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Follow-Up Team: April ‘14 Report

As Spring and warmer weather have arrived, we are grateful for the resurgence of life.  The flowers are blooming, and the trees and shrubs are leafing out. Spiritually, we see God renewing lives as well on our Carthage Campus. A couple joined our LifeGroup, not sure whether they would stay. After several weeks, the couple took the courage to share that all their lives they had lived life their way and it hadn’t gotten them anywhere. They both decided they needed to live life God’s way. This couple came to know Jesus as their personal Savior and were baptized. When the challenge came to read through the Bible in a year, they eagerly started the challenge. As they read the Bible, they were blown away by the love God has for them and the world. As a LifeGroup we have seen tremendous spiritual growth in their lives. This Easter Sunday, numerous family members came to the service because they were invited by this couple. Lives are being changed in Carthage all because of your generous giving!

To bring you up to date with One Church:

  • $2,701,853 was pledged and $2,163,949 has been received (80% of the pledged amount has been received).
  • 10% of the One Church receipts help fund missions projects, including trips taken so far this year to Mexico, Haiti, and Arlington, Texas. 
  • The funds we borrowed from our reserves have been completely paid back, allowing us to save for the final One Church projects.

The next One Church project is at the Joplin Campus. Soon, remodeling will start to give the Worship Center a fresh and more attractive worship environment. The new design will appeal to people of all ages and help us reach more people for Christ. 

You can give to One Church online at or use the building fund box on our offering envelopes.

Because of His love,
Dexter and Donna Friesen on behalf of your One Church Follow-Up Team:

Jef and Misty Frost (Joplin)
Dexter and Donna Friesen (Carthage)
Derek and Sheri Towery (North)

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2014 First Quarter Update

On Easter afternoon all three of our campuses joined together at Shoal Creek to witness the baptism of 24 precious souls. Words can’t express how thankful I am for what you are doing for the Lord! Lives are being changed for eternity through your prayers, giving and service. Other highlights of our journey thus far into 2014 include:

  • We purchased rights for our entire church family to access more than 3,500 Bible studies and discipleship resources from the RightNow Media Library. Biblical help for your marital, financial, parental, and spiritual needs is now just a few clicks away. If you haven’t signed up, get us your email address and then accept the invitation from RightNow Media when it arrives in your inbox. This free resource allows you to feed your soul anytime, anywhere.
  • Mission teams to Mexico, Haiti, and Arlington, TX, helped a couple dozen people pray to receive Christ, along with providing medical and construction help.
  • Gifts to One Church, our building campaign, continue strong. See the enclosed letter for more details. I’m very excited about the remodeling of our Worship Center on the Joplin Campus, which is scheduled for this summer!
  • First quarter giving to our general fund was the best ever. Part of that is because of around 100 new families that have started financially supporting the work of Forest Park. We also were blessed by a good number of families responding to “step up” their giving to the next level.

There is so much good happening through God’s work at Forest Park.  From our Children’s Ministry to our missions work to our LifeGroups, God is drawing people to Himself. Thank you for helping us touch lives for eternity.

I love you,
Pastor John

P.S. Sheri and I love our online giving tool. Check it out on our website,

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2013 Third Quarter Update

Thank you for responding to my last letter. In the past three months we’ve gone from being $35,000 in the red to being about $25,000 in the black. Much of our progress has come from our staff’s willingness to trim spending. But your faithful giving has also made an impact. 

We’ve gone from being about $100,000 behind budget needs to about $75,000 behind. It takes an unselfish church to reach people who are far from God. Your willingness to sacrifice to advance the Gospel inspires me and pleases God.

Ultimately, our bottom line isn’t dollars. It’s changed lives. Earlier this month I reached out to a young woman who was saved at Mission Joplin. When she didn’t show up for her baptism I called and discovered that her family made fun of her and talked her out of it. She had already decided, however, that pleasing God is more important than the approval of her family and was ready to reschedule. 

On the day of her baptism her sister walked with her as I explained when to go to the changing room, how to hold my arm, etc. Her sister interrupted and said, “I need to do this, too.” I asked if first she needed to repent of her sin and put her faith in Jesus. She got teary eyed and said, “Yes, I do.” I shared the Gospel and led her to the Lord. The sisters, our new sisters in Christ, were baptized together.

