This past week we were able to see several historic Baptist sites. We traveled to J. R Christian's grave site, Squire Boone's grave site, the old Goshen Baptist church (one of Indiana’s oldest Baptist Churches), Tidence Lane’s grave site, Lewis Craig’s grave site and several of the churches they planted. As we were at the historic Bracken Baptist Church, the last church Lewis Craig pastored, we could not help but to be thankful for the men who seemly had so little but did so much for the cause of Christ. Lewis Craig moved his entire church from Virginia to plant churches in the State of Kentucky, and they accomplished their goal.
We were reminded of a statement we heard many years ago. “There are no great men of God, only men of a great God.” The God whom these men served is the same God we serve today. The Book, which these men preached from, is the same Book we preach from. The command these men obeyed is the same command we claim to be obeying today. These men are to be remembered, and we should be thankful for them and for their ministries; but let us not think that the same God who used these men is no longer looking for men to preach the Book or obey the command “ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Yes the obstacles of our time are vastly different from those of the early pioneers who first traveled by foot, horse, wagon or boat; but we also have so much more than they did to work with. Could it be that we rely on what we have instead of who He is?
We are thankful that there are many churches and men of God who are not only listening to the voice of God but are also answering the call to go. We shared in our last article how the Lord has blessed us with three full time missionaries out of our church: Bro Colin Christensen, who has now gone home to be with the Lord; Bro. Steven Harris; and Bro. Bryon Roberts. Missionaries are scriptural, and we should support them; but that does not relieve us of our command to go here at home. We are thankful our pastor has led our church in the area of church planting as a church. The Lord has blessed our church in that we as a church body planted a church near us in Lynchburg, Ohio. The pastor is one of our former deacons who felt led to take over the work once it was organized. We are now planting a church in Elmwood Place, Ohio, using the same plan as we did in Lynchburg.
First there was a burden: Pastor Burke and I had gone to a funeral down in Cincinnati a few blocks from Elmwood Place. As we drove through Elmwood Pastor felt the Lord begin to place upon his heart to lead the church to plant a work there.
Secondly there was a survey trip. A few weeks later Pastor Burke; Evangelist Dan Souza; Brother Brown, missionary to Bozeman, Montana; and I went and walked the streets of Elmwood. The Lord confirmed the burden.
Then there was a commission: Pastor Burke presented the burden to the church to pray about, and they followed. We began going down, walking the streets and meeting people, business owners, and city officials. We shared our burden to plant a church there and began to look for a storefront to rent.
Then we as a church went: The storefront was rented. We began to take about twenty people down weekly to blanket the area with tracts and brochures each Saturday. On Sundays, the same number of people now bring their lunches, eat in the fellowship hall and then ride the bus down to Elmwood where we hold services at 2:30 p.m. Some sit and sing and are available as altar workers, some go outside to invite folks in, the children sing specials, one of the men leads the singing and the Lord blesses.
Elmwood is a transit area, and we have seen several come and then they are gone. When we had two who were faithful, we started Wednesday night discipleship class to teach the basics of the Christian life. At this point we normally have eleven adults and one child from the area each Sunday and ten on discipleship on Wednesday nights.
Next blog we are going to begin to compile a list of needy areas here in our state and share ideas we are gaining from others who are planting churches.