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Georgia native follows God's call to plant church in New York

 

Robbie Lankford grew up in Cedartown and was saved during Vacation Bible School at Limebranch Church. As a teenager he frequently felt that God wanted him to be a “preacher,” but basically dismissed the idea until he met Shannon Garner, whose father was pastor of Pine Bower Church, also in Cedartown.

At age 17 Lankford sensed God’s call upon his life, was licensed to the ministry by the Pine Bower Church and served on the church staff while a student in college. Lankford subsequently enrolled in Southeastern Seminary, graduated, and went to Queensbury, New York in February of 2000 to start a church.

As a seminary student Lankford served on the staff of Central Church in Henderson, North Carolina and admitted that the church would not allow the members to stay “comfortable” in their Christian lives.

When the seminary began an emphasis on planting churches in the Northeast, God began to tug at Lankford’s heart. Then one day a pastor from Schenectady came to Henderson to share with Central Church about the work that God was doing in the Empire State.

That is when the Lord began to make it clear to Lankford he was to go to Queensbury, NY to advance the cause of Christ.

Gerald Harris

Robbie Lankford, a native of Cedartown, is charting a course for the future of New Hope Baptist Church in Queensbury, NY.

Once the Lankfords had moved, the aspiring church planter asked himself, “How will anyone know we are here?” In response to his own question he began to build relationships and started a television ministry. He was able to provide a 30-minute message three times a week for only $150.

Of this media ministry Lankford said, “I didn’t have a church or a congregation, so I spoke to the camera in a conversational way and said, ‘This is God’s Word and this is what it says and here is how you can apply it to your life.’ This television ministry didn’t give me a congregation, but it did give me some exposure to 120,000 potential viewers.”

Lankford continued, “I did all I knew to do for 6 weeks, but was still at an impasse until I read Joshua 6. That is where God told Joshua that the city of Jericho was securely shut up and that none could go out or come in. But then God told Joshua that He had given him the city.”

Lankford added, “I felt like God was making me a promise just as He had made a promise to Joshua. I then proceeded to mark off the city of Queensbury and drove around it once for six days and seven times on the seventh day. I even blew a trumpet – although it was just the toy trumpet of my son, I blew it just like the people blew their trumpets before Jericho.”

Lankford noted, “Shortly after that experience God gave to my wife a friend who could say of us to her friends, ‘This couple is ok. Listen to what they have to say.’”

Shannon’s new friend was a dentist’s wife who had been praying for 5 years that God would send someone to their city to start a church. Shortly thereafter the first service for the New Hope Community Church was started with 19 people in the dentist’s office.

Lankford admitted, “What we are doing here is not complicated, but it is difficult. We certainly could not do it without the Lord. In fact, our theme is based on the words of Jesus, who said, ‘Without me you can do nothing.’”

New Hope Church met first in the dentist’s office, then in the Ramada Inn. At present the church is leasing a building formerly occupied by the Prudential Insurance Company. Lankford says, “People still come in our building to pay insurance premiums and I say, ‘We can’t give you a piece of the rock, but we can help you build your life on the Rock.’”

Queensbury church is now averaging 120 in worship and have had almost 200 people gathered for worship at one time. Lankford asserts that the church is now gaining momentum and that they have baptized 38 new believers.

The Lankfords and their children, Hannah, Josh and Lindsey are making an impact upon Queensbury and Warren County with its population of 62,000. Robbie Lankford is bright, personable and has a vision from God, which he is effectively communicating through his personal contacts, sermons and television ministry. A brief conversation with this young, dynamic pastor will be convincing proof that God has called one of His choicest servants to an area with a great need and hunger for the gospel.

The Queensbury pastor emphasized, “It is exciting to think about my home state (Georgia) praying about how it might become involved in helping us reach the precious people of NY for Christ. They are not resistant to the Gospel, most of them have simply never had a fair shot at hearing it.” Robbie Lankford can be reached through his email address at pastor@sharingnewhope.net.