Something is in the water at Westport Road Baptist Church of Louisville, Kentucky.
Make that somebody is in the water, as in the baptismal water, for eight consecutive weeks. That’s the running record since Chip Pendleton has been the lead pastor. And, Pendleton said, they have another dozen in the pipeline waiting their turn.
“We are blessed right now,” he said.
It has been quite a summer at Westport Baptist with 24 baptisms in all.
Pendleton said he hasn’t been overly evangelistic in the pulpit but a new outreach director – Pendleton’s son Andrew – and the testimonies of those before they take the baptism plunge have turned up the church’s energy to a high level.
“We have a testimony with every baptism,” the pastor said. “Those have made a big difference and where it has made the biggest difference for us is with the adults. Of our last 24 baptisms, 15 have been 18 or above.”
Everybody has a story
Pendelton said one gentleman said he had been coming to church for several weeks. He had grown up Catholic and said there was a lot of reasons why he wasn’t going to get baptized. “After hearing a couple of testimonies, he changed his mind,” the pastor said.
The testimonies aren’t taped but come directly from the baptistry. Sometimes they are written on a sheet of paper and are mostly brief. But they don’t have to be brief, Pendleton said. “One lady did a page and a half explaining her journey. It took about three minutes, which was fine. It was completely different.”
Everybody has a story and the testimony from the baptistry is proving that theory at Westport Baptist. It is also stirring the congregation to want more stories from the waters. The church’s overall vibe is on an uptick, Pendleton said.
Andrew Pendleton, who went to seminary in California and pastored four years in Los Angeles, wanted to come home to Kentucky. He has made a difference in how Westport has continued to look outward instead of inward.
“That has been a big bonus for us,” his father said. “We never had anybody covering that as their main job.”
Andrew started a text-to-church program where potential members will get texts of encouragement. He is also working on an evangelistic map profile through the Kentucky Baptist Convention that will be beneficial.
“That’s made a difference and him directly calling and talking to people has helped,” Chip Pendleton said. “He just started the first of the year and is trying to get us all moving in the same direction.”
Westport Baptist has momentum and motivation, and the pastor wants to keep that going with outreach opportunities. Meanwhile, the baptisms – and testimonies that are attached to them – continue to be the fuel.
“I think since the summer we’ve had like 24 (baptisms),” he said. “It has been a consistent thing that I’m more pleased with than if we had a lot on one Sunday. This has staying power. God is doing something out there. This is not just isolated to us. It’s something God is doing.”
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EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Mark Maynard and originally published by Kentucky Today.