An overflow crowd, estimated at over 50, gathered Saturday afternoon, Dec. 4, in Mountainburg for the organization of Cain Baptist Church, formerly known as Mustard Seed Mission, a BMA of Arkansas Missions project. From the opening songs, led by Bailey Byers, to the final prayer by Former Missionary Hershel Conley, the excitement was evident!
Missionary/Pastor Jim Tollison reported that they had about 60 charter members of the new church, but said the “doors would be left open for two or three months” since some are awaiting baptism and wanted to be included. He estimated that although their average attendance had dropped from about 45 to around 30 due to COVID, he was optimistic that that number would rise in the coming months.
Becky Tollison read a letter from the mission, indicating their desire to become a BMA church and their adoption of the BMA Doctrinal Statement, Church Covenant and Articles of Agreement. They also requested the letters of their members from Denver Street Baptist Church in Greenwood, the mother church.
A council of eight ordained men, with BMA of Arkansas Missions Executive Director Paul White as moderator, unanimously recommended that the organization “move forward;” and Pastor Derek Bremer, reported that Denver Street Church had granted the requested letters. During their “first business meeting as a church,” they voted to officially name the new congregation Cain Baptist Church; call Bro. Tollison as pastor; affiliate with the United Association, BMA of Arkansas and BMA of America; and retain the current officers and teachers.
“Jim Tollison 2.0,” as his father called him, brought the message and charge — “The Power of God.” (Jim Tollison II is pastor of Spring Creek Baptist Church in Springdale.) He encouraged the members of the new church to “commit to personally sharing the good news of Jesus” and to “condense the message to 60 seconds,” so they can present it quickly if they need to do so.
Derrick Bremer, current pastor of Denver Street, led the organizational prayer as the members of Cain Baptist Church met in the altar. As George Reddin (former pastor of Denver Street) said, “It was a blessed and joyous occasion!”
It began as all mission projects do — with the still, small voice of God speaking to the submissive heart of His servant. This time, that man was Bro. Tollison, who had been serving a congregation he loved for almost 10 years — Bethel #1 Baptist Church in Rison. But when God called him and his wife, Becky to leave the comfort of that pastorate to go to the Alma area and live in a borrowed RV, they obeyed.
During Saturday’s meeting, Bro. Reddin shared how the mother church’s vision began with a study of the prayer of Jabez, especially the part that asked God to “enlarge their boundaries.” It wasn’t long before they heard about the new mission and knew that God wanted them to be the mother church. He noted that Denver Street would continue to donate $100 a month to the mission for the foreseeable future, and that they were all blessed to be a part of this ministry.
During Saturday’s meeting, Bro. Tollison gave a brief history of the mission, which started at Crabtree RV Park and noted that the first convert, Lisa was baptized in the park’s swimming pool. After meeting in a donated building for several months, the mission then moved (in December 2012) into the building which once housed Cain Missionary Baptist Church before it disbanded several years ago.
He also noted that the mission had never paid “one red cent” in rent during the years — all space was donated by those who shared the vision for this ministry. He also reported that the mission had made several additions and improvements to the current facility, but at this point they “don’t owe anybody one red cent” and are totally debt free.
“God has truly blessed this ministry, and we give Him all the glory,” concluded Bro. Tollison.