Alabama is known for having great soil for some specific kinds of fruit — a drive on I-65 past Clanton’s giant peach water tower will tell you that, said Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM).
But peaches aren’t the only fruit that thrives here, he said. State Baptists are seeing God do a lot through church planting efforts both here and beyond thanks to the support of Alabama Baptist churches.
“Today we want to give some glimpses into the fruitfulness of Alabama Baptist life,” Lance said during his report to the Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting Nov. 12.
He told the story of five thriving Baptist ministries and partnerships — in a changing community, in a trailer park, among international students, in Alaska and in Scotland.
The first — a partnership in the Montgomery area — paired the aging Chisholm Baptist Church with a new church planter, Dewayne Rembert. The small church didn’t want to shut its doors so pastor Daniel Edmonds led them through the process of working with associational and state leadership to partner with Rembert.
Now the new congregation — Flatline Church at Chisholm — is “seeing much fruit” in the community, Rembert said.
“We’re averaging 80 to 100 people on Sundays,” he said. “As we bring them in we disciple them up and they go out and witness and bring others in.”
The second “fruitful” ministry Lance mentioned was Faith Community Church in Coffee Baptist Association, a congregation planted in a trailer park.
John Gunter, who leads the church, views the more than 100 mobile homes behind the church as a vast missions field, according to Lance’s report. They spent seven years at No. 1 in the state in their ratio of members to new believers coming in.
Lance reported that state Baptists also are seeing fruit through their partnership with church planters in Alaska and Scotland and through their work with international students around the state.
Chris Mills, SBOM student missions strategist, shared that Alabama Baptists from student ministers to Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) groups are investing to reach the 20,000 international students spread across the state’s campuses. He told the story of a student who came to faith after reading a Bible a WMU group had packed in a welcome bag he received.
“He saw in the Bible that God came for him and God loves him so he chose to believe,” Mills said. “God is at work among the nations right here on our campuses.”