Recently, I was honored to visit Worden Baptist Church in Bald Knob, Arkansas. Bro. Paul Bearfield has a vision for the church to reach the community around them through small groups –and it’s working.
During my visit, I witnessed something uncommon for rural churches in the south. The congregation was incredibly diverse. They are multi-cultural, multi-generational, and multi-ethnic. Those are the traits typically expected in a larger urban church by default due to demographics. When these traits are found in a rural church, it means that something intentional is happening.
“Intentional” is a great word for Worden Baptist Church. The Sunday School class I visited was filled with young men from various backgrounds –a small business owner, a farmer, a college football player, a medieval sword-fighting enthusiast, and a pre-med student. While their interests were diverse, they all shared a common passion for God’s Word. The class was loaded with deep teaching and each participant displayed strong biblical knowledge –no doubt a result of being in the class.
The service reflected the same commitment to substantive worship centered on God’s Word. The music was well planned and prayer was offered as more than a ceremonial necessity.
I enjoyed preaching to the congregation. It was obvious that they were interested in listening to, studying, and contemplating the passage of Scripture presented.
Over lunch I was blessed to hear about the success of the church’s small group ministry which is reaching non-churched families in the community.
May God continue to bless the ministry of Worden Baptist Church –and may more small rural churches follow their lead in reaching their communities!