By Brittney Cloyd
In 1 Corinthians 9:22, Paul wrote, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” Church plants across Mississippi, like LifePointe Church of Amory, take this message to heart as they seek nontraditional ways of doing church.
LifePointe opened in a former auto parts store in January of 2008 with a relaxed environment to match its location. Pastor Rob Westbrook encourages members and visitors to attend the contemporary, full-band worship services in casual dress. “LifePointe is a new way of thinking and doing church. The Gospel message is not changed, just the methods,” he said.
Westbrook, who left his hometown of Amory over ten years ago to attend seminary, originally thought he would plant churches in an urban area. Then he discovered that over 14,000 people in his home county were either “unchurched” or “dechurched,” especially young couples with small children. “Just as many people need Christ here,” Westbrook noted.
“We’re in a very traditional area,” Westbrook said. “We’re the only Baptist church in our county with our kind of worship. We’re in a pretty small town, so we have to expand our demographics and open across all boundaries.”
LifePointe seemed to be just what the unchurched in Amory were looking for. They now have an average of 125 in attendance each Sunday, including as many as 20 people over the age of 65.
“We’ve seen entire families come to know the Lord and be baptized,” said Westbrook. “They are our best advertisement because they bring in new people,” he added.
To meet the needs of this growing group of people, LifePointe offers multiple Bible studies geared toward young adults.
“We don’t have many organized ministries. We just find a need and jump in. We want to change the community. Our goal is to reach as many people as we can to impact as much as possible,” Westbrook said.
LifePoint receives financial, construction, and prayer support from First Baptist Church of Amory.
“I presented the vision, and they saw it as a way to participate in missions,” Westbrook said.
Mississippi Baptists have formed 74 new churches since 2002, according to Ed Deuschle, Director of Church Planting for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.
“The Margaret Lackey State Mission Offering provides financial support to start approximately 12 churches per year in matching funds for church plants in Mississippi,” Deuschle said. “It also helps financially sustain 35-40 plants annually,” he said.
The North American Mission Board partners with Mississippi’s church planting department to provide support materials and training resources for church-planting leadership teams. For more information, contact David Michel at 800-748-5033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.