Yesterday a handful of us leaders went and had lunch with the pastor of First Baptist Hartsville. We wanted to introduce ourselves and cast the vision to him for what The Journey desired to come do in the area.We also wanted to pick his brain for all he knew about the area. He was more than supportive. In fact, he offered their building for preview services and informational meetings. He even began asking us questions about what we are doing to be successful here. He shared with us that of the 8,000 people in the county, 80% are unchurched (6,400). He believed that what we wanted to do and the style in which we do it could be very effective in the area...there is no church doing it. A staggering and dissappointing thing he shared was that when the Association of Baptist churches in Sumner, Trousdale, and Macon counties met, they decided not to try and plant a church in Hartsville because it is not growing as fast as some of the other towns. My question was: But what about the 6,400 people in the community that DO NOT go to church anywhere? He agreed, but indicated that Hartsville always seems to get passed on because it is not growing like Gallatin or Mt Juliet. I believe God is going to blow our minds with the harvest that will occur in this city...I'm claiming it right now!
He also shared that at 120 adults/kids, they are the largest church in the area. When I asked him what the evangelistic temperature of his church was in regards to being on mission in the area, he indicated that they were not. I believe this pastor wants to experience more and I told him we wanted to see life infused in all the churches of the area. I pray that God would bless this pastor and his church. Ignite a fire in them Lord and bless them for the support of our ministry!
It was God-ordained time in which the full expression of what the kingdom is supposed to look like was manifested: Churches working together to reach those far from God. He is excited about us coming. I'm even more excited now that we are going. Keep on praying Journey folks, the days ahead are going to be amazing!