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‘Reluctant’ Baptist traded works for grace; now reaches out to others

CLAYTON, Okla. (BP)–Deanna Chancellor and her husband, Jim, knew something was missing from their marriage, and they knew answers to their void could be found at church.

But which church?

Jim had heard good things about a Baptist church in their hometown of Clayton.

Deanna, raised in a nondenominational church that split off from the Church of Christ, was less than enthusiastic about anything “Baptist.”

But, “My husband was real persistent. … We walked through the front door, and it was just like we were home,” she said of their first visit to Clayton’s First Baptist Church. A few months later, in the spring of 1997 and after a barrage of sermons on grace that Deanna said seemed to be scripted just for her, she could resist no longer.

She and her husband made professions of faith in Christ the same evening, accepting the grace that was missing in the church of her raising.

“To overcome that and see what the Bible says about [salvation], I don’t think people reared in the church always stop to realize what an amazing thing that is … to serve Christ not because I have to, but because I have a desire to do that.”

The couple was among the 27 members of the Clayton church who completed the 16-week FAITH evangelism course last winter. Chancellor said she had no formal witness training, and like many others in the group, was apprehensive about presenting the gospel.

The FAITH witnessing model asks prospects the question, “In your opinion, what do you think it takes for a person to go to heaven?”

“That question helps you to get a sense of where they are coming from,” she said.

Deanna’s three-person team led one person to Christ and saw dozens more saved during the crusade that ended the FAITH effort last spring.

“We were so scared. But God gave us the ability to do it. It was really amazing. I think we were all really touched by the training.”

Another blessing, she said, is that her daughter has surrendered to go to the mission field.

When a new FAITH semester starts in the fall, the Chancellors will be FAITH team leaders, helping equip others to share the good news with their southeastern Oklahoma neighbors.

“I didn’t want to be a Baptist. This is just where the Lord put me,” she quipped.

    About the Author

  • Jerry Pierce