Lindsay Lane helps dwindling church find new lifecomment (0)
October 24, 2013
By Anna Keller
Dusty McLemore, pastor of Lindsay Lane Baptist Church, Athens, has felt called to lead a church plant for a while now. As of Nov. 3, he’ll have reached his goal.
Earlier this year, McLemore received a call from the director of missions in a neighboring association and was told about a church called Christ Way in Madison that was in need of revitalization. Though once vibrant, the church had dwindled down to just a handful of members — fewer than 10. Given McLemore’s passion for church plants — combined with an emphasis by the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, Southern Baptist Convention Association of Directors of Missions and North American Mission Board (NAMB) on combating the strikingly large number of plateaued Southern Baptist churches in North America — the timing seemed ideal.
“I believe the day of the megachurch has ended,” McLemore said. “The theme and philosophy of NAMB is to plant and revitalize churches, and that’s what our goal is too.”
After meeting with the church’s remaining members, McLemore decided the best approach would be to transform Christ Way Church into a second Lindsay Lane Baptist campus — dubbed Lindsay Lane East, 14 miles away from Lindsay Lane — and he asked the Christ Way members if they’d stay and become charter members.
“So we purchased the church, and the first Sunday I went and preached and all the Christ Way members joined Lindsay Lane East,” McLemore said. “There’s just been a great spirit of unity from the start.”
Andy John King, currently the youth pastor for Lindsay Lane, will become the campus minister for Lindsay Lane East. He’ll continue to split his time between the two campuses for the coming months, but the plan is to eventually keep him at Lindsay Lane East on a full-time basis.
King shares McLemore’s dream and is confident God is leading their church in this direction. With the new church launching Nov. 3, King and McLemore — accompanied by a core team from Lindsay Lane — have been busy in recent months getting things in order.
“With the members from Christ Way, we’ve been teaching them about our church’s purpose, strategy, core values,” King said. “We’ve been expressing that our vision includes them and that we want to put them to work in this church to help it grow.”
Brittany Von Kanel and her husband, Brent, are members of Lindsay Lane and are part of the Lindsay Lane East church plant. For the Von Kanels, this outreach opportunity came at the perfect time, as they’d been talking about how they could devote some time to be a part of something new.
“We’ve really wanted to get outside of the church building and get out and reach people who are lost,” Von Kanel said. “Interestingly Lindsay Lane East is in the community we used to live in. We thought it was neat how God took us away from there, but now He’s putting us back in a sense.”
Von Kanel, who has an elementary education degree, will head up Lindsay Lane East’s children’s ministry and is looking forward to spreading the word about the church in the Madison area to see who will become a part of their congregation.
“I know if the Lord has called us to this then He’s already gone before us and is preparing the way,” she said.
Lindsay Lane East’s sanctuary holds about 200 people, and McLemore is anticipating about 100 will attend at first. He and his team have been reaching out to neighborhoods near the new church to let them know about their upcoming presence and invite them to check out Lindsay Lane East once it’s launched. He’s confident the church will grow and is excited by the opportunity to expand the kingdom of heaven.
“Madison’s such a growing area. I really believe it’s going to take off,” McLemore said. “We’re excited about it and hope the community responds to this new church.”