Associational Missions.
“Celebrating 75 years of sharing the Gospel in Every Town, City and Campus” is the offering theme for 2021-22. The offering goal is $210,000.
Half of offering gifts will be returned to the association where the money was given.
The offering will help support KNCSB church planting, collegiate work, church health and disaster relief.
The offering is named for Viola Webb who led Kansas-Nebraska Woman’s Missionary Union for 1959 to 1982. KNCSB named the offering in her honor after she retired.
Download promotional poster [PDF]:
Featured missionaries and ministries:
Chuck Neece — Director of operations for KNCSB Disaster Relief
Angel Viveros — Hispanic church planter in Lincoln, Neb.
New church and collegiate ministry in Peru, Neb.
Fort Hays State University Christian Challenge
View videos by Dalton Huey of Deep Wells Media LLC
Cosecha Lincoln — new Hispanic church plant in Lincoln, Neb.
Fort Hays State University Christian Challenge:
New church and collegiate ministry in Peru, Neb.
Mentoring is key for KNCSB longevity
By Sue Sprenkle
He was just a young middle schooler when someone gave him a guitar. Justin Gardner didn’t know how to play it but wanted “to praise the Lord.” A musician at his church taught him a few chords and invited the teen to join him in planning and playing for the youth group.
Today, that same middle schooler — all grown up — is enrolled at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Spurgeon College. He routinely leads worship services and dreams of being a music minister for a church in the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists someday.
Gardner is one of the newest links in a chain of mentoring that reaches back to the 1950s in the two-state convention. Mentoring and investing in others is a staple in KNCSB.
“Mentoring has made a world of difference in my life,” Gardner said. “When I felt called to ministry, there were people there to help me because they understood. They took me under their wing and gave me a listening ear. It’s wonderful to have people willing to invest in me.”
Retired KNCSB executive director Peck Lindsay explained that this informal mentoring network is one of the keys to keeping pastors and church leaders from feeling isolated in the mostly rural convention.
It also helps in “growing our own” leaders and keeping them. Gardner’s own mentoring chain starts with that local musician, Kevin Ferstl, and his former youth leader. Danny Payne, then pastor of Pleasantview Baptist Church, Derby, Kan., mentored both men. Payne is now director of missions in Flint Hills Baptist Association.
Payne was mentored by Roy Moody, Cheryl Cooke and David Manner.
“When you really think about it, there are too many people in anyone’s life to nail down just one mentor. Each is as important as the next,” Payne explained as he added 10 more names to his list. “I’ve been in this convention most of my life. I’ve stayed because of the relationships and roots I have. I feel supported.”
Ministry can often feel overwhelming and complex. A pastor might go from studying for a sermon to giving marital advice … all before lunch. Then, head to a volunteer organization to speak and offer leadership advice. That afternoon might involve a hospital visit or helping those who are grieving. The night ends with a budget meeting at the church with a mostly volunteer committee.
Demands on ministers require them to quickly switch between tasks. The congregation’s needs, demands and desires can seem never-ending when exhaustion sneaks in. That’s when, according to Payne, the KNCSB informal mentoring network comes into play.
“We have people that you can speak honestly with,” Payne said. “It’s nothing against our congregations, but sometimes it’s hard for them to understand this life. People who have common ground can almost talk in shorthand. They know the questions to ask to get to the heart of the matter.”
Payne regularly checks in with his support network. Some that he once mentored now teach him things. He contends that the best thing about investing in people is that “you walk through the lows with them, but you also get to see them flourish.”
Eric Franklin, executive lead pastor at CrossPoint Church, was mentored by Payne. In fact, Franklin’s first job was as janitor at the church Payne pastored at the time. The two talked about life, work and God. Eventually, the mentor nudged Franklin to teach a middle-school boys Sunday School class. As he became active in the KNCSB youth worker network, his mentoring relationships grew through encounters at Super Summer.
“It was a lot easier to stick around in the convention when I graduated and sought a full-time ministry job because I had so many relationships,” Franklin said. “I knew I wasn’t alone.”
Franklin was one of the “go-to” people when COVID-19 sent churches to broadcasting services over the internet during the Kansas stay-at-home orders. He was able to serve as a resource and mentor many — including Payne — on how to take their services online.
Staying in KNCSB wasn’t even something Kevin Ferstl, music minister at Metro East Baptist Church, Wichita, Kan., thought about. It was a given. He spent time volunteering in small churches before making the jump to full-time ministry. Throughout it all, he sought mentors who could help him grow in his Christian walk.
“Those guys are to some degree responsible in where I am today,” Ferstl said. “I was a lay person and pastors like Danny (Payne) invested in me without knowing what the payoff would be. They responded to their heart being tugged by the Holy Spirit.”
That’s how Gardner ended up on Ferstl’s radar almost eight years ago. Someone pointed out a little seventh-grader with a guitar. The Holy Spirit nudged Ferstl to invest and pour into the teen.
