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A Passion for Missions

Small rural congregation is a champion church when it comes to supporting missionaries.

An Assemblies of God church in rural west-central Illinois may be small in size, but the congregation has a big heart and massive passion for missions.

Located in a poor region where nearly 14% of the population lives below the poverty line, Industry Assembly of God nevertheless is a champion congregation when it comes to giving.

The church, which has an average Sunday morning attendance of 80, regularly supports 115 missionaries and gave more than $150,000 to missions in 2022.  

When Jon L. Keck became pastor of Industry AG in 2004, the church had 20 regular attendees who gave $13,000 to missions the year before, contributing to 15 missionaries on a monthly basis. Since Keck arrived, the church has given over $1.2 million to missionaries.

Keck, 59, notes that Industry AG, which started in 1953, has a long track record when it comes to missions.

“Two of the 12 pastors before me left Industry AG and went to the mission field,” says Keck, who is a sectional presbyter with the AG Illinois District.

Over the years, the church has sent an additional six missionaries into the field and is in the process of sponsoring three more, including Sarah C. Keck, the daughter of Jon and his wife, Robbie.

Sarah, 27, is set to serve in the Dutch Antilles in the summer of 2024 with AG World Missions. Since graduating from Southwestern Assemblies of God University, she has worked as a first grade teacher to pay off school bills so she can go to the mission field debt-free.

“Watching the people of this church dedicate their lives to serving God has grown a heart of service in me,” Sarah says. “I’ve watched as they’ve given generously to do God’s work all across the world. So I am not nervous about following God’s call in my life, as I have seen my church family do time and time again.’

Jon Keck says God blesses a church that is concerned about missionaries.

“Our motto is, ‘If we take care of God’s missionaries, He will take care of us,’” he says.

Industry AG has supported Tim and Marketa Southerland since 1997, when they started raising money to go to the Netherlands.

“Industry AG is a perfect example of what God does when people partner with Him in the Great Commission,” says Tim F. Southerland, 60, who, with his wife, serves in the Dutch Caribbean. “Industry AG is a sending church.”

The church has donated to Keith and Delsey Garner for five years, ever since the couple began raising support to go to the Philippines.

“Industry AG gave us our very first missions service and were the first church to support us when we started our missions journey,” says Keith R. Garner, 50, who with his wife, Delsey, is a missionary with Asia Pacific Media. “Pastor Jon is truly a great champion for missions.”

Eric Tiansay

Eric Tiansay has been a full-time journalist since 1993, writing articles for Christian media since 2000. He lives in central Florida, where he is an active member of an Assemblies of God church.