Coy and Jean Brown

Coy and Jean Brown

Small rural churches were the ministry setting for many of our Mission:Dignity® recipients. It’s not uncommon to read about the days at a modest clapboard church nestled in farmland an hour’s drive from the nearest metropolitan area with only a few dozen residents nearby.

But small inner-city churches are an integral part of Southern Baptist life, too. While there may be thousands of people living within a few blocks, these congregations also wrestle with limited resources and very often cannot pay much in the way of salary and benefits to the pastors who serve.

For 40 years, Coy Brown was the pastor of Greater New Hope Baptist Church in the Oak Cliff community of Dallas with his wife Jean by his side. It was, and still is, a neighborhood marked by widespread poverty, but the Browns introduced people to the riches of the gospel and shared a message of hope against a backdrop of socioeconomic despair. They walked with their people through births, deaths, weddings, sickness and seasons of both sorrow and joy. When it came time to retire in 2011, Coy and Jean found themselves at a crossroads. The modest retirement account that had been set aside with GuideStone® by their church was depleted in just three years. Fortunately, the Browns heard about Mission:Dignity and were approved for a $300 monthly grant that has made a big difference in their budget.

On a recent renewal application, they wrote, “Sometimes, our food gets low, but we make it. Our finances run tight from month to month, but we make ends meet by the help of God.” Mission:Dignity is one way God is helping Coy and Jean Brown today. The check they receive each month not only allows them to buy groceries, but also assures them of the love and care of their Southern Baptist family — brothers and sisters in churches large and small, urban and rural, whose gifts make this ministry possible.

Caring for the pastor and his family at the crossroads — whether those are dirt roads in a remote town or busy intersections in a large city — is what we’ve been about for over a century. As we close our centennial year, we look back with gratitude but forward with expectation as we continue to be the arms of Christ extended to his faithful servants in a personal and tangible way.