Baptism Is Only the Beginning
By Kelly Carr
Kentucky native Lee Faust stepped into a beautiful ministry this year. He heard that Jessamine Christian Church would need a new lead pastor when Wally Rendel retired, and when he visited JCC, he discovered a body of believers filled with history and maturity who wanted to reach out, disciple new believers, and draw people into deeper relationships. That lined up perfectly with Faust’s passions and experience. He started with the church in March.
“My 2019 goal has been to learn the heart of the people and let all ages know I am here to care for them, support them, and challenge them in their faith.”
As new families continue to move into the rapidly growing county, Faust is encouraging the church to form meaningful connections with their neighbors—and food is a great avenue!
“I told the church we need a big ol’ smoker to roll into a subdivision, raise the lid, and just feed and love on people through block parties,” he said.
Another continually growing outreach is JCC’s three-year-old jail ministry, started by church member Barbara Burton. The ministry offers a weekly Bible study for men and one for women, and also provides a twice-weekly class to prepare people for being released from jail, assisting with such things as building resumes, confidence in life skills, etc.
When he attended his first jail Bible study, Faust observed Burton greeting everyone with a hug, displaying a level of compassion that contributes to the life change the church is seeing.
Said one inmate, “I don’t know the last time someone hugged me and said they loved me.”
JCC now averages four to five baptisms each week through their jail ministry, with more than 550 baptisms in three years. It’s a powerful sight to see inmates dressed in orange arrive at the church, have their shackles removed, and stand in a circle of prayer with JCC members before experiencing the watery grave of baptism, Faust said.
While significant, Faust knows these baptisms—along with the almost 50 people per year the church baptizes during their main worship services—are just the beginning.
“These are spiritual infants,” he said. “We cannot baptize all these people and not give them a spiritual parent.” Lee plans to challenge more JCC men to join in mentoring the men who are released from jail.
“Why in the world would we not also have some men in our church share their love for Christ and share their life when these men get out? They need other men to walk side by side and to teach them and help them grow in their faith.”
Kelly Carr, former editor of The Lookout, enjoys sharing and shaping people’s stories as a writing and editing consultant in Cincinnati, Ohio (EditorOfLife.com).