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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

FBC Citronelle reaches community with Church in the Parkcomment (0)

June 9, 2005

By Jenny Renee


By bringing people to the park, First Baptist Church, Citronelle, has brought people through its doors.
   
For the past five years, the church has come together each spring and fall at Clayton Park in Citronelle for a time of worship and fellowship in an environment that is a little more relaxed than a usual church service.
   
“It is much easier to get people who wouldn’t normally come to a church building to come to the park to eat and meet Christians,” Pastor Max Dempsey said. “We often have a great number of visitors.”
   
Located by a lake at the local golf course, Dempsey said the event’s evangelistic purpose has prompted church members to invite nonbelievers and allowed opportunities for them to share their faith.
   
In 2004, church members Tim and Lynn Steiner felt led to start a bus ministry for children whose parents do not attend church. 
   
Through Lynn Steiner, who drives a school bus, the couple made contact with families along her route and were soon bringing about 20 children to church from the surrounding area. 
   
When they brought the children to Church in the Park last fall, Tim Steiner had the opportunity to lead one of them to Christ. 
   
Five other children from that ministry and 11 others were baptized in the lake at the most recent Church in the Park in May.
   
The baptisms began at the spring 2004 Church in the Park after the church building burned the previous September. About 40 people were baptized that day, including 23 youth and adults who came to know Christ after the church’s first DiscipleNow weekend. 
   
Baptisms are still held in the lake because the church is meeting in the Citronelle High School auditorium. Dempsey said Church in the Park serves as a reminder to the congregation that “the church is not the building.”
   
As the church looks forward to its new building, which is under construction, Dempsey said Church in the Park and baptisms in the lake will remain important. 
   
Even when the new baptistry is available, he said the church will continue to baptize in the lake if there are people who want to become members near the time of Church in the Park.

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