By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
JACKSON — When Richard Bragg was called as pastor of Poplar Heights Baptist Church in Jackson in October of 2019, he was joining a congregation that had experienced some struggles in recent years.
In 2002, Poplar Heights reported an average worship attendance of 640. Seventeen years later, the average attendance had dropped to 84.
Bragg hit the ground running and was beginning to see progress six months into his ministry. The church had started to average around 130 in attendance and then, COVID-19 hit, bringing things to a grinding halt.
The church has yet to reach the attendance it had before COVID. “It was the oddest year in ministry I’ve ever had,” acknowledged Bragg, who began his ministry in 1998.
After the church had to shut down for several weeks, the church spent the next 10 months livestreaming services (along with in-person services after churches could reopen) and “figuring out what to do next,” he said. [Read more…]