By Jennifer Hooks
Transformed from an old feed store into a place of worship and warm welcomes, LifeSong Community Church held the launch into their new facility on Nov. 16. The church has progressed tremendously in the past year, and they are currently holding services across from Jerry’s Catfish House in Florence. Rather than providing feed for animals, they are now providing the ‘Bread of Life’ for those attending church at LifeSong. The church is unique in many aspects and is reaching out to families and others who would normally not attend church.
This facility has been fully renovated from the feed store and is filled with smiling faces and Casting Crowns music playing each Sunday morning.
“It is just amazing how God has brought the building from a feed store to our place of worship,” said Pauline Patrick, member of LifeSong.
Members and others in the community have stepped up to help produce the church newsletter, paint and decorate the new building, and have used their contracting skills to install bathrooms and carpeting. The new facility allows LifeSong to accommodate approximately 200 people.
Kenny Culpepper, bi-vocational pastor at LifeSong, first felt called to pastor a new church plant after he returned from a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. He served as pastor at Mountain Creek in Florence for eight and a half years before and felt that his time was ending there.
“I was ready to do something new and exciting for the Lord,” Culpepper said. “Everything fell into place for the church plant and even when we moved out of the parsonage, we were able to find a house within two weeks.”
After much prayer and preparation, the first meeting of LifeSong was held on Feb. 20, 2008 in the Culpepper home, where eight adults and three children were in attendance.
“We met in our home for three or four Sundays and eventually had about 20 people in attendance,” Culpepper said.
LifeSong Community Church has grown substantially since their first meeting and many more continue to join the church.
“Florence is an un-churched area and we have the best hope that this church plant will be a very successful one,” said Allen Stephens, Director of Missions for the Rankin Baptist Association.
The church leadership has implemented a variety of unique approaches in the way they approach outreach. One of these is their bread ministry, where they go door to door to pray for individuals and offer them loaves of bread.
“John 6:35 says, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty,’ and I won’t mind at all if they know us as the bread church,” said Culpepper.
They have t-shirts that say ‘Got Bread?’ on the front and have the text of John 6:35 on the back. Not only are they using these approaches for outreach, but they also mailed out 5,000 postcards to the community to advertise their launch day. LifeSong is a very family-oriented church and they provide donuts and coffee before service in their café each Sunday. The worship is contemporary and the dress is casual as they hope everyone who comes through their doors will feel comfortable and welcomed.
LifeSong had their first baptism service in a swimming pool on Sept. 7, and three generations of one family were baptized.
“We have depended on God all along and it has been amazing to see how He has provided,” said Culpepper.
Without the financial support of the Margaret Lackey offering and the continuous support of Briar Hill Baptist Church, LifeSong would not be positioned where they are today.
“The Margaret Lackey offering sustains 35 church plants annually. We have a good partnership base with LifeSong and other church plants and through this, we provide them with extensive church planting training,” said Ed Deuschle, director of church planting for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.
For more information about LifeSong Community Church, visit www.lifesong1.com or contact David Michel at 800-748-1651, ext. 233.