Hawesville—Hawesville Baptist Church is taking a big step to connect with Tell City, a town just over the state line in Indiana, and it all started with a Post-It note.
Hawesville Baptist’s pastor, Barry Fields, heard the congregation at Tell Street Baptist Church had dwindled to less than a dozen after a few years of struggling and several pastors. Since his church had a history of lending a hand to Tell Street, he made many calls reaching out to help, but they went unanswered.
So he took the bridge over the Ohio River and stopped by Tell Street in Perry County. When he found the church’s doors locked, he left a note saying that if they needed help, they should call him. Tell Street’s interim pastor, Harold Smith, found the note and was happy to start a conversation about reviving the town’s only Southern Baptist church.
“We got some young people to help with visitation and as Sunday School teachers, and this kind of stuff, which we didn’t have,” Smith said. “There wasn’t anything but older people in the church. I’m 84 myself, and the rest of them are just a few years younger. So there’s a problem: Older people just can’t go out and do things that they (young adults) could.”
Fields said half the people of Perry County have no religious affiliation. On any given Sunday, 94 percent aren’t in church.
Fields had already felt the call to serve not just at Hawesville, but in Indiana, too. His father spent some of his childhood in Indianapolis, so there was a special place in his heart for the state.
“The challenge for us was, do we sit on the side of the river and keep things going where they are, or do we go over to the other side of the river and seek to reach people with the gospel? That was a big push for us,” Fields said.
After a year of work, the two churches agreed to merge, with Tell Street becoming a satellite campus.
Many of Hawesville Baptist’s more than 250 regular attendees already lived in Tell City, but made the short drive across the bridge to attend church. Deacon Tim Gooch says that the communities already have a tie with each other that is fueling some excitement for the grand opening Sept. 13.
“Some of our current members who live there want to have a place where they can invite friends and family and still be right in their community to attend church services,” Gooch said.
“I think that’s an exciting thing for a lot of people,” he added, “and I think also it’s the excitement of being able to reach out and not knowing fully what the Lord has in store for us from a blessing standpoint of being able to reach people.”
After the Sept. 13 opening, around 30 Hawesville Baptist members will begin attending the Indiana campus, which has been renamed Crossroads Tell City. In addition to the grand opening, Crossroads is hosting a family fun day Sept. 12 to reach out to residents of Perry County and introduce them to the revived church family. (WR)