“It’s very fulfilling to pour into someone else, God calls us to go make disciples and teach younger generations,” Ferstl said. “There’s a fulfillment of God’s call on our lives when we mentor.”
Gardner couldn’t agree more as he ran through the long list of those who poured into him. He took a breath and added, “Now, it’s my turn to train the next generation of worship leaders.”
KNCSB draws on past 75 years to reimagine role of convention
by Sue Sprenkle
Imagine churches working together and sharing resources. Imagine healthier churches in both the cities and rural communities. Imagine God’s kingdom growing through new believers and churches.
It almost sounds like an imaginary church “utopia” but Kansas-Nebraska’s new executive director knows it can be a reality for KNCSB. David Manner and a team made up of staff, associational directors of missions, church planting catalysts and pastors are reimagining what the convention could look like in the future.
“Unless there’s an adjustment, we will have a hard time growing and thriving,” Manner says, going on to explain that he’s not talking about something radically different for the two-state convention. The team wants everyone to be more intentional in what they are already doing.
“If we just look at these past 75 years in Kansas-Nebraska, it is going to lead us into the future,” Manner explains. “We already have great relationships with church-planter catalysts and the associations, but now we need to be more intentional in these partnerships.”
One example of intentionality is the location of some KNCSB staff. Instead of locating them in the Topeka office, they will now live all over the two-state area. This allows KNCSB to be closer partners with the associations and church planters. Resources will be easily shared while mentoring relationships will deepen and reproduce.
This grassroots approach goes back to what Peck Lindsay, former KNCSB executive director from 1977 to 2010, remembers when he first went to Nebraska as a pastor and church starter in 1957. It was all about listening, establishing relationships and going to the coffee shops in small towns. People shared resources and helped one another.
“People were moving into the area for all kinds of jobs — feed lots, gas and oil, Boeing. Many weren’t believers, but they’d come to church because of a friendship,” Lindsay remembers. “Out of friendship, many of them met the Lord.”
Lindsay, who still acts as the KNCSB town-and-country missions consultant, admits planting churches is a greater challenge now. Small towns often have drug and poverty issues. Many are not as open to the church — it’s not part of the culture anymore. However, relationships and sharing resources are still strong elements in the overall Kansas-Nebraska culture.
“We are back to how we did things back in the ‘70s for starting churches — making deep relationships. It works whether you are in the city or a rural community,” Lindsay explains.
“Everyone (associations, churches and church planters) will be sharing what works and what hasn’t worked. There’s always someone who knows more than I do, so why not share?”
Building on this “sharing culture” is a goal for KNCSB. It wants to become a curator of resources for churches, pastors, church planters and lay people. Manner feels there are a lot of “experts” on a wide variety of topics throughout the two states. He wants to create opportunities for this expertise to be shared and even setting up partnerships and/or mentorships. This might mean anything from a music minister helping another establish a music ministry or college students partnering with an association to start a new church. The possibilities are endless.
For the convention to thrive Manner feels the churches need to also thrive. One way to do that is to point things back to the local church and help them to be healthy. Bob Mills, KNCSB executive director from 2010-2021, wants to help churches grow to be the foundation for the unique communities in which they serve. When Manner came on board on March 1, 2021, Mills stayed to work with church health.
“Many of our churches have been around 75 years and have gone through a complete life cycle,” Mills says. “They need and want to refocus on the future and recapture what God has for them to do in their communities and world.”
Mills spent a decade helping the convention and associations navigate big changes and learning to be more self-sufficient. He challenged churches and ministries to be intentional about “living within their means” and collaborating with others.
Thinking outside of the box to survive and thrive is part of the Kansas-Nebraska DNA. The Christian Challenge ministries on college campuses are an example of this. Without a strong Southern Baptist culture, Lindsay says it was only natural to not call the collegiate ministries Baptist Student Unions like colleges in the South did in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Instead, the Kansas-Nebraska ministries reached out to all students. Their goal was to train future leaders — from all denominations — to be Jesus-followers and to make disciples.
“We got criticized for that, but we needed to be true to who Kansas-Nebraska is culturally,” Lindsay explains. “Now Christian Challenge is thriving, making disciples and multiplying.”
Manner hopes to expand on the outside-the-box thinking behind Christian Challenge and reach out to churches who are like-minded and out-of-network.
These churches are not denominationally tied and often want some kind of support, resources and partnerships. In the past, if one of these churches approached KNCSB support was offered.
“Why aren’t we asking them to consider joining our network?” Manner asks. “Christian Challenge has already provided that transition and access to this network. We can get more done with partnerships and sharing resources.”
Reimagining partnerships and resources like this has helped to set the vision for the next decade. Manner points out that these “reimagined” KNCSB directions and goals are nothing new. The foundation was laid years ago. The challenge now is to be “intentional” in building for the future.