God’s Word Brings Growth
At the beginning of 2019, Boones Creek Christian Church in Johnson City, Tennessee, started a three-year sermon series on the Trinity. Senior minister David Clark planned to spend a year preaching and teaching on God the Father, a year on the person of Christ, and a year on the Holy Spirit. In 2020, the focus was on Jesus.
David Eversole, the church’s administrative minister, recalled that the first two months of 2020 were an encouraging time for the congregation because of the churchwide emphasis on learning about Jesus. Not only were the Sunday sermons all about Jesus, so were the children’s programs and small groups. All ages were focused on Jesus.
In January and February 2020, Boones Creek celebrated an unusually high number of baptisms and transfers. The church was averaging more than 1,000 in attendance for the first time. Then in March—due to COVID-19’s arrival—Clark had to decide if he should continue with a year of sermons about Jesus or switch to a more topical teaching series to address the pandemic.
Clark resolved to keep preaching about Jesus. And so, while the sermon series didn’t change, nearly everything else did.
Along with thousands of other churches, Boones Creek suspended its in-person services and transitioned to online gatherings on Sunday mornings. The church purchased additional video streaming equipment and expanded a qualified team that included an employee from the local NBC affiliate, but they did not advertise or promote the digital worship experience outside of a letter to the congregation.
Still, the church continued reaching new people.
Boones Creek Christian Church recorded 70 total additions in 2020, one of their largest growth years on record. Even offerings were up almost 5 percent over 2019.
Clark has no doubt about the reason. “It was the Scripture doing it.” By continuing to preach about Christ, Clark allowed the simple message of the gospel to do its work during a time of extreme uncertainty.
Even when the congregation wasn’t meeting in person, Boones Creek made it easier than ever for people to make a decision for Christ. The church already had a system in place for attendees to submit prayer requests by text message. Early in the pandemic, Clark concluded one of his sermons by inviting people to send a text “for prayer—or to make a decision.” That very small change was significant, and it worked. New believers in the online congregation began texting the church with their desire to be baptized.
Clark is humble and jovial with a self-effacing sense of humor, and he’s quick to give glory to God for the growth at Boones Creek.
“I’m not the best preacher in the world,” he said, “but we’ve had a huge influx of new people.”
Even today, more people are attending the church’s services online than in person. And Clark is quick to credit Scripture for the church’s growth.