South Woods’ Purpose Statement: We purpose to make disciples who joyfully serve Christ together in ministry and missions.
International Missions is part of our heartbeat at South Woods! We believe that missions means involvement in the work of Christ’s Kingdom throughout the world by means of giving, praying, and going. Since 1989, members of our congregation have been involved in short-term mission projects in Brazil, Jamaica, Turks & Caicos, Albania, Russia, Canada, Ukraine, France, Ecuador, Mexico, Sierra Leone and various countries within Central Asia. Former members serve as missionaries all over the globe. We are seeking to develop into a world Christian congregation, so that we live with a consciousness of what God is doing beyond our nation’s borders.
Within the past few years, South Woods adopted an unreached people group within Central Asia. We send teams to that area multiple times a year and have also commissioned several of our families to serve there long-term. We are praying for gospel fruit among those where He has not been named.
Below is a list of workers South Woods supports that can be named in such a public place:
Josh & Jenny Manley
In God’s kind providence, Josh Manley received an invitation from the ruling sheik in Ras Al-Kaihmah, UAE to establish an evangelical church. The sheik’s invitation included donation of property for a church site. Josh planted the church and witnessed the incredible ways the Lord provided for a building. The multi-cultural congregation continues to grow, develop leaders, and train pastors to serve in other nations in the region. We’re thankful to be involved in supporting this work. Josh is from our area and interned at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC.
Brian & Joanne Parks
Brian, a Memphis native, served for many years in campus ministry in Dubai, UAE with InterVarsity. He and Joanne sensed a burden to plant another evangelical church in Dubai, so they spent a year training at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, then began Covenant Hope Church as a daughter congregation of United Christian Church of Dubai. The congregation of ex-pats reflects the diversity of Dubai. Brian continues to train leaders for the UAE and neighboring countries. Partnering with their work has been a joy for us.
Mark & Cindy Morris
Daniel & Kristen Lowry
After serving in Central Asia with the International Mission Board and serving on church mission staffs, Mark and Cindy sensed a burden to work with internationals in our backyard in Memphis. They began Refugee Memphis, focusing particularly on Central Asian and Middle Eastern refugees that have relocated in Memphis. We’re glad to be involved with supporting this ministry as well as serving and engaging local refugees.
Kristen became a member of South Woods shortly after graduating from Union University. She began serving with the International Mission Board as a photojournalist. Soon, in visits to Nairobi, she fell in love with serving the multitude of street boys in that city. Meanwhile, Daniel pastored a church outside Louisville while completing seminary. The Lord brought Daniel and Kristen together. She enjoyed a period as a pastor’s wife before they moved back to Kenya where Daniel does theological education and pastoral training, and Kristen continues work with street kids. Our visits with them have been outrageously joyous in seeing the work.
Derek & Elizabeth Bass
South Woods got involved with Derek when he sought to plant a church in New England. After several years that work didn’t develop but another work, quite suited to his gifts, opened. Derek is an Old Testament professor at the Tyndale Theological Seminary in Amsterdam where he’s involved in mentoring, teaching, and training students from all over the world. Derek, Elizabeth, and their family regularly have students in their home. They’re also involved in a church plant in Amsterdam. We’re encouraged by their work.
Pastor Brian Croft began Practical Shepherding Ministries as a means to serve local congregations. It has spread globally through translation of publications, and workshops to equip and train church leaders. Pastor Phil and Brian co-authored a useful book, Conduct Gospel-Centered Funerals. The book is also available in Spanish and Mandarin. The passion to mentor for ministry syncs well with our passion at South Woods, so we’re glad to be involved with Brian and Practical Shepherding.
Pastors Phil and Matt met Thomas during doctoral studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, as Thomas served on staff at Providence Church, Raleigh, NC (a fellow HUB Church for Central Asia). This mission-hearted church sent Thomas and his family to London to plant an evangelical congregation. We’re glad to partner with Thomas as he seeks to proclaim the gospel and establish a gospel-focused congregation in the midst of one of the world’s largest and most diverse cities.
