News Articles

Southeastern Seminary’s church planting efforts gaining momentum

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–This summer, about 50 mission groups are scheduled to visit southern New Hampshire to help lay the groundwork for church plants in Exeter, Salem, Durham, Hudson, and Goffstown.
Two Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary teams will also partner with the New Hampshire Baptist Association this summer furthering the Wake Forest, N.C., school’s mission of starting 50 Southern Baptist churches in the northeastern state over the next decade.
Mission teams will be going door-to-door conducting surveys aimed at opening the door to share the Gospel.
John Kuespert, director of the New Hampshire Baptist Association, said mission teams are working to establish new churches with fellowships including at least 50 people.
New church starts already born since Southeastern’s partnership with the New Hampshire Baptist Association was established in 1997 are seeing healthy growth according to Rick Pressley, church planting strategy coordinator and pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Raymond.
Connecticut River Baptist Church in the Sullivan County town of Claremont has recently moved into a larger building. The church, where 1997 Southeastern alumnus Bill Hedgpeth serves as pastor, has outgrown the Christian school building where it met for almost two years with a seating capacity of 110 chairs.
Pressley, a 1995 alumnus and a pastor in the Rockingham County town of Raymond, said his church, as well as churches in Londonderry and Conway, where Southeastern alumni Mark Ballard and Brian Hart serve as pastors respectively, are seeing the fruits of discipleship.
“The people have been discipled to the point that they’re starting outreach,” Pressley said.
“The people that we have had the privilege of leading to the Lord are now leading other people to the Lord. That’s the most exciting thing that I see right now.”
Providence Baptist in Raymond and Christian Fellowship Baptist in the Rockingham County town of Londonderry are both currently averaging about 30 in weekly attendance. The Valley Christian Church in the Carrol County town of Conway is averaging about 75 each week.
Lee Cordell, a 1997 alumnus, serves as pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in the Hillsborough County town of Bedford. Pressley said the work at this church restart is slow where about a dozen people worship regularly. “(Lee’s) praying for some type of spiritual awakening to come into the congregation,” Pressley said.
Buck Booker, a 1994 alumnus, serves as pastor of North Country Baptist Church in the Coos County town of Berlin. Booker has expanded his church staff by adding a part-time worship leader and youth director to minister better to the community’s needs. Attendance is continuing to grow, having exceeded more than 40 people on a regular basis.
Three more Southeastern ambassadors are headed this summer to New Hampshire as church planters. Joey Bailey, a 1999 master of arts graduate, and wife, Tammy, are going to Exeter in southern New Hampshire.
Greg Nix, a bachelor of arts student in biblical studies, will help coordinate student ministries as an intern this summer in the Durham region.
With a busy summer planned, Pressley said they are already looking ahead to future starts.
“(Plans for) next year’s starts are still tentative,” he said. “We would like to do 10 in Plaistow, Hampton, Keene, Lebanon, Colebrook, Petersburg, Hillsborough, Portsmouth, Hanover, and Twin Mountain.”

    About the Author

  • Greg Carpenter