This is My Story

Diana Butler Bass' book, Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith, was based on Lilly Endowment funded ethnographic research. It was a study of vital mainline congregations and their practices. While I disagree with many of her conclusions, I am grateful for her observations. Butler Bass points to the testimony as one of the vital Christian practices. Baptists have known this for a long time.

Sunday night I asked our church to write brief testimonies of when and why they joined First Baptist Church, Meridian. The "why" categories that emerged were -

Salvation experiences of adults and children raised in the congregation.
Example quote - I joined First Baptist at a revival in 1934 when I was 9 years old. The Lord spoke to my heart - to accept him, live for him, and serve him." Mae Carol Eastwood Note: May Carol is Molly Katherine's new Sunday School teacher.

Example quote - I graduated from law school in 1973 and moved to Meridian. The church had a good athletic program (coach JB Barnett) and I made friends - (Nobody else wanted me.). Leonard Cobb Note: I think Leonard was "being funny" on that last comment but you'll have to ask him to be sure.

Direct Invitation
Example quote - New to Meridian - we were invited to visit and felt this was where God wanted us! Tommy and Mary Emma Allen

Example quote - Moved to Meridian in July 2006, bringing our kids "home" to Mississippi to grow up with family and church family! Joined First Baptist because Dad was pastor, brother, sister and their families are members - and have made LOTS of wonderful friends! Heath, Jennifer, Jenna, and Jed Kasselman

The four categories that emerged from our story time help us see some important aspects of church growth. We must offer others the welcoming ministry given us as we began our journey at FBC, Meridian. Go!

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