Family Bible Study Leads to Father’s Day Baptism in East Leesville

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By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Editor

LEESVILLE, Louisiana (LBM) – Blake Frederick was leading the nightly family devotional time in early March when his eight-year-old son, Micah, made an important request – he wanted to surrender his life to Christ and share his decision in public Baptism.

Overwhelmed with joy, the family arranged a meeting with the pastoral leadership team at East Leesville Baptist Church and set a date for the baptism. However, just like other Louisiana Baptist churches in the state, attendance restrictions due to the novel coronavirus pandemic have delayed baptism to a later date.

The baptism was postponed and fell on Father’s Day. Blake Frederick, whose wife, Heather, is children’s minister at East Leesville Baptist, said he was thrilled when he saw his son baptized on June 21.

“It was not until the morning of his baptism that I realized that it would take place on Father’s Day,” he told the Baptist message. “As proud as I was of his obedience to Christ’s command to be baptized, I know God the Father was even more delighted. “

Micah Frederick is the fifth new convert, with five others pending, to participate in baptism at East Leesville Baptist since the church reopened for worship services on campus on May 10.

Pastor Tommy Kiker said baptisms since COVID-19 reflect the desire of others to learn more about the hope found in Christ amid so much uncertainty.

“I think we are seeing more openness to the gospel,” Kiker said. “People were confronted with the fact that life is incredibly fragile and this led to conversations about peace, hope and eternity. God used this season to remove many of the distractions we had and focus on Him. “

Kiker said that despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the church has adapted its approach to ministry.

Before the virus, the church did not have an online presence. Once they were unable to meet at their facilities on March 22 due to COVID-19 attendance restrictions, services were moved exclusively to YouTube.

While the church has since resumed service inside the campus gymnasium (while the worship center is undergoing renovations), Kiker has said he will not abandon this new approach to online ministry which , he hopes, will continue to help the congregation reach far beyond the walls of their facilities.

In addition to its new online ministry, members continued their program of delivering food to the more than 100 families the local school district has identified as needy. In addition, the church distributed food to housebound seniors and widows, and helped clean up properties damaged by a tornado that hit the area on April 19.

“Some of our strengths as a church are brought out when we have the opportunity to love and care for our community,” Kiker said. “When presented with a need, our church jumps on it. Over the past few months, this servanthood mentality has multiplied in the hearts of our people as we recognize that life is fragile and we need each other.

Looking to the future, Kiker is excited to move into the updated worship center in October. The facility will accommodate 473 people when at 100% capacity, and will include theater seating, new carpet and lighting, as well as advanced technology for video broadcasts and online ministry.

Kiker, who became a pastor at East Leesville Baptist in 2019, also anticipates a newly launched vision to plant one church per year. The congregation works in partnership with churches in Red River Parish, Bar Nunn, Wyoming, and Parker, Colorado.

“These are certainly unusual and difficult days, but the mission of East Leesville Baptist Church has not changed at all,” he said. “Our core values ​​always express our mission – to love God, love people, seek the lost, and make disciples. “

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