Mike Balos – Associational Moderator

Alaska Mission Opportunities in HPBA

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Hatcher Pass Baptist Association is currently comprised of 16 churches and 8 church plants, centered in and around Wasilla, Alaska, but also stretching east as far as Valdez, west as far as Dillingham and north as far as Talkeetna. Wasilla is 45 minutes north of the Anchorage airport. The Mat-Su Valley is growing 2½ times faster than the Anchorage area. The demographic forecast will take our region’s population to 111,500 by 2020, or an increase of 19% over the next six years. That computes to about 8 new people in the Mat-Su Valley every day!  With your prayer and teamwork we can guide and assist our churches to grow numerically and we can continue to plant new churches.

PlantLife Alaska is our effort to mobilize mission volunteers. First, pray with us for laborers!!  Next, plan a mission experience with us! We are very blessed that tourist and mission volunteers alike have enjoyed coming to the land of the Midnight Sun!.  We need your help as we bring honor to our Savior by planting, watering, cultivating and harvesting.  We want to urge you to join us as a volunteer or part of a mission team.  Please call me and let’s plan together.  Vans and in-church housing are limited so make your plans early!

Priority #1 - Volunteer Summer Missions Coordinators

We are seeking retired couples, school teachers and singles that have a strong recommendation from their pastor to come and assist with church planting and / or church strengthening. These summer volunteers may come for 5 to 12 weeks and will raise or provide their own support. Several of our churches have full RV hookups, other have an apartment in their building or have house setting possibilities.

Over the summer these volunteers would

  • Work closely with the host church pastor to encourage Bible study, VBS and discipleship in the host church as they encourage a church plant.
  • Assist mission teams while staying in the host church building and help the church manage these teams. (teams are responsible for their own cooking)
  • Help these teams develop a strong relationship with the host church as well as one church plant.
  • Orient and send each incoming team out to strengthen church plants by encouraging, developing relationships and evangelizing Alaskans through block parties and other outdoor events,
  • Do advanced scouting, planning and coordinating of events in city parks and other venues where mission teams can meet and interact with Alaskans.
  • Work closely with the Association and Church Planting Catalyst to facilitate block parties and summer missions.We depend on these coordinators to do much of our summer ministry mobilization. These key leaders become the link between our host church leadership, incoming teams and the associational missionary. It will require flexibility, good communication and planning skills. Some of these volunteers have assisted in light building construction, Bible study or VBS leadership training, block party evangelism and block party set up and take down.   They will need to bring or rent reliable transportation. Adequate time can be available for sightseeing and fishing.

Priority #2 - Summer Mission Teams (Five to Ten Teams)

Actually our opportunities for summer mission efforts can run the gamut and we are ready to partner with those who want to customize a church / association sponsored mission trip. Please call and let’s talk about what your team wants to do and how that might match some of our needs! Note that church planting is a priority and we want every team to meet at least one church planter, but our church strengthening needs are also great.

Creativity has resulted in some great mission ministries. Last summer a team came to assist one of our smallest churches with some light construction. At the same time this host church was raising funds for an individual in the community who had a rare form of cancer and had lots of financial needs. The mission team published yard sale brochures and took them door-to-do throughout the community to collect donated sales items and invite persons to the sale, then guided the yard sale on church property for three days while they also conducted an ongoing block party with refreshments and Bible storying for everyone. Many came, were greeted and offered an evangelistic witness. The church received some great praise from within the community, the mission team got to meet and build relationships with lots of Alaskans and several families were reached. We believe these types of creative outreach can be repeated. Let’s develop a solid plan for your trip to Alaska this coming summer!

We do ask that you stay over one Sunday and worship with a church or church plant. As a part of our mission and church planting education efforts we ask that you get acquainted with a church planter. We do need to ask that incoming teams provide a  $100 per day for use of a van.

Priority #3 - Collegiate and Seminary Students)

Short term volunteers need to apply with us now! Our summer missionaries must be high school graduates, have a honest missions commitment, strong work ethic and a recommendation from their pastor.  These missionaries can be sent and funded by their home church or raise their own travel expenses.  Several of our summer missionaries will be assigned to a traveling team.  This group will assist our church planters with VBS, Bible clubs, evangelistic block parties and day camps. Other missionaries will be assigned to a host church for the summer and will assist with church planting coordination, Bible studies, ongoing ministries in recreation and public park settings, youth events and so forth.

Church Planting over the next three years

We are seeking churches and associations that will help us discover, mobilize and finance a church planter or church planting couple. In a region that is 90% unchurched we must start new churches of every type.  We currently need a “Military” targeted church, a “Cowboy” targeted church, a “Biker” targeted church, and several “Outdoorsmen” targeted churches in the Mat-Su Valley.  We are also seeking our first church planter(s) for Fairbanks, Alaska.  This town of 75,000 people has not had a new Southern Baptist Church in over 12 years.

Many of our current church planters are bi-vocational or have a wife who is able to provide the income. Many of our plants meet in public schools or other space that cost $300 a service for use, so ongoing support is needed. Note that it could cost as much as $12,000 to bring a planter from the lower 48.  Still, we believe God is blessing our planting efforts and we must “press on!”  Pastor, give me a call and let’s talk about how your church could send a planter or church planting couple to Alaska.

Again, thanks for partnering with us. Thanks for your commitment to missions!