When Charlie Pitford began working as a Bible working in Marceline, Missouri in 2021, church attendance averaged eight people per week. However, over the past year, the church attendance has more than doubled with about 20 weekly attendees.
Due to Covid, Pitford was laid off from his job. However, God already had a new job lined up for him. Less than two hours after Pitford lost his job, Robert Wagley, former executive secretary, and Lee Roccholz, ministerial director, asked if Pitford would consider being a Bible worker in the area.
Previously, the Marceline church was part of a district that included three other churches and had one pastor. When the previous pastor relocated, the conference wanted to assign two churches to one Bible worker and two to another Bible worker. The conference’s hope was that replacing one pastor with two Bible workers would give the rural churches more resources to grow.
Pitford accepted the offer and has been intentionally conversing with community members since. Pitford said he has handed out thousands of books to community members and has heard positive feedback from some of these individuals. He has also had several Bible studies with community members and recently had a baptism.
Pitford said he has enjoyed being a spiritual mentor. He said he enjoys meeting people’s needs and finds the work encouraging to himself. He said he believes spiritual mentoring is important and it can be as simple as a short conversation.
“Even if it’s only for two or three minutes, that’s mentoring to me,” Pitford reflected.
When asked what Pitford credits the attendance growth to, he said it was intentional conversations.
Rochholz said he is happy to see the growth in attendance and says Bible workers in rural churches have been successful.
“The conference believes that small churches in rural areas are important and need to grow. … Bible work is all about taking the time to build relationships with people and helping them on their spiritual journey,” Rochholz said.