There is SO MUCH GOOD happening through God’s hand at Forest Park. From our children’s ministry to our missions work to our LifeGroups, God is drawing people to Himself.

Let’s finish the year strong. If we all do our part, we can fully fund the ministries that God is using to change lives. Thank you for helping us touch lives for eternity.

I love you,
Pastor John

P.S. You can help us save money by calling the office to cancel your offering envelope mailings and giving online. Go to the "Give" section of our website ( and check it out.

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Follow-Up Team: October ‘13 Report

We are about to enter into the final year of our One Church campaign! Right now, $1.7 million has been received out of the $2.7 million pledged. That’s 63.8% of the pledges with 62.1% of the time lapsed. So, we are on track to meet the pledged amount by the end of the campaign. That’s good news! BUT, it’s not over, and this is when we need to finish strong!

Fall is in the air, and we thought we might encourage your commitment to the One Church campaign with a football story. Tim Tebow tells a story about his junior year in college at the University of Florida. Coaches had been encouraging the team all spring and summer during training to “finish strong.” Their rugged SEC conference schedule that included victories against Georgia, Alabama, LSU and Tennessee would require hard work and commitment to achieve their ultimate goals of a conference and national championship. An early season loss to Mississippi dampened those chances, but the coaches continued to encourage them to “finish strong.” Ultimately, they did just that by winning the rest of their games with Tebow leading them to a national championship victory over Oklahoma. In the ensuing celebration following the game, Tebow was met by his coach, Urban Meyer, who greeted him with arms open wide and saying, “Tim, you finished strong.” Tebow says that is one of his most memorable moments in his athletic career (the coach’s words, not the win). He goes on to say that even more important than his coach’s words, he wants to one day be greeted by our Lord Jesus Christ, with open arms saying, “Tim, you finished strong in my work.” That’s what we want Jesus to be able to say about Forest Park as we minister to the Four-State area. What better motivation than to one day hear those words from Matthew 25:23, “Well done, my good and faithful servant…”

Thank you so much for your faithful giving during the past two years. Much has been accomplished on all three campuses because of your commitment. Let’s remain faithful during the last year of our One Church campaign so that we can meet our pledged goal of 2.7 million dollars. We will then be able to look back at what God accomplished through us and be able to say, “We finished strong!” Praise God for what He has done and is going to do through each of us.

Derek and Sheri Towery on behalf of your One Church Follow-Up Team,

Jef and Misty Frost (Joplin)
Dexter and Donna Friesen (Carthage)
Derek and Sheri Towery (North)

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2013 Second Quarter Update

Your church needs your help. For the first half of this year, we’re about $35,000 in the red. We spent about $25,000 less than the budget allows and that helps. But giving was about $60,000 short of what our budget requires.

So much good is happening. Average worship attendance is up 6% to 2,012. For the 10th consecutive year, we’ve surpassed 100 baptisms. We had 10 boys and girls pray to receive Christ at VBS. Our Colorado mission team helped fourteen kids experience the new birth at Rodeo Bible Camp. Mission teams to Cambodia and Thailand report God’s powerful hand at work in those countries. Our students had their faith revived at camp and served in the Moore, Oklahoma disaster relief efforts. Mission Joplin is not only reaching people for Christ, but helping them become active at Forest Park. Everything has been going well, except for our giving to our regular budget.

Each of our campuses will make whatever sacrifices we have to make to finish the year in the black. But God’s will is for God’s people to support God’s work. And He is working! Would you pray about helping us catch up and finish the year strong?

An increasing number of us are enjoying the convenience of giving online through our website at If you need help setting up an account, call the office. Jesus taught that every gift is recorded and rewarded. He said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

God is using Forest Park to change hundreds of lives. I got an email from a member who said, “Hi, John. You will be baptizing Bill tomorrow. Praise God. This is another young man that I never thought would have come to the Lord.” –Beth

Another email said, “When we left our church we felt like we were displaced. No place to call home. Since coming to Forest Park we feel we have found our ‘home.’ The people are wonderful and the sermons are mighty. We found a LifeGroup we truly enjoy. Leaving the services today we both remarked how much we feel like home there. Thank you for helping make us feel this way.” –Susan

Your giving is making a difference. Pray that God will stir His people to fully fund His work at Forest Park. Thank you for helping us touch lives for eternity.

I love you,
Pastor John

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