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Emphasis on newness at churchescomment (0)

January 15, 2004

By Johnie Sentell

January is a great time for beginnings, and Ala­bama Baptist churches are definitely into new things.

At Hokes Bluff First Baptist Church (Etowah Assoc.), Pastor Billy Hudgins said the church plans to work this year on “refocusing,” a concept with two tracks Ń one for the individual and another for the church.

Brother Hudgins said in both cases the first phase is to ask, “How did the hand of God get you where you are?” The next phase is to make plans for the future: “How much do we do as a church to affect the community,” he asked. “We hope to develop a three- to five-year ministry plan,” he said.

On Jan. 4, members of Glyn­wood Baptist Church, Prattville (Autauga Assoc.), traveled to Bir­ming­­ham to take part in an ordination service for their new minister of youth and outreach. Glynwood had requested that Daw­son Memorial Baptist Church ordain Rob Hatfield. His family came to Daw­son 25 years ago when his father was called as minister of music. Rob was less than a year old.

The charge to the candidate was brought by Rob’s grandfather, A.B. Hatfield, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church, Alpharetta, Ga.

The charge to the church was brought by Glynwood’s pastor, Bro. Howard “Chip” Smith. Brother Smith called on Glyn­wood’s members to support and undergird Rob. “Be patient with him. He has a good education. He is equipped. But will he make some mistakes? Probably. We all do. I’ve been preaching more than 40 years,” he said, “but I’m still learning. We have the opportunity to help him along. Pray for him.”

To Dawson members, Bro. Smith said, “Remember to pray for him. Let him hear from you. He is a product of this church. Everywhere he goes, he represents you, because you are his background.”

In the ordination prayer, Bro. Bob Hatfield prayed that his son “will always have a servant’s heart.”

Chris Crain is the new pastor of South Roebuck Baptist Church in Birmingham. He came from White Springs Bap­tist Church, Rainbow City (Etowah Assoc.), where he was associate pastor/minister of education. He and his wife, Carol, began the year anticipating the arrival of their daughter, Yu-shing Lin, born in Taiwan last August.

A beautiful photo of the child they will call Lauren has been proudly displayed in the pastor’s office. They hope to bring her from Taiwan late this month or early in February.

But one thing is not new for the young pastor at South Roebuck. The church uses The Ala­bama Baptist to deliver its news­letter. The same is true at White Springs.

A few days ago Ladonia Baptist Church, Phenix City (Russell Assoc.), had a new definition on its changeable sign out front: “Sin? That’s anything Jesus wouldn’t do.” Brother David Howle serves as pastor at Ladonia.

Two churches in Cher­okee Asso­ciation recently showed evidence of forward thinking.

At Cedar Bluff First Baptist Church, Pastor Robert Smith said the church plans to have lay renewal this year to inspire members to be more obedient to the claims of Jesus and to emphasize the priesthood of the believer. Brother Smith said, “We need to be listening to God and doing His work.” The church started the new year in a time-honored Baptist way, the January Bible Study. It was led by Bro. John Killian, pastor of May­town Baptist Church.

A new sign was going up last week to identify the facilities of East Centre Baptist Church, Centre.

Pastor John Allen, a former itinerant evangelist, noted the church has held two morning services for four years. “Sent,” a group of five young women, sings for 15 minutes before each service to prepare people’s hearts. The group does concerts as well. The church also has a fine young men’s ensemble, “Goodwill.”

Brother Allen said East Centre sings old hymns as well as the newer music. “We have a nice balance in our musical program so everyone’s needs are met Ń a good blend, I hope. People seem to really enjoy it.”

Six years ago the church had some 100 members, and now the membership is around 400.
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