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Beckners plant Calera New Life Churchcomment (0)

April 9, 2009

By Megan Norris Jones

When Jim Beckner accepted his current pastorate, there was no meet-and-greet, no trial sermon.

It was just an agreement between him and the Lord.

“We realized that the church God had planted in our hearts didn’t exist yet,” Beckner said of his family’s decision to start the soon-to-be-launched New Life Community Church in Calera. “We really have a burden for young couples and young adults with a church background who, when they got to college, dropped out.”

To follow that call, Beckner left his position as children’s minister at Trinity Baptist Church in Morgan Baptist Association in July 2008; moved his wife, Nannette, and their two children into his parents’ home in McCalla; and took a job at Best Buy while preparing to start this new church.

New Life opened its doors — which are also the doors of Calera High School — for its first preview service Feb. 22. The youth band of First Baptist Church, Columbiana, in Shelby Baptist Association led the music, and Beckner preached the church’s first message — that true change comes through faith in Christ.

“This kind of intentional church start is the best way to start a church,” said Otis Corbitt, an associate in the office of associational missions and church planting for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM).

For churches just starting out like New Life, the SBOM serves as a supporting partner in the church-planting process by offering a course designed to equip pastors for the challenging work of developing a congregation from scratch.

And several Shelby Association churches — Calera Baptist; Northside Baptist, Calera; and First, Columbiana — have pledged to support New Life, too, in keeping with the association’s aggressive church-planting strategy, said Bob Brown, church-planting strategist for Shelby Association. First Baptist Church, Helena, also sent supplies for the new church’s nursery and preschool department.

Beckner and volunteers have been reaching out to the community through mailings, door-to-door visits, fliers and signs. The group generated a crowd of about 40 on the first preview Sunday.

According to Corbitt, more than 40 percent of the residents of the average Alabama county are not members of a church, and those are the people whom New Life is aiming to reach.

The church’s official launch will be Easter, April 12, at Calera High.

For more information, visit www.newlifecalera.org.

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