Butch Strickland – Associational Missionary

Dear Hatcher Pass Baptist Association

on Jun 8, 2015

Dear Hatcher Pass Baptist Association,

 Paul begins his letter to the Ephesians with a “spiritual blessing, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”  Eph. 1:3-6 niv

 Shirley and I continue to thank God for bringing us to the Mat-Su Valley nine years ago and we cannot thank our Savior and Lord enough for the wonderful people that make up Hatcher Pass Baptist Association.  The loving friendships, fellowship, faithful pastoral leadership and the opportunities to serve together have and always will mean a great deal to us. I am deeply grateful that our North American Mission Board appointed us as missionaries and has provided funding for my nine years of missions among and in partnership with Hatcher Pass churches and people.

On July 1, 2015 my role as a missionary will change but my commitment to the people of Hatcher Pass Association remains endless.  As you know, Shirley will remain your Associational Ministry Assistant and will continue to serve you alongside your elected Moderator and the Association Leadership Team to accomplish associational missions, including the work of church health strengthening, leadership training and the day-to-day tasks of harmonizing the ministries that are shared by our churches.  The associational office space will remain in our home in Palmer. 

Alaska needs strong associations and the teamwork of pastors and churches as we seek to reach our state, make disciples and promote missions.  Yes, there is much, much work to be done.  I urge you to make encouragement of our pastors and staff members a priority and I urge you to remain focused on local missions.  Continue to “start something new,” including new Bible teaching units and outreach ministries.  Please pray for Shirley as she seeks to serve our Lord by serving you.

The North American Mission Board has asked me to focus on Church Planting in the Mat-Su Valley, Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula.  Church planting has been a priority of our mission work together and I plead with you to remain focused on new work! The apostle Paul certainly was a Church Planting Catalyst and starting new work must be an essential part of our evangelism / discipleship strategies across this state.   I’m convinced that we cannot reach Alaska for Christ without many, many additional solid missionary churches. On July 1 I will add ten church planting pastors to the seven I now encourage, plus I will have the assignment to seek God-called men who will begin additional new churches in central Alaska each year.  A few of those new pastors may come from the lower 48 but most of them will come from within our existing churches. 

I seek your prayer for my work.  Please, pray that every current and new planter will find encouragement and support from one or more healthy churches.  Please pray for laborers; new planters who are ready to accept one of the most challenging tasks in ministry, bringing together a core group of new believers and disciplers to birth a church. Please pray for me as I expand my travel and each week visit central Alaska with pastors, planters and potential co-laborers about expanding Christ’s kingdom in Alaska thru planting and preparing for a great harvest.  Please pray for all of your Cooperative Program funded Southern Baptist missionaries, including our church planters and, of course, include me!

Again, thank you for your loving friendship!  Thank you for your support of associational work and for the ways you have friended, supported and encouraged Shirley and me.  Thank you for your support of missions, our church planters and the Cooperative Program. 

With His Love,