One Faith Christian Center connects with inner city communities, sees many baptisms
By David Dawson
MEMPHIS — It’s incredible what God can do with a small church that has a big vision.
Barron Martin can attest to that. He is the lead pastor at One Faith Christian Center church, Memphis, and he has been blown away with the way the small church plant has been able to impact the community and spread the gospel.
The church baptized approximately 50 new believers last year as a result of their outreach ministries, and they are having similar success this year.
“Man, it’s been amazing,” Martin said. “I can’t describe the feeling, other than to say that I give God all the glory. Every ministry wants to feel like they are being successful in their efforts. So, for us to be seeing the fruits come from our outreach projects — that’s the reward within itself.”
One Faith is reaching several communities in the Memphis area through a series of ongoing evangelism events that are called “Jesus loves Frazier” and “Jesus Loves Millington” and other similarly named projects.
At these events, the church provides giveaways for the communities, passing out hygiene products, gently used clothing and other household items while sharing the gospel with all those who attend. Martin noted that, on some occasions, the church has also given away appliances that were donated to One Faith.
“These projects are something we’ve gotten into a routine of doing since we started our church,” said Martin. “Typically, what we do is, we go out once a month into the inner city to evangelize and to serve the needs of that community. We’ve gotten into a groove with it and kind of found our niche with this. And the Holy Spirit is just blessing us as we continue to move forward.”
The church is partnering with local schools as a means “of walking alongside them and being involved with those students and their families,” Martin said.
At a recent event, the church was able to give away almost 300 backpacks — filled with school supplies — to families in the inner city areas of Memphis. The church baptized five new believers as a result of this outreach. The event was supported by the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board and several churches in the Memphis area.
Steve Pearson, evangelism specialist for the TBMB, said he believes other churches can learn from the example that One Faith is setting.
“Isn’t this what every church in every community should be doing?” said Pearson. “As a church, you want to so impact your community that if you were to close your doors, the people in your community would scream and holler.”
Pearson said being a positive influence, and winning the spiritually lost to Jesus, is sometimes far simpler than people think.
“It’s really easy: Find a need and fill it,” said Pearson. “Start with the local schools. People say, ‘But we can’t share Jesus on the campus.’ That’s true. But you sure can look like Him!”
At the events hosted by One Faith, the church members set up three tents for the “attendees” to visit. At one of the tents, the attendees fill out information — including their addresses and social media addresses — that enables the church to stay in touch with the families. At another tent, the gospel is shared. And at the third tent, the giveaway items are passed out.
Martin said the gospel is shared in a variety of ways — face-to-face conversations, gospel tracts, prayer, and more — at each event. He said his team will build a roster of names, addresses, telephone numbers etc., for follow up.
“Our goal is to lead individuals to Christ and baptism with hopes to get them involved in our local church,” he said.
Pearson noted that the TBMB has evangelism resources available for churches that are interested in doing events.
He said that One Faith is using the “JN316” tracts and bracelets that are available through the TBMB. “Over the past six years, Tennessee Baptists have distributed a million ‘More Life’ tracts,” he said.
Pearson said community events, such as those being done by One Faith, can be set up by following a relatively easy formula.
“It starts with prayer; we must first talk to God about people before we ever talk to people about God,” he said.
Pearson said the second step is defining the objective of the event. “Is it to disciple people that are already believers or is it an event to engage the community for the purpose getting to know and show love to your community in Jesus name?” he said.
The final steps, Pearson said, are to gather information for follow-up purposes and, “most importantly,” he said, “equip your people to have Gospel conversations.”
Martin noted that using social media to promote the events is one of the biggest keys to having a good turn out.
“When you use social media the proper way, God will bless it,” he said. “Other churches have been watching what we’re doing — and by that I mean, they’ve been hearing about it on social media — and it shows. For instance, one of the churches that had seen what we were doing on social media was Collierville (First) Baptist Church, and they donated 60 backpacks.”
Martin said the church plans to continue these events for the months and years to come.
“The Lord has been so gracious to us,” he said. “We are a small church plant and we are just getting ourselves established. But we are seeing fruit from our efforts, and we feel extremely blessed by that.” B&R