Baptist churches helping one anothercomment (0)
April 22, 2004
By Johnie Sentell
Although Baptist churches are independent entities, the Lord leads Baptists to work together in matters ranging from the local to the global.
An Easter musical was presented at York Baptist Church in Bigbee Association on Good Friday and again at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Choctaw Association on Easter Sunday night.
Ebenezer’s pastor, Steve Bruce, said the two churches began working jointly on the musical after a Christmas program involving members of both churches “went over real well.”
The Easter presentation included drama and banners. Eddie Davis, minister of music at York, said, “I knew from the beginning it was a God-breathed event. There was a huge presence of the Holy Spirit there,” Bro. Davis said. “The air of excitement was unbelievable.”
Brother Bruce said, “Since we are a small church in a rural area, it has really been a blessing for us to work with a larger church this way.”
He said it is a good picture of how Baptist churches work together, like the Cooperative Program functions: “We can accomplish things together we can’t accomplish on our own. We really sensed the Lord’s presence.”
Pastor Bruce’s wife Carmen is Ebenezer’s worship leader, piano player and choir director. Brother Hugh Poole is interim pastor at York.
In Tuscaloosa Association, Jack Brown is interim pastor of Northside Baptist Church. Former director of missions (DOM) for Dale Association and former associate DOM for Tuscaloosa Association, he came to Northside from membership at Carrolls Creek Baptist Church. He said, “The pastor and members of Carrolls Creek have been very supportive.”
Pastor Alan Roggli said while Carrolls Creek has given Northside prayer support, people support and some financial support, Carrolls Creek has been blessed too: “Every aspect of Carrolls Creek has prospered as we have been helping out.”
Brother Brown led Northside to begin furnishing The Alabama Baptist to its members to “enlighten them as to what Baptists are doing.” He teaches Baptist doctrine regularly and has led Northside to visit door to door every Saturday afternoon.
When Bro. Brown began serving last November, the church had 11 attending. Since then, 18 people have joined the church, 11 of them by baptism. Northside surpassed its $500 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal and gave $1,000 to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering!
About two years ago Mount Signal Baptist Church, Shelby Association, had fewer than a half-dozen attending. Its future looked bleak.
Leonard Irvin, a member of Crestway Baptist Church in Birmingham, filled Mount Signal’s pulpit one Sunday in May 2003. He was called back again and again until he was called as interim pastor and finally as pastor in January 2004. But last August Bro. Irvin became convinced that God wasn’t going to “rebirth” the church “until we looked beyond our own needs.” He and his wife had been watching Gardendale’s First Baptist Church on television for about a year.
“They blessed us, and we felt we should send them a little bit [to help with the building program]. It had to be the Lord. Maybe our little church would join us?”
Brother Irvin prepared a message “that touched on things like the widow’s mite and the cruse of oil that did not fail during a famine.
Giving the widow’s mite
“A little becomes much when the Lord blesses it,” he said adding, ‘Gardendale’s First Baptist Church is big, but they are relocating and they need our help. Whatever we give would be the widow’s mite.’” He said after the 18 members “almost fell off the benches, ... they got into the mood,” gave a total of $622.45 and sent a card saying, “God told us you need our help.”
The Gardendale church welcomed Mount Signal’s members the night of Jan. 25 and presented them a check for $28,157.91. Pastor Steve Gaines said, “In September your church felt led to help us. You do not know what a blessing that was to us. God put it on your heart to help us, and He has put it on our hearts to help you.”
Brother Gaines said Mount Signal’s generosity and faith “showed us that there is no such thing as a small church.
“Any church can do great things for God as long as they have the faith of the little boy who gave Jesus his lunch. Our little becomes much when we place it in the hands of Jesus,” he said. “Mount Signal is a perfect example of that.”
Mount Signal recently had eight professions of faith, the first in 15 years, and 55 attended on Easter.