In the late 60s, after seeing the spiritual needs in the intermountain west, Dr. Wally Higgins set out to meet those needs by planting gospel-preaching churches. He partnered with John Lovegrove, a pioneer worker in Mormon areas of the West, Pastor Clifford Clark of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Pastor Mike Schepis of Wichita, Kansas, to form Northwest Baptist Missions. This new mission agency aimed to reach this neglected section of our country by recruiting missionary pastors to start new churches.
Wally faithfully served God through the ministry of Northwest Baptist Missions until September 2001, when he retired and handed the direction of the mission over to Ron Ehmann.
Ron continues to expand church planting efforts in the West with the prayer that healthy, biblical churches will continue to meet the growing spiritual needs.
Over the last fifty years, God has led many pastors and church planters to partner with Northwest Baptist Missions to establish Independent Baptist Churches in the western half of the United States. Currently, we partner with thirty missionaries serving seventeen churches in seven western states. We continue to reach out to America’s neglected frontier with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Like every believer’s mission, our mission is wrapped in Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations. We strive to partner with local churches to send church planting teams to the Intermountain West region. The farmlands, deserts, mountains, and Pacific coastal regions host diverse people and cultural groups with many ministry opportunities. Although significantly influenced by Mormonism, not all regions feel its effects equally. Many reflect a lack of spiritual influence — desperate for a single gospel witness.
We also provide leadership, counseling, and assistance to existing churches that need help. By God’s grace, we want to see healthy churches that plant new churches in our region. We want to reach western hearts from the heart of the West.
Providentially, God placed Northwest Baptist Missions in the Salt Lake City area — the geographic center of our mission field — enabling us to keep up with the cultural changes and growing spiritual needs.
We seek to help new missionaries discern God’s will for the location of a new church plant and then assist them in raising financial backing for the new spiritual venture. Following this, we partner new church planters with experienced ones for a year of mentoring, adapting to the culture, and planning for the new ministry launch.
Ron Ehmann loves God, His church, and the West. He spent several of his early ministry years in Wyoming. Then, after a year of ministering in South Africa, he came as the first full-time pastor of the newly planted Grace Baptist Church in Elko, Nevada. In the early 2000’s Dr. Higgins started the process of retiring and handing the direction of the ministry to Ron, who has faithfully served since then.
He would love to talk to you about church planting in the West.