Published February 6, 2018
Lexington—Partnering with another Baptist congregation in Lexington, Immanuel Baptist Church officially launched a satellite campus on Sunday, Feb. 4, on Armstrong Mill Road.
Originally begun as a church plant of Immanuel about 25 years ago, Victory Baptist Church had begun to struggle in recent years with resources and sustainability and had gone without a pastor for an extended period. Meanwhile, Immanuel Baptist Church has been growing quickly over the past few years, giving the Tates Creek congregation an opportunity to pursue new ways to revitalize other area congregations and grow the kingdom of God.
"Rather than starting another campus from scratch, we began to explore the idea of restarting existing churches," said Immanuel's senior pastor, Ron Edmondson, who will teach live at both campuses. "When Victory Baptist first contacted us, we just knew God had to be in this."
Since Immanuel had planted Victory, there was already a love between the two congregations, according to Kevin Spratt, executive pastor of connections at Immanuel. "When Victory reached out to us we knew it was the Lord leading us," he added.
Over 90 percent of Victory's congregation has remained with the new satellite and are excited about what their future now holds, according to Spratt.
"The members at Victory had done a great job of keeping the campus up-to-date and debt-free," he said. "We did replace some carpet, furniture and floors for the relaunch on Feb. 4, as well as painting and extensive cleaning," Spratt said.
While there still are a few more projects to tackle, the Armstrong Mill campus is "blessed with a great space for kids and adults," he noted.
For its "soft launch" on Jan. 28, almost 200 adults and children were present. "We prayed for 100 people from the Tates Creek campus to move their regular attendance to Armstrong Mill, and by God's grace the Immanuel family jumped in," Spratt said. "The future looks bright."
IBC's main campus will remain on Tates Creek Road, but the congregation is adjusting its worship times to accommodate live preaching at both locations. Morning service timeson Sundayswill be9 a.m. and 11 a.m. atTates Creek, and at 10 a.m. at Armstrong Mill, which is about five miles away. An evening service will be held at Tates Creek at 5:30 p.m., while Armstrong Mill will offer a traditional service then.
As for discipleship plans, "We believe strongly in making disciples through smaller groups, so we are trying to be intentional with our growth strategy for groups," said Spratt. "We are looking at a blended on-campus and off-campus groups model."
For now, though, the goal is just to get the word out that something new is happening at Armstrong Mill and exciting days are ahead, but the relaunch already is energizing both campuses, said Bill Ellis, discipleship pastor at Immanuel.
"The Armstrong Mill campus is being blessed with several young families," Ellis said. "Long-time attenders there are thrilled to see kids in the nursery, preschool, and children's areas again.
"There is also a buzz on the Tates Creek campus," he added, "as folks there are being stretched to fill vacancies in areas of service previously occupied by those that are accepting the challenge to be part of the relaunch at Armstrong Mill." (WR)
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