Kevin & Edineia Millard
Kevin Millard served as South Woods’ first pastoral intern in the late 1980s. Kevin and Pastor Phil did their first international mission trip to Brazil in 1989. A year later in another trip to Brazil, Pastor Phil introduced Kevin to Edineia. A few years later, while Kevin served in children’s work in Albania, they were married. Kevin, Edineia, and their young children Deborah and Stephen had to be evacuated by the U.S. Marines from Albania during a coup. After some time in France and then back with us at South Woods, they sensed God’s call to Brazil. They planted a church in Niteroi that now has national leadership. Kevin has worked for many years with Fiel Ministries heading up their Adopt-a-Pastor ministry. He also helped to plant a church in São José dos Campos, as well as worked with needy children. Recently, he has partnered with Anchored in Truth Ministries to lead their church planting work in the Portuguese-speaking world. We’re thankful to be involved with the Millards as their home church.
Mike & Amy Beaulieu
Mike & Amy previously served with the IMB in two Central Asian countries, working with an unreached people group. They returned to recoup and refresh in the body at South Woods. After a short-term mission trip sponsored by our church, they fell in love with Tbilisi, Georgia and the opportunity to live missionally in that city. Mike will be starting a tech business in connection with Jason Fisher, another of our members who is CEO of Cornerstone Technologies and a leader with Business as Mission. Mike, Amy, Aiden, and Olive will be part of an international church in the city, helping to serve Christ in the community and to reach out to a large unreached people group living in the city. They’ll be involved in helping to disciple students attending universities in the city. They’ll also be working with other Great Commission partners in the country.
Serving the Master Ministries
Steve Runer, one of our members, began this ministry a number of years ago as a means to serve broader mission needs through funding book translation work, providing for training indigenous leaders, and engaging in evangelistic opportunities. This ministry has already been involved in translating Christian books into Farsi, Swahili, Spanish, and other languages. STM has worked to see a Spanish version of Pastor Phil’s Elders in the Life of the Church will be available in 2020.
South Woods has been involved with 9Marks Ministries since its start. This extension of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC, produces resources, hosts conferences, and provides pastoral training for national and international Christian leaders. Pastor Phil’s Elders in the Life of the Church is part of the 9Marks Book Series. The burden to see gospel clarity and faithful churches so well emphasized by 9Marks is at the heart of what our church stands for too. We’re glad to partner with 9Marks in national and global mission work.
After joining South Woods, April served with Campus Outreach in an Asian country working with students, before going on staff with their ministry in Birmingham, AL to help train student workers. She has an infectious desire to serve and equip those entrusted to her care. April’s had the joy of seeing a number of students disperse to other nations for the sake of the gospel. We’re happy to join April in her work.
New England Training and Sending, located in Williston, VT, trains pastors to plant churches in New England and other challenging settings. One of our former pastoral interns, Mitch Kimbrell, became part of NETS a few years ago with the aim to plant a church in New England. In God’s providence, Christ Memorial Church in Williston, the home of NETS, asked Mitch to succeed their senior pastor when he retires. We’ve had visits to NETS and love the work they’re doing, so much so that they’re part of our regular missions support.
Central Asia Affinity Group International Mission Board
Since our first short-term trip to Central Asia, many of our members have traveled to serve in the region with our workers and to do evangelistic outreach. We’ve focused much of our work and visits with an Unreached People Group. We’ve also been involved in providing teaching and training for some of the leadership and workers with the IMB. South Woods is a HUB church for Central Asia serving with a half-dozen other churches to help connect local churches to gospel work in that region. We join with other SBC churches in the annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions each December.
One of our long time friends and colleagues in mission work will be heading to a large Central Asian city in 2020 to plant a church. Andy and his family have spent lots of time in this particular nation among a number of unreached people groups, so they’re prepared to engage in reaching many with the gospel in their city. We’re glad to partner with Andy and his home church (a sister church where he served as an elder and missions pastor) as they send him out to plant a church.
Jason and Eryn Fisher lived and served as missionaries in Romania a number of years ago, as Jason began to learn the process of Business as Mission (BAM). Since that time, he has been involved in starting nearly twenty businesses in other nations, some among multiple unreached people groups, to serve as a base for gospel work. His businesses run the gamut from technology to agriculture, employing locals, providing for missionaries, and helping to equip Christian leaders. He is partnering with Mike & Amy Beaulieu in their work in Tbilisi, Georgia. We’re thankful for Jason’s unique gifts to see business opportunities that can become instruments to serve Christ among the nations.