Macedonia Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., was in the midst of finalizing plans for a 1,500-square-foot addition to its fellowship hall last fall.
Macedonia Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., was
in the midst of finalizing plans for a 1,500-square-foot addition to
its fellowship hall last fall.
Instead, just a few months later, the small rural
church broke ground on a separate new recreational building eight times
the size, at 12,000 square feet.
What happened is simple – church members submitted to an EKG.
This “EKG” refers not for a medical test but for
“Empowering Kingdom Growth: The Heartbeat of God,” a 40-day Bible study
by Kenneth Hemphill, the national strategist for the Southern Baptist
Convention’s Empowering Kingdom Growth emphasis.
For the church, the study resulted in a paradigm shift, pastor Sam Gore
says. And that shift led to a change in building plans for the
congregation, which numbers about 100 in attendance for Sunday worship.
“The church no longer expects people to be committed
to the church as an institution,” Gore says. “We now expect the church
to be committed to its people. The larger building meets the needs of
The Empowering Kingdom Growth study solidified the
membership’s larger vision because of its focus on the kingdom of God,
Gore says the study appealed to him because it is
the perspective from which he has preached since coming to the church
two years ago. In that time, Sunday School attendance has doubled – and
the number of children participating in Wednesday night activities has
grown from three to 40.
In 2004, the church tripled its giving through the
Southern Baptist Cooperative Program – and expects to quadruple it in
2005. It collected its largest-ever Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for
International Missions. And it adopted their largest budget ever, not
including the building project. The new “Families Living for Christ
Center” will house a gym, basketball court and a room for dinner
theater and family events.
Gore says he is intent on spreading the word about
what the Empowering Kingdom Growth study can do to refocus God’s
people. “A church that has a vision is a church that will move
forward,” he says. “
The real key is focus on kingdom matters. …
Focused energy is very, very powerful. … You can have a major impact
if a church can focus on the needs of the community.” (BP)