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A miracle on Pimento Avenue

 

Bobby Boswell/GBC

Pastor Grady Caldwell and state missisonary Butch Butcher, foreground, speak with the men of the church about the renovation of the new worship center for New Mercy Baptist Church.

New Mercy Baptist Church is a church plant located on Pimento Avenue in Griffin. This new church began as the vision of nearby New Salem Baptist Church.

A member of New Salem initiated a citywide Vacation Bible School called Kid’s Explosion in an area known as the Anne Street/Meriwether area. During a three-year period more than 260 children received Christ.

There wasn’t a Southern Baptist congregation in the immediate area for these children to be involved. So this started the process of partnership resulting in the formation of New Mercy Baptist Church. Through the New Salem congregation and with help from Flint River Baptist Association, Grady Caldwell – who serves as assistant pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Hampton – was asked to consider planting a church in the area.

Caldwell was led to Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.”

New Mercy Baptist Church was planted!

The extension of the partnership continued when New Salem sought assistance from the Georgia Baptist Convention in May of 2007. A team from New Mercy completed Basic Training, which was led by Church Planting Ministries of the state convention. By September of 2007 a core group of 12 people started a home Bible Study group. The church quickly outgrew the home, needing a place for worship and ministry.

The city of Griffin owned a nearby building that had served Head Start, a police community center, and an elementary school. The building had been vacant for five years and was in desperate need of repair.

Bobby Boswell/GBC

This building, leased from a company, will soon be the new worship center for New Mercy Baptist Church.

The city offered the building to New Mercy for a lease of one dollar per year for five years. All the church had to do was remodel the building. Responding to the need, the partnerships continued as additional churches and organizations got involved: the Association; Cornerstone Baptist Church of Lithia Springs; Zion Baptist Church; the North American Mission Board; Second Baptist Church of Griffin; First Baptist Church of Griffin; Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Albany; Union Baptist Church; and Carver Road Baptist Church.

Volunteers from these churches provided roofing, did electrical work, air conditioning, and other renovations.

Caldwell said, “The church wouldn’t be possible without the Georgia Baptist Convention Basic Training provided by Church Planting Ministries. Basic Training helped provide the tools to clarify the mission and vision, to put legs on the vision and develop the partnerships to accomplish God’s work.

“Partnerships are vital. No one of us can do it alone. We need each other. Our mission is to go out in the power of Christ and seek the lost, disciple the found and teach how to apply God’s Word to everyday life.”

The passion of the pastor and the congregation to reach people is demonstrated by the variety of ministries sponsored by New Mercy: an after school program for pre-k and six year old children, a computer lab, literacy training, a women’s job corps, a summer youth food program, a summer youth program, youth computer lab, food pantry, clothes closet, an off campus site for GED training, and a Celebrate Recovery ministry.

Approximately 112 families are helped each month with clothing and 87 families are provided food. The church also has a “deacon in training” living in an apartment in an area known for drug distribution. Because of the presence of the deacon and backyard Bible studies the neighborhood has changed significantly.

“Partnerships are vital. No one of us can do it alone. We need each other. Our mission is to go out in the power of Christ and seek the lost, disciple the found and teach how to apply God’s Word to everyday life.”

Grady Caldwell, pastor New Mercy Baptist Church

New Mercy, in need of additional space, was recently offered a vacant building which is adjacent to the present building. The building, vacant for many years and owned by a local company, has also been leased to the congregation for one dollar per year if they remodel the structure.

Partnering churches are already involved. A new roof has been installed and the interior of the building is being remodeled by church members and volunteers from other churches.

Caldwell remarked, “God has blessed the church; I believe He has blessed us because we as a church are tithers. Ten percent of all undesignated income goes to the Cooperative Program. Though we depend heavily on others three percent goes to the Flint River Baptist Association and two percent to local missions and benevolence.

“So many from the Georgia Baptist Convention have helped us at New Mercy – Keith Hamilton in Church Financial Services, Stuart Lang with Baptist Builders, Steve Parr in Evangelism, Ricky Thrasher in Associational Missions and the entire Church Planting Team, Butch Butcher, Gerald Colbert, Galen Jones and Ben Lang.”

In Georgia it is estimated that over 70 percent of the population is without Christ. There are many opportunities for new church plants and partnerships to share the Gospel. Contact your associational missionary or Butch Butcher, bbutcher@gabaptist.org, (770) 936-5288 in Church Planting Ministries to get involved in a miracle church plant like the one on Pimento Avenue.

Bobby Boswell/GBC

New Mercy Baptist Church was planted in this elementary school on Pimento Avenue.