Many might read what I am about to write and walk away thinking it is self-serving, prideful, boastful or any number of other things. If you feel that is the case, I would say that you don’t know me very well and, furthermore, it might be best if you stop reading now and go back to whatever you were doing.
Church is more than numbers. A whole lot more. However, like it or not, numbers can serve as a measurement of the spiritual health of a church in several ways. When Indian Springs Baptist merged with Glenwood Baptist in June of 2011, Glenwood had a regular attendance of about 45 people. That number dropped into the 30’s as the people who were allergic to change left to go find that magical place where nothing ever changes. There were no children or youth…PERIOD. Honestly, there was no one under the age of 50 in sight with most of our folks being well north of retirement age. Before I go on, I want to express my deep appreciation and gratitude for our wonderful, original Glenwood members (now ISBC members) who have stayed the course, rolled up their sleeves and jumped into the fray with the rest of us. We have some great, Godly people!
As we set out to launch the Glenwood Campus of ISBC, there were a handful of families who caught the vision and wanted to be a part of something special– an awesome mission field opportunity. When you added all the kids in the families that felt that call along with mine, we had about 18 children. That was 22 months ago. Since we began, God has been faithful to add key components to our numbers along the way. He has also helped us begin to multiply. Here are just a few markers that I can only attribute to the providential hand of God:
- Palm Sunday, we had 98 children and workers over the course of our 3 hours of services in the morning.
- Our Wednesday night children’s activity – TeamKID – has hit 66 (plus 6 workers)
- We had 212 folks in two worship services on Palm Sunday, 298 on Easter and we are averaging around 200 on normal Sundays
- We had a high of 133 in Sunday School yesterday
- We have baptized 34 people in those 22 months
- We have launched a community partnership with Jefferson Elementary school and will begin tutoring students this week
- We have launched a Food Pantry to provide needed food to many in our community
- We continue a radio broadcast called “Good News from Glenwood” every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. on WKPT Radio heard on FM 94.3 in the Kingsport, Tennessee area, FM 97.7 in Johnson City, Tennessee and FM 97.9 in the Bristol, Tennessee & Virginia area, as well as, AM 1400, 1490, and 1590.
- We stream every service LIVE online and have all our services archived so they can be watched 24 hours a day 7 days a week. (www.isbc.tv)
None of this would be possible without God being at work in our midst. Secondly, this would not be possible apart from the fact that Indian Springs Baptist operates as one church in two locations. The leadership and financial stability that our Hill Road campus provides is of utmost importance. Very few new church starts or church plants could have afforded to invest $500,000 into infrastructure upgrades and renovations! There are many benefits to the church model that we are developing. I am grateful for a senior pastor, Dr. Roc Collins, who continues to seek God’s will and cast a vision for our church, as well as, a deep support staff with whom we work hand in glove to cultivate eternal relationships.
God has plenty more in store for us! If you are looking for a church home where the Gospel is strongly preached and people are lovingly reached, please visit either campus of Indian Springs Baptist Church.