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June-July 2014

Looking for Leaders

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One Free Will Baptist couple shares a firsthand account of life and ministry in a mission church...


Meet Mike

by Mike Sitter


I am one of the founding members of Turning Point Free Will Baptist Church, along with my wife Shane, and children Hunter (age 14) and Caroline (age 10). For a few moments, I would like to share the exciting things happening in our new congregation…from a member’s standpoint.

My family has worked closely with Pastor Barry and Turning Point since the church started three years ago. Hunter and I help each week with setup and teardown, and I split audio-visual responsibilities with another member of the church. We are active in community and fundraising events, including the annual Hydrate Kids Camp, which attracts anywhere from 50 to 100 children from local neighborhoods. We also sponsor a “Reverse Trick or Treat” around Halloween, handing out bags (with our church logo) that contain flashlights, glow sticks, and other items to promote children’s safety.

During the time Turning Point has been in this community, I have seen the church grow and mature. Barry has worked hard to make the middle school cafeteria look more inviting. We recently added tall, black drapery to surround the worship area and make the space look smaller.

Each Sunday, a different family is responsible for breakfast treats, which brings church members in just a little early to grab something to eat, talk with their neighbors, and feel welcomed by the church.

We have maintained a core group of worshipers, with additional guests and visitors each week. Pastor Barry’s sermons are the primary reason we have maintained a solid core. He makes Scripture relevant and personal for each and every member.

Worship music continues to be refined. Barry’s son Austin has done a great job with the music service and leads the band in addition to providing lead vocals. He is busy recruiting additional band members from outside the core group. I am impressed at the leadership role Austin has taken at Turning Point.

We average 15-20 guests each week, and I am confident our numbers will grow. We are considering a new meeting place close enough to maintain our current congregation, but to potentially reach new members in different neighborhoods. More important than the number of guests we see, however, is the quality of our time each Sunday and the impact Turning Point has made on my family and our neighborhood. From the outset, Barry made it clear this church should influence our community, and we are succeeding in small but meaningful ways.

I have watched my son Hunter grow from a difficult and stubborn 13-year-old to a young man who accepts responsibility for himself, his academics, and his athletics. I never have to wake him up early on Sunday morning to help me set up for church; he is always ready to go. Barry has been an important mentor to Hunter, giving him a sounding board and wise counsel to guide him through the transition from adolescence into adulthood.

My daughter Caroline has matured into a young girl who is attentive and always looking for ways to make Barry’s sermons real in her own life. She is kind to others, respectful of adults, and diligent in her schoolwork and activities.

I have seen marked changes beyond my family as well. Austin, one of Hunter’s classmates, is the youngest of three and a big challenge in terms of behavior. Over the past couple of months, though, I have noticed a change in Austin. He is less rambunctious, says please and thank you more often, and treats Hunter and other classmates with respect. Austin has been coming to our service on Sunday by himself, walking 15 minutes from his house to the middle school to attend worship.

Like most churches in the early stages, we wish we had more regular members. But we are grateful for those we do have, and I deeply appreciate what Barry, Jessica, and the entire Long family have done for our family and neighborhood.


Meet Shane

Hi! My name is Shane, and I am Mike’s wife. I grew up in a Baptist church but drifted away as an adult. With two children, Mike and I realized the importance of church involvement, but we kept putting it off. Every time my mother called to check on her grandkids and me, she always ended the conversation with, “I sure am praying that y’all find a church.”

Three years ago, the Long family moved into a home around the corner from us. They invited us to attend a weekly Bible study in their home. We took the opportunity, and, as a family, got involved again in learning about God and the teachings of Christ. Three years later, we are helping Barry and Jessica grow a church in our community!

As a family, we have grown in our faith, and the kids are learning what it means to live a life in Christ. I recently called Pastor Barry and shared a phone conversation I had with my mom. She told me that after all these years her prayers had finally been answered. The influence of Turning Point Church has helped us grow closer as a family and has helped Mike and me deal with the everyday challenges of raising children in today’s world.


Home Missionaries Barry and Jessica Long are planting Turning Point Free Will Baptist Church in Aurora, Colorado. Learn more at:



©2014 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists