Have you reached the point where you think, "Why bother? We're in a rut, nothing will change, and we might as well close the doors." Well, here's a story that should change your mind and give you new hope. Read this account from Andy Goode, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. They've decided to do MORE!
Central Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, began in 1958 and rose to approximately nine hundred members over the years. However, by 2005, Sunday School attendance had dropped below forty people. Worship never rose above eighty. The future looked dim. We had gone the route of many churches across our country.
In February 2006, I was called as the new pastor of Central. I was sold on evangelism and getting Sunday School on track. I began by taking the minister of music and a different Sunday School teacher out each week, teaching them to share their faith. I also held weekly meetings with the Sunday School leadership while planning a summer semester of evangelism.
The guest speaker for our kick-off banquet challenged the church to be about doing the Great Commission. Over half of the people said yes and made a commitment to learn to share their faith by being a part of our evangelism training. The Lord has blessed me with great people ready and willing to go.
As our people went out, we began seeing people saved and enrolled in Sunday School. Our Sunday School enrolled forty-seven new people in ten weeks! We've had numerous baptisms and even have some waiting to be baptized. Now we average one-hundred-and-fifty in worship and had a high of ninety-five in Sunday School.
New church members, new Sunday School members, and people involved in witnessing — Central Baptist is alive and well and on track for reaching people. We are doing our part to witness, win, and baptize one million! "Everyone Can" — and we are it!
Look folks, these are "high jumpers!" Their bar has been set higher than ever before. They are preparing, warming up, exercising their spiritual muscles, praying, expecting, and depending on the Lord Jesus to bless. They're running down the track and placing the pole in the ground. There they go ... higher and higher. And you know what it took? They had to get started, take the first step, focus, be encouraged, and get out of the church building and go where the people are.
God bless each of the pastors and churches who are now breaking their all-time world records in baptisms. And for those that are challenged and encouraged to do MORE and go MORE than ever before — people are waiting behind those closed doors in your neighborhoods for someone to care about them and invite them to church.
Accelerate ... Accelerate ... Accelerate!
Bobby H. Welch is former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, retired pastor of First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Florida, and originator of the FAITH evangelism strategy.