CHURCH HELPS STRUGGLING CHURCH

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

160316creeksideHENDERSONVILLE — When Mike Pennington, director of missions, Bledsoe Baptist Association, began helping Cragfont Baptist Church, Castalian Springs, it was in trouble. He tried to assist the congregation for several years but it was still declining in attendance and could not meet its financial obligations.

Then he approached First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, whose senior pastor, Bruce Chesser, agreed to try to lead his church to help Cragfont.

Now, just four years later, the new Creekside Fellowship, which meets in the former Cragfont facility, is drawing about 130 people to Sunday morning worship and is a healthy church, agreed Pennington and Bruce Raley, executive pastor, First Baptist, who led in the process. [Read more…]

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TBC CHURCHES NEED THOSE ‘AHA’ MOMENTS

Editor’s Note: It’s not too late to attend a Church Revitalization Conference March 14-15 at Union University in Jackson. For more information, contact Steve Holt at sholt@tnbaptist.org.

Bob Brown
Church Revitalization Specialist, TBC

Bob Brown

Bob Brown

I suppose everyone has experienced that moment when something about which you were clueless suddenly becomes very clear. I have vivid memories of such a moment in my ninth grade algebra class. I had struggled for a good portion of the year, trying to grasp the finer concepts and meaning of this noble subject. Everything I tried amounted to no avail. The tutoring, the trying harder, the tearing and tossing of paper in frustration … all was useless. Then one day while gazing at the black board, inexplicably and without expectation it came to me. It was an “Aha” moment. [Read more…]

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CONGREGATION TAKES ANOTHER STEP

Forty Forks Baptist Church, once closed, now has debt-free facility in Bethel Springs

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Randy Smith, pastor, Forty Forks Baptist Church, Bethel Springs, enjoys time with his son Colton.

Randy Smith, pastor, Forty Forks Baptist Church, Bethel Springs, enjoys time with his son Colton.

BETHEL SPRINGS — Forty Forks Baptist here was closed several times and the congregation’s small, one-room, block building sat abandoned for about six years when Randy Smith got involved.

Smith, who at that time had felt called to the ministry for a couple of years, had grown up at Forty Forks Baptist.

But not only had the church been closed after the congregation had disbanded, but the building’s ceiling had collapsed and it never had running water or a bathroom. [Read more…]

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TBC STAFF REALIGNS AROUND FIVE OBJECTIVES

Five Objectives 5 ObjectivesBRENTWOOD – The staff of the Executive Board of the Tennessee Baptist Convention has been realigned in order to assist churches in accomplishing the Five Objectives.

The Five Objectives were adopted by messengers at the Summit in 2014 at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood as long-range goals for the convention. [Read more…]

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CHURCH, PASTOR ARE REVITALIZED

Molino Baptist Church is revitalized after former member is revitalized into its pastor

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Long-time and newer members of Molino Baptist Church pause outside the church recently. They are, from left, first row, Joe Self, pastor; second row, Keitha Towry, Keran Self, Linda Smith, Chloe Barnhouse (in front of Smith) and Joyce Davis; third row, Ed Towry, Joe Smith, and Mark Dempsey.

Long-time and newer members of Molino Baptist Church pause outside the church recently. They are, from left, first row, Joe Self, pastor; second row, Keitha Towry, Keran Self, Linda Smith, Chloe Barnhouse (in front of Smith) and Joyce Davis; third row, Ed Towry, Joe Smith, and Mark Dempsey.

TAFT — Church revitalization begins one person at a time, believes Joe Self. In this case, it began with him.

The story begins in the 1980s when a rural church near Fayetteville was “a focal point and center of worship” for a small community here, recalled Joe Self.

Self, who was in his 20s, attended that church, Molino (Moh-line-ah) Baptist Church, then.

“It was there that I felt a call to the pastorate,” he recalled.

But he hesitated to respond. For one thing, like a lot of people he didn’t feel worthy, he explained.
[Read more…]

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Resurrecting 500 Tennessee Baptist Churches

By Randy C. Davis
TBC Executive Director

To say Litz Manor Baptist Church was on life support is an understatement. The reality was its slow death was only delaying being moved from the category of once-thriving congregations to just another statistic of churches that closed its doors. You’ve seen those churches. They are now community theatres, coffee shops, town hall meeting places …or bars.

But God wasn’t done with Litz Manor, and the people weren’t done with God. Founded in 1946, the Kingsport church saw steady growth through its first 25 years, but those numbers began to plateau in the 1970s. Several economic blows and the more recent collapse of the Eastman Corporation being a major employer in the area, and the church dwindled to below 60. But it wasn’t dead. [Read more…]

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