Within the Christian community today there is a term used to describe churches that are different from the traditional church.
These churches have put away what they consider to be old, outdated customs and traditions that may hinder people from coming to church. These “new” churches have cutting-edge technology and progressive ideas that they believe will help them reach the unchurched in our world today. The term used for these churches is the “emerging” church.
By now, you have probably heard through the Vandalia gossip chain about a possible new Baptist church for Vandalia. This church will not be an emerging church. This church’s technology will be cutting edge. Since it will be a new church, this church will not have any customs or traditions that are outdated (because the customs and traditions that it has will be current, since it is new). But since this new church in Vandalia will be created by the merging of two existing churches, it is part of what I hope will be a new movement that may be called the “merging” church.
Yes, Temple Baptist Church of Vandalia and First Baptist Church of Vandalia have entered into talks to possibly “merge” our two existing churches into one brand new church. For the past five years, First Baptist has been working to relocate to a facility that is all on one level, has property for playgrounds and athletic fields, and is in a great location.
Temple Baptist Church has been looking to fill its facility that is only about five years old with people who are followers of Jesus and who want to impact the community of Vandalia with the message of Jesus. Temple’s facility is all on one level and sits on 6.5 acres of land in a great location. (Do you see the pattern here?)
Both Temple and First Baptist are Southern Baptist churches. As a matter of fact, these are the only two Southern Baptist churches within the city limits of Vandalia. We have one mission church, Grace Community Fellowship, and one satellite location, Metro Community Church, that meet in Vandalia as well. Since Temple and First are both Southern Baptist and have resources that will help one another continue to grow and reach people with the message Jesus, it makes sense to explore the possibility of “merging” these two churches.
Both churches are able to exist separately. Contrary to the “gossip” going around, neither church has any debt. Both churches are able to pay all of their bills. Both churches are able to pay their staffs and take care of their facilities. Both churches are able to have services and do ministry that is impacting the community of Vandalia with the message of Jesus. Both churches can continue the ministry God has called them to do separately.
But the Bible teaches us as followers of Jesus to be one church. In John 17:20-21, Jesus says: “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in me through their word; that they may all be ONE; even as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.”
On the night before Calvary, Jesus prayed that his existing disciples and future disciples would be “one” – united. Why? “So that the world may believe” in Jesus.
Temple Baptist and First Baptist may not “merge” into one new church. We are simply talking about the possibility and seeing if we can work out the details that may allow us to merge. But in order to be obedient to Jesus’ prayer, we have to see if this “merging church” can occur. Pray for us to seek God’s will!
And, if you have any questions, come visit Temple Baptist or First Baptist on any Sunday. We will answer your questions better than those where you drink coffee or get your hair cut. Or you can visit us both together on Sunday morning, March 25, at Temple Baptist Church’s facility during a joint worship service! We will see you there!