EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an expanded article based on the 2020 Cooperative Program Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. For more information, please visit www.oklahomabaptists.org/cp.
Jerry and Gwen Davidson started Frontier Native Church in 2017 with plans to disciple young Native men to be church leaders.
It’s a church plant 15 years in the making. The youth of Hobart, First started going to Alaska in 2006 to lead in Vacation Bible School for Native children in Anchorage and were invited the next year to also to lead a week-long Native Youth Camp in Wasilla. When the Davidsons—who helped with the Hobart, First youth—went with them in 2011, they saw the need for a year-round rather than just a one-week presence each year.
“We’d have 25 to 35 youth at those weeklong camps and began to realize, if we had a longtime presence here, we’d have good success in raising up a pastor from that,” Davidson said.
The retired physician’s assistant and his wife drove 3,500 miles from Oklahoma to Alaska in January 2017.
“We wanted to be on the ground and have something established before youth camp in June,” Davidson said. “We have started the church, but we do not want this to continue to be led by non-Natives. My emphasis has been in spending time with them and training them to continue this work.”
Frontier Native Church has a congregation of about 50, though weekly attendance averages about 10. Picnics, though, draw about 35. Recently a mid-20s man Davidson disciples has started preaching every other week. Another man is newer in the discipling process.
“We believe Native Alaskans are under-reached by the Gospel,” Davidson said. His goals also include “reaching out to indigenous Native Alaskans in villages or locally with connections to villages who would be willing to receive training and then take the Gospel to their people.”
Because of the generous giving of Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program, an amazing array of ministries are supported. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Oklahoma Baptists are advancing the Gospel together. Learn more at www.oklahomabaptists.org/CP