Multi-generational revitalization reflects one church’s mission

by Bonnie Shaw on January 27, 2022 in News

In his first 18 months as senior pastor of First Baptist Church Cedar Hill, Josh Prince has baptized a thirteen-year-old, a man in his eighties and all ages in between. For FBC Cedar Hill, this has been the beginning of the manifestation of their goal to reach all ages with the gospel message.

Prince came to FBC Cedar Hill in August 2020, in the midst of stringent COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainties about the days ahead. It was his first senior pastorship, and he and the church staff wanted to focus on giving the church a solid foundation to build off of. They focused on preaching the gospel, giving the congregation the confidence to share the gospel and praying regularly and passionately.

“We wanted to care for the people here, solidify relationships, and really help them dream again as a church and be excited about the work of God. But then we also wanted to give them lots of opportunities to really start reaching Cedar Hill,” Prince explained.

One of FBC Cedar Hill’s goals is to be intergenerational, so the church has also placed an emphasis on connecting with young families in the community. In the past year, they have seen encouragement as a ten-year-old and a fourteen-year-old accepted Christ and were baptized at the church.

In addition to this work, FBC Cedar Hill is also emphasizing internal healing and growth.

“As focused as we are on those efforts and reaching our community, there is still important revitalization work on the people within the church, some of whom have been here for 30 or 40 years,” Prince shared.

One of the first significant conversations Prince had as the new pastor of FBC Cedar Hill was with a man in his eighties, who had been in the church for decades but had always struggled with confidence in his salvation. He wondered if he had only been baptized because it was what everyone else in the church had done. He felt inadequate and unworthy of true salvation. Prince sat down with him and talked through the gospel, answering his questions and ultimately showing him that, even though all men are unworthy, God still loves them and has provided a way for eternal life. He accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and was, for the first time, completely confident in his salvation.

The man was Prince’s first baptism at FBC Cedar Hill, and he was one of three adult members who Prince was able to counsel and lead through baptism in 2021.

With the goal of strengthening the existing church and better engaging the community in mind, Prince was connected to Director of Church Health Strategy Jonathan Smith in the fall of 2021. Together, they talked through Prince’s goals for FBC Cedar Hill and looked at models of similar churches to see how they could continue the work they started.

“He connected all those dots that are big necessities in the church, and we looked at other models of churches and ways to connect them to what we were doing,” Prince explained.

“Cedar Hill is a growing community. It is also growing in diversity. Josh Prince is the perfect pastor to lead the complexity of this revitalization task. He has the heart to reach everyone, young and old, and the heart to reach all of the beautiful and various ethnicities that are moving into Cedar Hill,” Smith shared. “As an equipper, I can teach pastors many things, but I can’t give them a heart to reach the community. Only God can do that.”

The recent baptism of adults, including several senior adults, is a clear sign of the work of the Holy Spirit and is a strong indication of the great things that are to come for Cedar Hill.

Now the FBC Cedar Hill staff is working with Smith on developing a clear vision for the church that they can communicate easily with the congregation and the community.

“I want to see us become a diverse church – generationally and ethnically, especially given the extreme diversity in Cedar Hill. We want to see everyone represented within the church,” Prince said. “It’s cool to celebrate the diversity of age, and that’s something we’ve really been blessed with and want to continue to expand on.”

To learn more about Church Health Strategy or request a consultation, click here.

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