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Fueling his witness: 20 years in New England without the gospel

MILFORD, N.H. (BP)–Joe Grenier grew up in the New England area and never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ mentioned for almost 20 years of his life. Grenier is now working as a church planter in Milford, N.H., to ensure that others will not have to wait that long to hear the gospel message.

Grenier and his wife, Pat, are church planters serving under the Nehemiah Project in a two-year partnership with Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the North American Mission Board and the New Hampshire Baptist Association.

“My passion for New Hampshire came when I realized I went 20 years in New England without hearing the gospel,” Grenier said in his Milford home.

Grenier’s strategy for reaching Milford is based on making lasting relationships through home Bible studies and daily visitations.

“My strategy is to meet people and help them walk to believing in Christ,” he said.

Grenier said his location in New Hampshire is strategic in reaching the other New England states.

“It is an important state to reach in the North because it is a conservative state amongst liberals,” Grenier said.

“We have a better chance at reaching New Hampshire because of their pre-existing conservative values. Considering that almost one-third of the population works in Massachusetts, if they get saved here, they can take it there, too.”

Grenier knew God was calling him to New England but it was confirmed once he enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. — in a sermon delivered by President Paige Patterson.

“I remember Dr. Patterson’s first sermon about the alliance between Southeastern, North American Mission Board and the New Hampshire Baptist Association and that was my confirmation to come here,” he said.

Grenier worked with several mission teams from Southeastern this summer to help him lay the foundation for his church, New Beginnings Baptist Church.

“Volunteers are the life’s blood of a church start in New England. People up here don’t need religion. They need relationships,” Grenier said.

With volunteers coming to aid Grenier, he is better able to advertise the launch of his new church.

Southeastern students engaged the Milford area in door-to-door ministry and in servant evangelism such as providing the Milford community a free carwash.

“The people in Milford talk about these acts of kindness for a long time. I had a guy come up to me this week to thank me for the free car wash. He remembered when we did the car wash last year,” Grenier said.

Thankful for Southeastern “and their spirit of giving and helping through labor this summer,” Grenier noted, “Every seminarian who comes here leaves with knowing the needs of missions here in America, whether they are called to New Hampshire or not.”

Grenier will continue to seek out a core group of Christians in the Milford area to begin a Bible study that will form New Beginning Baptist Church.

“My goal for the church in Milford is to propagate other churches. I want this church to be a mother church for other congregations that will ultimately ignite a church-planting movement.

“I do believe God is moving here. There seems to be receptiveness to God among the people…. That’s what keeps me here. God’s got me here and I’m happy.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: MINISTRY IN MILFORD and COMMUNITY TIES.

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  • Kelly Davis