In the last two episodes of The Grind podcast, Dave and Chad interviewed Bill Eliff from The Summit Church and Rodney Rambo and Ryan Worley from Rooted Church. A common thread emerged from the conversations. Both podcasts highlight existing churches that invited church plants into their buildings and eventually gave the plants their facilities. Summit’s campuses in Saline County and Conway occupy buildings that were given to them by existing churches. Rooted Church meets in the old Johnson Baptist Church building.
Three churches, three buildings, three new church plants.
Unfortunately, 16 ABSC churches close every year. But many of those churches are extending their legacy through church planting. Rodney Rambo knew when he became the pastor of Johnson Baptist Church that major decisions about the future lay ahead of the congregation. They were aging and had endured many years of plateau. Although church planting was on his heart, he didn't see the church being in a position to plant anytime soon. Then he met Ryan Worley, a new church planter with a core group that was about to outgrow his living room. Johnson and Rambo invited Rooted Church to meet at their building on Sunday nights. What happened next was a work of God. Rodney remembers one of their church members, Bill, saying he had a dream about their church one day being filled with young families. The only problem was the church was an aging congregation who wasn’t currently reaching families. Rodney says that it wasn’t until Johnson Baptist and Rooted merged that Bill’s dream became a reality. The first Easter after the merger, Bill put his arm around Rodney at the back of the auditorium and said, “See this? This is my dream. This is what I saw.”
Rooted’s congregation is now made up of as many kids as adults. Reaching young families is the heartbeat of their body. They have a thriving ministry through adoption and foster care. God answered Bill’s prayer for sure, but it was in a way that he never could’ve imagined. God answered his prayer through the death of Johnson Baptist, so that a new church could be born in its place.
And this is what God has always been about, bringing life from death. He not only does it through the gospel in the lives of lost sinners, but he is also doing it around Arkansas through churches that are leaving a legacy through new churches.