Something Is Happening -- By: James C, Strickland, Jr.

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 06:2 (Spring 1989)
Article: Something Is Happening
Author: James C, Strickland, Jr.


Something Is Happening

Jeremiah 31:31–34

James C, Strickland, Jr.

Pastor, Heritage Baptist Church
Cartersville, Georgia

Introduction:

Recently, I received a telephone call from a person belonging to an old Baptist church in her community. When she called, she said, “A group in our church is thinking of starting an alternative Baptist church in our community. We would like for you and some of your members to come and tell us your church’s story.”

We accepted the invitation for two reasons: First, our people love to tell our church’s story, although it is brief and still in the process of being written. Second, while we do not promote or seek to market our kind of endeavor, we do wish to help any group of Christians who feel God’s urging toward positive action, and who ask our help. It was not our first such invitation.

On the evening of the meeting, we sat in the living room of the woman who had given the invitation. Her family and eight friends gathered to pray and to talk. The members of our new church began telling their story of frustration with the institutionalism of the church from which they had originally come. They affirmed their love and appreciation for their mother church, and for her role in their spiritual lives. At the same time, they stated that they could no longer fight the forces which bound their old church. Therefore, they had decided that God was calling them to take some positive and costly action. Thus, leaving everything behind, they formed a new church, determined to do what they felt God was calling them to do. On April 5, 1987, Heritage Baptist Church began meeting as a separate entity. I joined them as their first pastor on April 19, 1987.

As we related our story that evening, we noticed those gathered to hear nodding their heads in affirmation. They understood the deep sense of spiritual desperation out of which our church had been formed. After our story was told, we listened as they verbalized their frustrations with their mother church, and their fears about starting a new fellowship.

As the meeting concluded and we were about to depart, someone made a remark which had existential and prophetic overtones. He said, “In the world of spiritual things, at least among Baptists, something is happening.”

We all knew that the statement was indicative of the meaning of our discussion that evening, and of other such discussions that have been occurring around our denomination. “Something is happening.”

As I have reflected over this meeting and that rem...

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