In obedience to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ to, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15); and seeing the need for a mission board to aid those Bible-Believing, serious-minded men called of God to reach their respective fields of service; and with the blessing of his pastor, Rev. Kelton Williams and the Calvary Baptist Church, Red Bank, Tennessee; Dr. Homer Smith began “Word for the World Baptist Ministries” in January 1980. Word for the World Baptist Missions began with 1 missionary family and 10 supporting churches. The Home Office was located in a back bedroom of Bro. Homer Smith’s house in Rossville, Georgia. The Home Office Staff consisted of Dr. Homer Smith – Founder / Executive Director, Mrs. Ellie Smith – Secretary, Rudy Stembridge – Office Manager / Bookkeeper, and Mrs. Cyndie Stembridge – Assistant Secretary / Bookkeeper. The furniture and equipment consisted of two desks, and chairs placed end to end, facing each other, one Olympia typewriter, one Royal adding machine, and one telephone. Our bookkeeping systems consisted of a card file, a black hand-written ledger, and a checkbook, but God blessed. Word for the World Baptist Missions held its first Missionary Candidate School in October of that year and accepted 4 missionary families. By the end of our first year, we had 5 missionary families and had handled over $18,000 in missionary support and other funds. Also, in 1980, Word for the World Baptist Missions moved under the authority of Tri-County Baptist Temple of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Dr. Homer Smith served as interim pastor. In 1982, Bro. Rudy Stembridge came on full-time in the Home Office as Office Manager from being part time. In 1983, the Home Office moved out of Dr. Homer Smith’s home and into the brand new facilities of Tri-County Baptist Temple located outside Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. This was a major move for both the church and the Mission Board, and gave us plenty of room to “spread out the operation so no one was working on top of another.” The move also increased our needs for the Home Office. We had to add a new telephone system, 2 telephone lines, a copier system, and 4 more desks and chairs. We added more “mail boxes” for the missionaries and began having regular Office hours. By the end of our 5th year, 1984, Word for the World had grown to 26 missionary families, handled over $300,000 in missionary support and project funds, and began using computer systems to help with the paperwork. In 1986, Word for the World moved the date of our Missionary Candidate School to the third full week of June from the third full week in August. In 1987 Bro. Steve Smith joined our Home Office staff as a full-time bookkeeper and was a great asset to our staff. In 1988, Mrs. Marge Nadeja joined our Home Office staff as a volunteer office helper and has been a capable, competent, conscientious, worker. In 1988, Word for the World Baptist Missions also broke the one million dollar mark! We handled over $1,000,000 in missionary support and project funds. God continued to bless! In 1994, Bro. Steve Smith felt led by God to move to Fort Smith, Arkansas to help a pastor build a church, and it was a great loss to the Home Office, but we Praise the Lord for Bro. Steve’s faithful service for 7 years! 1994 was also another landmark year! Word for the World went over the 100 mark for missionary families. By the end of 1994, there were 103 missionary families and we had handled over $2,000,000 in missionary support and project funds! In 1995, Word for the World Baptist Missions began using a custom written computer program called “Mission Manager” written by Mr. Wolfgang J. Scott. This proved to be one of the greatest changes for the better that we have made since going on computer in 1984. It allowed 3 (or more) people to be processing support at the same time, and still allow each to keep up and track their own work for verification until it was updated. This also allowed us to store and access more information about churches, missionaries, deductions, checks, and vendors than ever before. Word for the World Baptist Missions saw the largest increase in productivity and efficiency since our beginning in January 1980. God continues to bless! In 1998, Dr. Homer Smith resigned as interim pastor of Tri-County Baptist Temple. Word for the World Baptist Ministries was then moved under the authority of the New Testament Baptist Church in Elizabethton, Tennessee where Dr. Bill Allison is pastor. The Home Office was moved out of Tri-County Baptist Temple’s facilities and into its own facility located in the Catoosa County, Georgia area. In 2000, we discovered that the “Missions Manager” program would not work and so we contracted Mr. Don Mace of Dunamis Technologies to help write a new software program application for Word for the World Baptist Ministries. It took all of 2000 to complete and it gave us the ability to have our own website. When we began 2001, we had a new software system, and 2 new computer systems. All these were provided by the kindness of God’s people and their desire to make Word for the World Baptist Ministries the best that it can be. In 2004, Dr. Homer Smith suffered 3 major strokes and has been hindered physically since then. New Testament Baptist Church closed its doors and Word for the World Baptist Ministries was moved under the authority of Bible Believers Baptist Church of Stowe, PA where Dr. Mike Collingwood is pastor. In 2006 God blessed Word for the World Baptist Ministries with a new facility located at 1981 Lafayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. This facility was designed, built, and used as an insurance office for many years, but when we looked at it, it was perfect for our needs. It gave us 3,200 square feet of space. It also gave us a classroom where we can hold Missionary Candidate School classes and Bible Institute classes. 2008 was one of our best years ever. There were more souls saved, more support funds handled, and we were able to pay off the debt on our building.
On February 6th, 2010, God saw fit to take Dr. Homer Smith home to be with him. His failing health gave way to his graduation to glory. The funeral service was held at Liberty Baptist Church in Chickamauga, Georgia. It was a great service and many family and friends were in attendance. Due to Dr. Smith’s home going, the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors unanimously voted to appoint Bro. Rudy Stembridge as President /Executive Director of Word for the World Baptist Ministries, Inc. These plans were made after Dr. Smith suffered 3 strokes in 2004. Bro. Stembridge has been with Word for the World Baptist Ministries since it began and is well equipped to take over the leadership of the ministry. Although we will miss Dr. Smith, we are committed to continuing Dr. Smith’s legacy to be a ministry of helps to Local Churches and missionaries all over the world.
Currently there are 70 missionary families serving with Word for the World Baptist Missions in 24 countries, on six continents, around the world. There are over 1,700 churches and individuals who support at least one of these missionary families. This group of supporters represents all 50 states and 12 foreign countries.
We are excited about our future in the Lord, and we want you to be too!