By Baptist and Reflector
BRENTWOOD — For the eighth consecutive year Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville has led the Tennessee Baptist Convention in baptisms. View Chart 1 | View Chart 2
Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova led the state in total gifts through the Cooperative Program with $814,580.
Long Hollow baptized 880 new believers during the 2013-14 church year.
The year before (2012-13) Long Hollow became the first church in the state to baptize more than 1,000 people in a single year.
Long Hollow’s accomplishment came during a time when Pastor David Landrith was battling cancer. He died last November.
Kevin Ezell, interim pastor and president of the North American Mission Board, observed that Landrith “embedded an evangelism DNA in the Long Hollow family. Long Hollow members are leading people to Christ every week in every type of setting,” he noted.
Ezell also observed that church members are “grateful for David’s leadership and will always have a love and appreciation for him and his family, but they also understand that they are to be about the gospel. They are a focused and passionate people about reaching the lost.”
Long Hollow was one of six churches in the state to baptize 200 or more new believers last year.
For the year Tennessee Baptist churches reported 23,499 baptisms, an increase of 7 percent over the previous year.
Long Hollow was followed by Faith Promise Church, Knoxville, 760; Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, 518; Sevier Heights Baptist Church, Knoxville, 275; and New Vision Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, and LifePoint Church, Smyrna, each with 222. See charts on this page for the top 50 churches in baptisms and Cooperative Program gifts.
Shepherd of the Hills Church in Knoxville led the TBC in worship attendance to baptism ratio. The church, with an attendance of 95, baptized 156 new believers last year.
Seven churches in the state gave more than $300,000 through the Cooperative Program.
Following Bellevue were Forest Hills Baptist Church, Nashville, 432,969; First Baptist Church, Sevierville, 420,399; First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, 406,003; First Baptist Church, Cleveland, 401,249; Belle Aire Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, 313,311; and First Baptist Church, Clarksville, 302,702.
Bellevue Pastor Steve Gaines said “Bellevue Baptist Church is grateful to be able to support the spread of the gospel in Tennessee and throughout the world by giving financially through the Cooperative Program.
“Southern Baptists have always believed we can do more together than we can independently. We are convinced that the money we give through the Cooperative Program is our best financial investment in Missions,” Gaines added.
TBC Executive Director Randy C. Davis noted that “reading about these churches leading and reaching lost Tennesseans with the gospel and financially supporting Great Commission work through the Cooperative Program” is thrilling.
“These are churches and pastors that understand what it means to ‘keep the main thing the main thing.’ ” Davis said.