A LETTER FROM SYCM FOUNDER GEORGE KREGER
Joplin has always held fond memories for me. When I was 14 years old, I visited Joplin for the first time with my church youth group. We traveled down to a weekend rally at Ozark Christian College from First Christian Church in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Our student ministry had a remarkable time and I was impacted greatly. I remember thinking I would go to college there someday. And over my remaining high school years I visited Joplin two or three more times for similar events.
As it turned out, I ended up attending Lincoln Christian College and Seminary in Lincoln, Illinois. The choice between OCC and Lincoln was tough, but our youth minister at the time was a Lincoln graduate, and that proved the deciding factor. But early in my years at Lincoln I met a graduate student named Ken Idleman, who would eventually become President of Ozark Christian College for several years. During my seminary years I became friends with several “Joplinites” who continued their preparation for ministry at LCS after graduating from OCC. Some of those friendships remain close today.
…There was always an affinity for me to Joplin…
When the monster tornado struck Joplin this past May I was riveted to the news for several days. The destruction and devastation was unbelievable. We had the opportunity to participate in several of the relief efforts that materialized over the following days. But even as I did so, there was a sense that we might have the opportunity to do more.
A week ago I received a copy of the publication “Compass” from Ozark Christian College with the theme “Restoring Joplin”. I read through those 27 pages with interest. I especially noted the names of churches that had been totally destroyed. I mentioned to a couple of others in our company that I wanted us to serve the churches of Joplin in some way but I was not sure what that was to be.
A few days later I received a call from Howard Brown at Southside Baptist Church of Joplin. Southside was one of the churches that had been completely destroyed by the tornado. Howard was looking for some assistance in a variety of areas with the rebuilding of the church. During our conversation he told me there were about 15 churches that had been totally destroyed. And I knew then I needed to move forward with what we would be willing to do to help those churches.
I am asking several of our partners at Save Your Church Money to assist me in this offer. Each will have the opportunity to provide services or products in unique ways to help the rebuilding process. For example, our church furnishings ally, Church Furniture Partner has already contacted some leading church manufacturers about special discounts for these churches. Church Furniture Partner will forgo any and all profits themselves. And efforts will be made to provide items for several churches in the same time-frame to increase quantity savings. Our other partners will then have other methods to come alongside this effort.
We’re contacting each of the churches affected. We realize they have already realized that God is faithful in the midst of the storm. We desire to be an additional affirmation of that same truth.