Day 6Don and Barbra
ConleyChurch planters Don and Barbra Conley are reaching out to
the unchurched population of San Diego County, California, where only one in
every 100 residents professes to know Christ and 75 to 80 percent of the
residents are unchurched.
In the Encanto community in San Diego, where Don is pastor of Encanto
Southern Baptist Church, theirs is the only Southern Baptist church around.
Don pastored there from 1975 to 1978, left and
returned in 1981 as a bivocational pastor. He has worked there as a full-time
NAMB-appointed missionary since 1999. Years before, God had given him a vision
for planting churches, and in 1993 he helped start his first church plant in a
local home. The Conleys have helped start seven other churches since.
Going out into the community has always been a vision of mine for as long as
Ive been in the ministry, he says. Its been hard for me to stay the pastor of
one church, because I really want to go out and knock on doors.
Mission: To plant churches and reach the multi-ethnic and prison
communities near San Diego, California.
Prayer request: Pray that the people of Encanto Southern Baptist
Church would have an expanded vision of ministry and that more opportunities
would arise to minister to recently released prisoners. Also pray for the
starting of a housing program for local inmates being released from
In the Encanto community, the Conleys are knocking on doors and ministering
to the multi-ethnic area of Caucasian, Filipino, Samoan, African American and
Hispanic residents. In addition to making plans to plant culturally specific
churches in the area, Encanto has an Hispanic pastor on staff and is reaching
out to the different groups through education and career counseling, Bible
study and mentoring.
On Saturdays, teams of volunteers from Encanto use computer-based training
to teach elementary to high school children reading skills and biblical
Don and Barbra Conley have made their harvest field the prisons
and ethnically diverse community of San Diego County.
PHOTOS BY JAMES DOTSON
Members of Encanto also go to local prisons to minister to inmates. Barbra
heads up a program called Women Refined, which is geared toward ministering to
women inmates while in prison and even after.
We go in to build relationships so that when they get out theyll have a
place to go, Barbra says. We try to keep them from going to their old friends
for money and a place to stay. If they return to them, theyll probably get
right back into their old life. We walk alongside them and help them set goals
and stay focused.
Women Refined helps these women find places to live and steady jobs. Three
months before they are released, mentors begin the process of forming
friendships and trust with them so that when they come out they arent forced
back into the old lifestyle. Through Bible study and support groups, the
program teaches them how to live responsibly without drugs and the old
influences that threw them into trouble to begin with. Barbra has seen women
reunite with their children and grandchildren, and several have come to know
Christ. A similar mens ministry is starting as well, and the Conleys hope to
build transitional housing near the church where released inmates can live
while they get back on their feet.
To make this a reality Don and Barbra have a vision to acquire the necessary
resources over the next five years and to create church planters from within
For us, says Don, church is what happens to hearts in our community.
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