Located on the south end of Bradley County, Waterville Baptist Church has ministered to the Waterville community for 74 years. In recent years, WBC has seen a time of transition, like many churches in post-COVID America. 

During their recent pastor search, the church focused on reinvigorating its familial ties, outreach, evangelism, and love, both for the community and each other. They spent almost two years under an interim before they called their new pastor, Rodney Bice.

“There is excitement in the air and unity abounding among the family of God,” said Pastor Bice. 

Since November, the church has seen significant growth, both in number and in faith. 

There have been 6 baptisms in the last six months, and the church is expecting many more by the end of 2024. They also have had 20 people join the church. God is honoring their renewed conviction.

At least two baptisms are a result of WBC’s community outreach.

A group of WBC members regularly walk the neighborhoods nearby, telling people about Jesus, the hope He offers, and the church just down the road from their homes.

“We ask them, ‘Who is Jesus to you?’,” said Penny Cline, a member of the outreach team. Most are reportedly receptive to talking about the Lord, but those who aren’t are still exposed to the love of Jesus. 

The church is also cultivating a longtime relationship with Waterville Community Elementary School, with a Good News Club on Mondays where students can learn about the hope of Jesus Christ. They recently provided lunch and served the staff of WCES as thanks for another year of teaching and leading students in the Waterville community.

There are many more exciting things happening at Waterville, and they are excited about serving God as a family. 

Pastor Bice said the current vision is “to be a Neighborhood Church that is impacting the community of Waterville, our neighbors, and the nations with the Gospel by intentionally inviting family and friends to church, praying for the lost and unchurched, and engaging people with the Gospel.” He added, “The future is bright for WBC.”

Many CrossNet Baptist Network churches are going through similar transitions and changes. Many are in the pastor search process. The association is seeing its own season of unpredictability, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t still working in and through us.

It’ll be hard. Ask any member of Waterville Baptist Church. They still ask for prayer as they strive to be a Great Commission church. They have seen decline, stress, change, and loss, but God has honored their faithfulness.

It can be easy to give up and throw in the towel, move to a different church, or just stop going altogether.

2 Chronicles 15:2-4;7 says, “He went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. For a long time, Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. But in their distress, they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought Him, and He was found by them…But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.’”

Seek the Lord! He is there, and He hasn’t given up on you, your church, or this area. Keep fighting the good fight. He will redeem and restore you.