First Baptist Decatur and Scott Boulevard Pursues Merger

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First Baptist Church and Scott Boulevard Baptist Church have begun the process of merging our two congregations. This process will take a few months and will be decided by a vote of affirmation of both congregations to be held when all the details have been finalized. The Joint Merger Committee is working on answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which will be made available soon.

From David Jordan:

I have been honored to be a colleague of Rev. Dr. Greg Smith and Rev. Sara Robb Scott. Greg is the Senior Pastor and Sara is the Associate Pastor of Scott Boulevard Baptist Church. For the last five years, we have had the good fortune of sharing space with them here at First Baptist. In recent months, that relationship has deepened and broadened. We have been increasingly blessed with them as neighbors committed to the community, fellow CBFers committed to missions, and Christian brothers and sisters trying to follow Jesus. Further, over the last seven months, Greg and Sara and I have had increasingly serious and highly positive conversations about the future of our deepening partnership. Those valuable, honest conversations have now led to what Greg will share…

From Greg Smith:

The congregation of Scott Boulevard Baptist Church has been blessed by the hospitality and partnership of First Baptist Church since we moved here in 2014. You have welcomed and supported our ministry in many ways. Now we believe God is leading us to serve in ministry together.

Earlier this year our two churches began collaboration in Senior Adult Ministry. In May, June, and July I personally met or phoned every active participant in SBBC, listening to each person’s sorrows, fears, hopes, and dreams for our church. David Jordan joined in several small group meetings with about half of our active members.

Believing that discernment is a process of listening to our hearts as well as to the Spirit of God, we have listened to one another and to God’s Spirit guiding our congregations to a new future together.

In our July Church Conference, the SBBC congregation invited FBCD to form a Joint Merger Committee to begin the task of combining our churches. Each church provided four laypersons to the committee, with the two pastors acting as Co-Chairs. The SBBC committee members are: Crawford Jenkins, Bob Peterman, Norma Rushing, and Angie Stuckey. The FBCD members are: Gwen Cottrell, Ronnie Jowers, Jim Manley, and Jenny McCurdy.

Our first meeting was about getting to know one another. We heard both grief and anticipation from Scott Boulevard committee members, and openness, welcome, and anticipation from First Baptist committee members. We committed to listen to God’s Spirit as we continue this critical work together.

As God continues to lead us forward we will have a number of issues to deal with, including legal and financial concerns, membership and ministry integration, and SBBC ministry legacy. God is leading us to dream of what our ministry together can become. I believe we have a great opportunity for creating ministry with and for older adults that can make a difference in the Decatur community and even in other churches.

Just as God worked through SBBC to “do a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19) when we moved to First Baptist, God is now calling us to grow our ministries through combining our congregations. We will continue to seek discernment of God’s Spirit to guide us as we move toward merging Scott Boulevard Baptist Church with First Baptist Church of Decatur.

This article originally appeared in the October 2019 Outlook. Please check back to fbcdecatur.com/news for more updates.