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Archive for Friday, April 10, 1998

CHURCH PUTS EMPHASIS ON BIBLICAL TEACHINGS

April 10, 1998

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An interim pastor wins a permanent spot to lead a church into its future.

A church with a long history in Lawrence is searching for a new focus.

The First Regular Missionary Baptist Church, 1646 Vt., has been in Lawrence for more than 100 years.

Pastor Terre Johnson, who recently became the permanent pastor of the church, is in his fourth year of ministry at the church. Although the church is a Baptist one, Johnson does not put much of an emphasis on the denomination aspect of the church.

``Most people don't understand denominations. They are manmade. You don't find them in the Bible. I try to be respectful of them, but that hasn't been the focus of my ministry. My focus is on biblical teaching and principles.''

The smaller church, with a congregation of 50 to 75 people, has found it beneficial to team up with Ninth Street Baptist Church, 847 Ohio. In fact, the two have a long tradition of joining together for activities.

``It's a better use of our resources,'' Johnson said. ``We've been inspired to do things jointly.''

The two churches will bring evangelist George Waddles for a revival April 21-23 to the Ninth Street Baptist Church, Johnson said.

While the church has focused on leadership for the past year, Johnson said the church now will seek a direction for its future.

``We do that primarily through prayer,'' Johnson said. ``Our focus will be on teaching and preaching on our identity. We will delve into and research Scripture to see what were and are God's purposes for us. We see so much in what the world says about us, but we want to turn our attention to the word of God.''

In addition, Johnson said the church anticipates expanding its role in the community.

``We want to focus on building ourselves up to be better in the community,'' he said. ``We are a church with its welcome mat out to all colors and races.''

Johnson believes a more ethnically mixed congregation can be in the church's future, but he will not be recruiting specific ethnicities.

``One should not go out and specifically recruit someone based on his color or race. It should be a natural outgrowth of who you are and your witness to the community,'' he said.

-- Regina Cassell's phone message number is 832-7189. Her e-mail address is rcassell@ljworld.com.

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