CAROL CITY, Fla. (BP)–Bryan Bains had eagerly awaited his 13th birthday, not because he would be a teenager, but because he could preach his first sermon.
Using John 3:16 as his text for a sermon titled, “God’s Love,” Bains preached to the congregation of Bethany Baptist Church in Carol City, Fla., on the evening of Nov. 26.
His pastor, Ralph Rogers, gave the middle school student’s effort a good review: “He made several good points and spoke strongly. Of course, with such a big subject, he had much to include.”
The ABC-TV affiliate in Miami sent a reporter and cameraman to cover the event, and friends and family videotaped the service. More than 130 were present to hear Bains speak. In the congregation were those who remembered Bryan as a 5-year-old and have seen dramatic changes in the youth since he began attending the Bethany Baptist some eight years ago.
Bryan and his younger brother and sister, Antoine and Chelsey, were taken in by Alexander and Lola Bains after the siblings’ birth parents abandoned them eight years ago and were introduced to church members by their new parents.
Pastor Rogers remembers that Bryan’s first experiences at church did not go smoothly: “One of his Sunday school teachers reported that he was ‘cussing out’ another teacher.”
Of the incident, Bryan said, “I can be thankful that God saved me from that [previous life].”
The brothers and sister were legally adopted two years ago into the Bains family, which already had seven siblings, all but one of whom, Dominique, are adults living away from home.
“They are all going to school, married or getting married,” reported Lola Bains, a nursing assistant at Miami Garden Center. She works at night and her husband works during the day in the maintenance operation for Miami Plantation Cold Storage.
The family served as consultants in the preparation of Bryan’s sermon.
“His siblings, his parents — we’ve all worked on it for months,” said his mother. “But Bryan worked on it harder than anyone.”
Rogers has seen the youth take notes on every sermon for months.
“Bryan memorizes Scripture easily and always speaks boldly,” Rogers said. “If there was a program for children, he almost always had the leading part. I was not surprised when he told me earlier this year that he wanted to preach.”
Rogers began the work at Bethany Baptist Church and has served as pastor for all of its eight years as a church. “I tell you the truth, if only for this one child, it would have been worth starting the work here,” Rogers said.
Bryan plans to pursue a career as a pastor and is thankful for the support he has received in his first effort in preaching.
“God gave me a good family and a good church, and he’s called me to preach,” the 13-year-old said. “I thank him for the opportunity.”
Nichols is a correspondent for the Florida Baptist Witness newsjournal. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: FIRST SERMON.