HARTSVILLE, S.C. (BP)--Pastors must do their part if Southern Baptists are to fulfill the Great Commission
, Rod Elliott
"If we truly want to love God's world by fulfilling the Great Commission and Commandment, the Cooperative Program helps us accomplish and partner with other Southern Baptist churches that desire the same," said Elliott, 38, senior pastor of Kelleytown Baptist Church in Hartsville, S.C.
"I think the pastor has to be a cheerleader for the Cooperative Program," Elliott
"From a practical and financial standpoint, the Cooperative Program is the best way for us to be on mission around the world.
If we truly want the world to hear, Southern Baptists must continue to fly the Cooperative Program banner."
Missions education resources from the state and national conventions can give pastors a boost in setting forth the call to missions, Elliott
"One of the things I enjoy is the Missionary Moments prayer guide," the pastor said.
"It's one of my favorite resources.
It makes it so simple to keep the Cooperative Program in front of everybody as you lift up a missionary's prayer concern.
"The 'Every Number Has a Story' CD is another one of my favorite resources," Elliott
initially learned about missions, the Cooperative Program and relationships from "pillars of my home church and community," many of whom were his
Royal Ambassadors leaders from the first through sixth grade at First Baptist Church in Graniteville, S.C.
"The Cooperative Program allows us to be on mission around the world 24/7," Elliott
"For a church our size we do many things, but if the many things we do in the name of Jesus don't revolve around evangelism and discipleship, we really have to evaluate the purpose in doing them," Elliott
"Time is precious," he
reflected, "and as a father, I understand my greatest ministry is in my own home.
Over the course of several men's retreats, accountability groups have been established "that have really in my estimation changed the culture of Kelleytown Baptist Church
, and proved to be effective in discipling other men," Elliott
Women in the church took note and have begun similar small discipleship groups.
"I have been led to begin a process of one-on-one discipleship with a select group of men and boys," Elliott
"Last year we partnered nationally with a sister church in North Carolina and in Vermont for missions work," Elliott
"One consisted of backyard Bible clubs at apartment complexes and the latter consisted of construction work."
Internationally, the church has established a relationship with a missionary family in Eastern Europe and with a local church.
members have ministered there and the missionary family has visited at Kelleytown on numerous occasions.
That relationship started when Elliott was a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
"My wife Tina and I were one of the couples who said to our dear friends, 'We're going to hold the ropes for you,' for this couple who went out with the International Mission Board," Elliott
As Kelleytown members have grown spiritually as well as numerically, they have become increasingly willing to make a difference in the community and world through mission opportunities, said Elliott
, who is now envisioning the church moving toward the next level that God has in mind for it.
"I coach two teams and I'm amazed at the number of kids I coach who tell me they have no church affiliation whatsoever," Elliott
"Personally, my goal is to verbally witness to one individual a week with the hope of leading them to Christ," Elliott
"As a leader, I want our people investing in relationships and evangelism and they need to see their pastor model that for them."
Elliott said he was excited when God began opening doors to minister at Kelleytown Baptist.
It was a missions-minded church that wanted to impact its community and wanted to be a pastor-led church when he
was called as senior pastor in 2006.
The members were willing to do what needed to be done to grow and they had a history of long-tenured pastors.
"The benefit of a long-term pastorate is ultimately about relationships and stability," Elliott