Aaron Creasman: The Ongoing Challenge of “Growing” the Church

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Thom Rainer, who is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, just published an article outlining the five challenges to growth in the church today.

You can read his post here. But these challenges are not new to members of BCBC, and the Elders have made it one of the church priorities for 2017.

Pastor Rainer lists these challenges from a negative perspective. We prefer a more forward looking approach, as listed below.

As Christians and members of BCBC we must…

  • Be intentionally relational with those who are not in church.
  • Reflect an awareness of our beliefs and a willingness to be missionaries to our neighbors.
  • Take opportunities to invite acquaintances and friends to come with you to church.
  • Be welcoming to visitors before and after Sunday worship service, and ensure they have a good experience.


  • Remember, when we use social media, we are always Christians.

Dr. Rainer concludes, “Then, and only then, will we see our churches start growing again.”


Disciples Path: A Life on Life Program at BCBC

And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. (Acts 5:42)

In 2013, an evangelist, Philip, was teaching on the topic, small group ministry at the Kiev Theological Seminary in Ukraine.

Using an interpreter, he taught a group of church planters about the need and the process of small groups in their new churches. At one point, Philip says, he was convinced that they were just not getting it—not surprising given the cultural and language hurdles he needed to overcome.

While there, Philip learned something that is true everywhere.

  • Just because you speak does not mean that they heard you.
  • Just because they nodded their heads in affirmation does not mean that they understood.
  • Just because they said they understand does not mean that they agree.
  • Just because they agree does not mean that they will do it.

Using a lot of words should never be equated with people actually understanding and following through on what you’ve said. Plenty of explanation is always needed.

Whenever we lead, it’s critical to define our terms. We are regularly in churches across the country and speaking at conferences in which no one in the room has taken the time to define what they mean by the word “disciple.” We build a collection of buzzwords and everyone we lead just nods in support of our teaching. When it comes to identifying the meaning of the word disciple, We must do better.

Starting Sunday, January 29th and continuing through 2017

BCBC will begin a Life on Life discipleship series. Starting 9:30 am each Sunday in the Worship Center Library, Pastor Tommy, along with Elders Aaron, Brian, and Brent will teaching the class and share their stories.

All, church members and visitors, are invited to attend and participate in this important series.

Cost for the class is $10.00 for your student guide. A sign up sheet will be at the Welcome Desk.

Baptists: A History of Discipleship

“teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).

Anabaptists of Philadelphia witness a full immersion baptism.

Anabaptists of Philadelphia witness a full immersion baptism. …

Missions and discipleship are an important part of what we do at Bent Creek Baptist Church. The roots of this calling goes back to the Anabaptists who came on the heels Martin Luther’s reformation.

Baptist, like other reform movements in the 16th century believed in four principles.

First, a person saved not by works but by faith alone.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

Second, religious authority is found in the Bible in the Word of God (not church authorities).

Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16)

Third, the church is defined as the whole community of Christian believers, since all are priests before God.

Thus, all Christians are of that holy priesthood and can offer spiritual sacrifices to God. All have the right to go directly to God through Jesus Christ, our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Finally, the essence of Christian living is found in serving God in any useful calling, whether ordained or lay.

Encourage younger men likewise to be self-controlled, showing yourself to be an example of good works in every way. In your teaching show integrity, dignity, and a sound message that cannot be criticized, so that any opponent will be at a loss, because he has nothing evil to say about us. (Titus 2:6-8)

To this day any classical description of Protestantism echoes those central truths.

The source of Baptist Protestantism, as told by Bruce Shelley in his book, Church History in Plain Language goes back to 1525 in Zurich, Switzerland. On a wintry night, like-minded individuals met and defined what it means to be baptized. Only four days before this meeting, the church warned all parents to have their babies baptized within eight days of birth or face banishment from the territory. This tradition, played out on a little baby, lacked meaning. For Anabaptists, baptism should be reserved as an informed statement of commitment to Christ—something impossible to expect from a baby.

and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (1 Peter 3:21)

After discussion and calling on God to do his will, these brave men arose from prayer and took one of the most decisive action in Christian history. George Blaurock, a former priest, asked Conrad Grebel for baptism in the apostolic fashion—upon confession of personal faith in Jesus Christ. There he was baptized and proceeded to baptize the others. Thus, Anabaptism the forerunner of today’s Baptists and an important expression of the Protestant Reformation, was born.

In life, Baptists strive to demonstrate that those who live most devoutly for the world to come are often in the best position to change the world of the present. Accordingly, at Bent Creek Baptist Church, we are a family of disciples who do our best to live out faith as a model of God’s grace.

Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)

Join us each Sunday at 10:30 am for coffee and fellowship and stay with your neighbors for church service at 11 am.

Each of Us, Evangelists

For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:47)

The Light of the World, Holman Hunt, 1853

The Light of the World, Holman Hunt, 1853

Over the past few Sundays, Pastor Tommy has described a vision for the BCBC congregation to take their faith to their neighbors as a natural part of our daily interactions.

Today, Pastor Erwin W. Lutzer, writing for Decision Magazine, made a similar plea.

Says Pastor Lutzer, “We want God to come in great power to convert people, but the Bible stresses the need for personal evangelism. I believe that America’s crumbling walls cannot be rebuilt until Christians—bankers, lawyers, nurses, factory workers—all see themselves as representatives of Christ wherever He has planted them.”

But here’s the challenge…

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (Matthew 5:13)

“One of my greatest disappointments,” he continues, “is the number of Christians who work next to unbelievers without ever making it clear that they are Christians. Lovingly and winsomely [sweetly, innocently, charming, winning, engaging], we must share the Gospel message through our lips and testify to its transformative power by our lives. Unless that happens, America’s walls will not be rebuilt.”

“We as the church,” he concludes, “through the power of the Gospel, have the seeds of renewal. Unless they are watered, cared for and cultivated, we will not rebuild our crumbling walls.”

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)