Sunday, August 21 was a special time for worship at Idlewild Baptist Church in Matthews, because it was the first time the new Nepali congregation there baptized new Christians. Idlewild, the host congregation, had a baptismal service and invited the Nepali church to join them for an international experience. Four from Idlewild and twelve from Christ Centered Church were immersed that Sunday morning. Pastor Keith Whitener could hardly contain his excitement at seeing his church family involved in international missions in their own community.
This worship experience was a culmination of what has been going on for several months at Idlewild. First, Keith Whitener met Paul Darnal at a training event sponsored by Metrolina Association, learning that the Nepali church plant Paul worked with was searching for a place to meet, a church they could partner with. Then, working with the association, Idlewild began to explore what a partnership between their church and the Nepali church would look like. Then, after much prayer and effort, Christ Centered Church began meeting at the Idlewild facilities in June, 2011. They joined with Idlewild for their Vacation Bible School later in the summer, where some of the students from the international fellowship came to know Jesus, beginning their life as His disciples. The partnership continued to develop over the summer months, and when the baptismal service was planned the two churches decided to do them together.
The nations have come to our neighborhoods, and it is so good to see churches that understand that we must allow God to send us into the harvest fields all around us, working with brothers and sisters in Christ who may be from a different land, but who know the same Lord. Twenty churches in Metrolina Association have on-going partnerships with ethnic congregations, and we pray that number will only increase, and that many more international baptismal services will be held in the coming days as we see Jesus’ Great Commission fulfilled right here at home.
For more information on how your church can partner with an international congregation here in the Charlotte area, please call Metrolina Baptist Association at 704.375.1197.