In 1998, the Adirondack Baptist Association saw a need to begin a ministry specifically to reach out to the tourists and athletes who were visiting the village of Lake Placid. (Such a ministry had existed in the early 1980s, but no one had served in this way for many years.) Associational Missionary Jim Goforth was the catalyst to beginning this ministry. The Lord brought Jake Morrow, a North American Mission Board “US/C-2” missionary, to lead North Country Ministries (NCM) for two years. The ministry event that really “put North Country Ministries on the map” was volunteering at the Goodwill Games that came to Lake Placid in the winter of 2000. Since that time, NCM has built its reputation on being servants who will do all the jobs that nobody else wants to do. From 2001-2011, Derek Spain served as the director of North Country Ministries. Starting in July 2011, Ryan Schneider began leading the weekly Athletes Bible Studies at the Olympic Training Center.
Over the years, NCM has provided volunteers for Ironman Triathlons, ESPN Great Outdoor Games, World Cup Winter Sports Events (Luge, Bobsled, Skeleton, Ski Jumping, Hockey, Snowboarding, Figure Skating) and more. The volunteers with NCM, who come from churches all over the Adirondacks, are known for their hard work, great attitude, willingness to serve behind the scenes or wherever needed, and unselfish spirit. The event organizers know that NCM volunteers are not volunteering for what we can receive; we are volunteering for what we can give.
NCM works very closely with the Lake Placid Visitor’s Bureau, with ORDA (the Olympic Regional Development Authority) – two of the organizations that bring big events to our village – and other organizations in our community. Through our volunteer efforts, the Lord has opened the door on numerous occasions for us to share the gospel with people, through servant evangelism, giving away of specialized evangelism items, creative evangelism and personal evangelism. Two verses that are very important to our ministry are: Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven,” and 1 Peter 3:15, “In your heart set apart Jesus as Lord. And always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. Do this with gentleness and respect.”