Overview. In a nutshell, tell us about your church. What was it like when you came? What is happening now?
When Pastor Jeff came in January of 2004, the church was averaging 1,200 in worship and 1,100 in Sunday School. They had not made budget in the last couple of years and really had just a handful of staff members. They had been 32 months without a senior pastor and morale was low. Since that time, God has blessed in extraordinary ways. Today, BPBC has more than 7,000 members. She has consistently been in the top of the state in baptisms and the top of the SBC in missions giving. Average weekly worship attendance exceeds 2,800 and the Sunday School ministry touches over 2,000 weekly.
What were 2 or 3 real moments of victory for you? It would have to be in the areas of baptisms. For the past 5 years, Blackshear Place has baptized an average of 280 people. That is a 25:1 baptismal ratio that has largely fueled ministry and growth. Special baptism events at Lake Lanier have made evangelism a priority. I would also add the Sunday School success is directly related to new units. As we start new units, we have seen great growth. Failures. We learn from these. Tell us what didn’t work. We have taken some risks and tried some new things that never really took off. We tried a reconnecting campaign through our Sunday School ministry to reclaim inactive members. It was depressing. We also Started a building project that we hoped to be completed in a year that has turned into a multiple-year project with the negative economy.
What have been some of your big ones. What you have learned along the way? You can’t engineer people, but you can motivate them. Some of our biggest challenges have been in the area of having space to accommodate growth. By offering three Sunday School hours and three morning worship services, we are always trying to achieve balance in space utilization. We have learned the art of motivation and persuasion through the scheduling of Sunday School classes and the use of popular S.S. teachers at certain hours to achieve this balance. We have also learned that the greatest organization in your church is your S.S. We have wrapped everything important to us in the Sunday School structure. It is literally “how we do church.”
What most pastors need to know?
What are the take aways? What can we learn from your story? Results in ministry ride on the coattails of consistency in ministry. Don’t try to reinvent yourself or chase every fad. Consistency in the pulpit to faithfully preach God’s Word has been a hallmark of BPBC. It is what people expect. We don’t have to be someone else. We have also learned that it takes hard work. It doesn’t happen overnight. And finally, I would say that balance is so important. Pastor often speaks of our two pillars of ministry: Worship & Sunday School. These are our top priorities for how we do church and having a balanced approach has made all the difference to us. Blackshear Place Baptist Church Flowery Branch, GA