Engaging East Nashville
On April 24 & May 1, Brentwood Baptist members voted to approve the merger of Lockeland Baptist Church into Brentwood Baptist Church by 99%.
We’re grateful that God has given us this opportunity to walk alongside this church and dream about what could be next for this faithful body of believers who want to reach their growing community in East Nashville with the love of Christ.
Are you interested in being part of ministry at Lockeland? Email Jason Dukes at [email protected].
A Time of Growth and Transformation
As you drive through the Lockeland Springs community in East Nashville, change is all around you. To your right and to your left, new houses are being built and older homes are being remodeled. New neighbors are moving in. This historic and beautiful community is experiencing unprecedented growth and transformation.
When it comes to a historic community like Lockeland Springs, you want some things to remain steadfast and true—even in the midst of all the new and exciting development. Lockeland Baptist Church has been a steadfast presence in the community since opening its doors in 1903. Now, Brentwood Baptist Church has the opportunity to walk alongside this church and dream about what could be next for this faithful body of believers who want to reach their growing community with the love of Christ.
Over 100 Years of Faithful Ministry
Though a community may change, one thing remains the same: people still need to know Jesus. The approach to share Jesus with people may need to adapt over time, but the need is always there. Brentwood Baptist wants to partner with Lockeland Baptist to help them reimagine their ministry in the context of the community they are in today.
Dr. Terry Terry has served as the worship leader at Lockeland Baptist for seventeen years and as the interim pastor for the last two and a half years. He describes the status of the church today:
I look back at the time I’ve been here, and I see the church has always been in decline. It was a slow decline, for the most part. I think there was a point when the community changed so drastically—the kids of the people who lived in this neighborhood moved some place else. So, the church kind of lost its connectivity to the community.
God’s Hand at Work
The members recognize that they need to find new ways to reach more people with the gospel, and they’re determined to do whatever it takes. Tiffany Coursey has grown up in the church and describes why she believes God has brought the church to this point: “We still stand here for a reason. We have been small for a long time, and God didn’t just ‘accidentally’ make sure we had money in the bank. Through that, I think it all brings us to this point where we begin to see the life of this community change and have people come and help us understand how we connect with that.”
Elizabeth Baggett has been a member since she was a young mother in her twenties. She’s now in her nineties. She expresses her hope for the coming days at the church, “I hope to see the neighborhood come back to the church. We have a new community now. Most of the people that are here—that live in the immediate area—are move-ins. That’s what I would like to see because there are young families like there were when I first started at Lockeland…I feel like if we could get some more young people in, and I’m certain we’ll be able to do, I’d like to be around when that happens.”
Looking Forward to the Future
Dr. Terry shares his hope for the future:
When I think about the future and the people who will be here and make this church the vibrant fellowship that it longs to be now, I want them to know that these people didn’t give up. I know they really wanted the church to stay “just like it is” until they die, and then it can be whatever it wants to be. But I told them, “What you really, really want is to have this place full of kids. A baby crying in the service and kids running up and down the halls and learning about Jesus.” And they want that more than they want it to stay just like it is. I’d like people in the future to know they reached that point where they said, “We’re not giving up. We’re going to do it even if we don’t really like everything that’s going to happen and everything that’s going to change. We’re going to make it happen.”
While the exact strategy for ministry remains to be revealed, Brentwood Baptist believes God is leading the church to have Lockeland Baptist Church merge into it as a part of the Middle Tennessee Initiative.
A Story of Renewal
This potential merger supports Brentwood Baptist’s efforts to reach more people with the gospel though the Middle Tennessee Initiative. Church Multiplication Minister, Jason Dukes, explains, “Brentwood Baptist now has the chance to come alongside Lockeland Baptist Church to engage East Nashville with Christ’s love for the purpose of making disciples in the Lockeland Springs community who discover their identity in Christ then become a part of the renewal story of this historic East Nashville church. Even more, they get to become part of the big story of God and His mission to make all things new. Partnering with Lockeland Baptist is the epitome of all that MTI is about.”
The merger offers the following options:
1. It becomes a campus of Brentwood Baptist Church.
2. We partner with another local East Nashville church with a possible future merger/gifting to them.
3. We find and call a pastor for the congregation and later release them as an autonomous church plant.
4. We sell the property and use the proceeds to start another church in East Nashville. (We only foresee this if the existing circumstances make ministry too costly/unreasonable.)