By Lonnie Wilkey
Baptist and Reflector
“This church is for people who are wanting help, who are seeking help, who realize they need God but don’t feel like they fit into the average Baptist church,” he said. Pastor Wade Wallace of Victory Baptist Church in Henning, Tennessee, readily admits his congregation is not for everyone.
The West Tennessee church was featured on one of four “Good News Videos” featured during the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board’s Virtual Summit on Nov. 10.
See the video on Victory Baptist and others at TBCSummit.org.
Ashley is one member the church has reached and helped. “I’m a grateful recovering addict,” she said.
She began using methamphetamines at the age of 12. “All I knew was cooking, selling dope and getting high,” she acknowledged. Everyone she knew had dope everywhere, she continued.
Her lifestyle lasted until she was 30 years old. “I hit my knees and prayed to God and begged Him to please break these chains. I prayed like I’ve never prayed in my life.
“And from that moment on, I’ve not used and have not had the desire to use anything.”
Ashley admitted she finally reached the point where “I had to surrender. I had to give it to God. That was the only hope I had. He saved my life.”
Corey is another person who sought help at Victory Baptist. “This church restores hope to people who come out from prison, jails, rehabs or off the street — a place to come and have somebody to hold you accountable, to be honest with,” he said.
He noted Victory also is a place where people can come and share stories they have been through and not made “to feel like you’re the only one. That no matter what you’ve done, God can forgive you.”
Pastor Wallace noted that the harvest is ripe. “All we have to do is share the gospel with them.”
He said it is refreshing to step into the pulpit each Sunday knowing “there’s going to be someone here who’s probably never heard the gospel. We’ve had people come in this church that have never, never, ever been inside of a church,” Wallace said.
Like most churches, Victory was impacted by COVID-19 but in a different way. “It affected us, maybe in a more damaging way, because addicts need addicts around a lot.”
The pastor noted that when the church reopened its doors, the people “flooded in. That’s why we saw about 17 or 18 baptisms within the first three weeks we opened back up.”
Wallace said the church is simply following the example of Jesus. “When you think about Jesus and His ministry, who hung around Jesus?” he asked. It was drunks, tax collectors and prostitutes, he noted, adding that the Jews were always asking why He hung out with sinners.
“The heart of Jesus was always about restoring hope, redeeming people,” Wallace said, noting that Jesus came into the world to seek and save the lost.
“I think that the heartbeat of all churches is to seek and to save that which is lost.”
Ashley is one who has seen God change her life. “By the grace of God, I’m going on three years sober,” she acknowledged. “My relationship with Christ means everything to me. Without Him, I’m lost. He is my rock. He is my everything.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was originally published by the Baptist and Reflector. To read more articles like this on Tennessee Baptists, visit baptistandreflector.org. This article also appears in TAB News, a digital regional Baptist publication. For more information or to subscribe to the TAB News app, visit tabonline.org/TAB-News-app.
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