NorthCoast Team Travels to Maine

NorthCoast Team Travels to Maine

When a vision team from NorthCoast Baptist Association traveled to Maine recently, they expected to learn about opportunities that are part of the Three Strand Partnership, teaming Ohio churches with ministries in Maine. 

However, while seeing opportunities for outreach, the team saw another need -- pastors and church planters doing challenging work and needing believers to come along side them to let them know they are not alone. 

"The thing that hit me the hardest was the hardness of the soil there," said Darrell Deer, pastor of College Heights Baptist Church in Elyria. “I was impacted by the need I saw for these people to have someone come along side of them. Many of them have to deal with the pressures of ministry alone or with just a few people by their side." 

The NorthCoast vision team, composed of Deer, NorthCoast DOM Mark Jones, Pastor Dan Duffy of Providence Baptist Church, Thomas Hicks, pastor of FBC Sheffield Lake, and Pastor Steve Mayes of Good Shepherd Baptist Church met with eleven potential ministry partners and were challenged and encouraged by the opportunities in Maine -- a state where less than ten percent of the people are considered believers. "It appeared as though each pastor felt a connection with a different ministry," said Jones. "We all learned that ministry in Maine often gets lonely and that spiritual warfare is evident." 

While many opportunities for ministry exist, Deer was overwhelmed by the loneliness and sacrifice he saw among the pastors in Maine. "It was kind of amazing that the plea for someone to walk along side of them in ministry was far greater than any appeals for money or mission teams," said Deer. "I was also struck by the sacrifice of many of the planters and leaders there.” 

To come along side the pastors and church planters in Maine, Jones, who is the Three Strand point person, hopes to take an annual association trip to Maine to impact multiple areas. Ministry opportunities include outreach on college campuses, work with addicted and homeless, as well as construction projects. 

"There are plenty of opportunities for Ohio's 700 plus Southern Baptist works to impact the 17 planters in Maine," said Jones. "We have the opportunity to impact the greatest unreached people groups in the United States." 

As Ohio churches look toward partnering with churches in Maine, Deer hopes they see not only the lost population, but also the loneliness of the planters who are trying to reach them. "It would be great if we could make sure that all of these planters and ministries know that they have brothers and sisters walking along beside them," said Deer. "They are not alone." 

For more information about the Three-Strand Partnership and how you can get involved, contact Mark Jones, state coordinator, at You can also learn more and see videos at

 -- Stephanie Heading

Pastor Brandon Dyer of Windsor Christian Fellowship (Windsor, ME) sharing building progress and further construction needs with Pastors Darrell Deer, Steve Mayes, Daniel Duffy and Thomas Hicks. 

Collegiate Missionary, Marilyn McClendon explains outreach opportunities on college campuses to Pastors Daniel Duffy and Thomas Hicks.