Bridgewater Community Church dissolves; gives assets to FBC Loxley

Bridgewater Community Church, a church plant in Spanish Fort, has dissolved after five years of ministry, transferring its assets back to First Baptist Church, Loxley, its founding church. 

‘Bless that church’

Representatives from the two Baldwin Baptist Association churches signed dissolution papers on April 23, completing the transfer of $11,000 in assets from Bridgewater to First, Loxley.

Bridgewater’s leadership felt the time had come to dissolve the ministry after necessary location changes led to dwindling membership. With 10 to 15 regular members, providing leadership and ministry to the community had become increasingly difficult. 

“It was so small we couldn’t really continue,” said Ralph Rimmer, Bridgewater’s pastor. “Closing this chapter we were able to bless that church.”

Rimmer was serving as student pastor of First, Loxley, when he and his wife, Beth, sensed the call to plant a church. The church supported him in that endeavor.

“I think their ultimate problem was location,” said Louis Johnson, pastor of First, Loxley. “It was difficult to get to if you didn’t know where it was and for some older members it was just too far after the move. Ralph and his team did a great job. They would get up early and put out posters with arrows to the church.” 

Despite their efforts numbers declined. As Bridgewater leaders prayed for guidance they asked God to reveal His will for the future of the church and God opened the door for Rimmer to resume student ministry as interim student pastor of First Baptist Church, Tillman’s Corner. The congregation supported Rimmer in the decision. 

First, Loxley, stood alongside the Bridgewater congregation throughout the dissolution process, inviting Bridgewater members to join with them and assisting those who decided to seek a new church. 

The Bridgewater funds will be used to complete renovations on an unfinished second floor at First, Loxley, for use as a children’s wing and youth ministry area. 

“We stepped out in faith to support that ministry and even as it dissolved we did not view that as a failure because they reached countless lives in their five years of existence,” Johnson said. “We will never know the eternal impact that Bridgewater Community Church had in the kingdom of God. It’s not a failure. It’s the next step in a Kingdom journey.”

‘Certainty of calling’

Lamar Duke, lead church planting strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, said it is “heartbreaking” to see a church close, but notes the majority of church plants are thriving.

Southern Baptists can support young churches through prayer and encouragement, Duke said. 

“Pray for them to have clarity, vision and certainty of calling,” Duke said. “Pray for them to have the encouragement they need. Find ways to encourage them.”