Citing a desire to better communicate the mission of their congregation, leaders at Maranatha Baptist Church officially announce that the church is changing its name to LifeSpring Baptist Church, effective Oct. 27. The change comes during a period of growth, unity, and expansion following the church's recent partnership with Iglesia Bautista de Chattanooga.
Jeremy Wallace, lead pastor of LifeSpring Baptist Church, says several factors contributed to the decision to change the church's name.
"Most people do not know what the word 'Maranatha' means or how to pronounce it, nor does the name effectively communicate our purpose as a church," he says. "We believe the new name remedies those concerns."
Mr. Wallace says the congregation is passionate about introducing people to Jesus Christ and helping them live and grow in their Christian life. He says that, while church members are dedicated to doing their part to impact the community for Christ through living an authentic faith and meeting relevant needs, they don't want to stop there. They are also committed to helping believers grow in their faith through discipleship, and they believe the name LifeSpring communicates the life, health, and vibrancy that they want to help people achieve in their Christian lives.
The church is hosting a free fall festival—its first community event under its new name—on Wednesday, Oct. 30, from 6:30-8 p.m. The festival is free to the community, and will feature games, inflatables, hot dogs, and hayrides. LIfeSpring Baptist Church is at 1701 Hickory Valley Road, and more information can be found at LifeSpringBaptist.org.
Joining members of LifeSpring at the fall festival will be members of Iglesia Bautista de Chattanooga, a Hispanic ministry formerly known as Iglesia Bautista Hispana de Highland Park.
"About two years ago I met with Darwin Blandon, the pastor of IBC, about our desire to begin a Hispanic ministry," says Mr. Wallace. "He offered help and guidance, but we were not ready to begin such a ministry at that time. Shortly thereafter, we had a combined worship service for the purpose of introducing our church to the concept of a Hispanic ministry."
IBC met on the campus of the former Highland Park Baptist Church, and when that land was sold, the congregation looked for a new home. Maranatha's desire to begin a Hispanic ministry, IBC's need for a place to meet, and the friendship that Pastors Blandon and Wallace had developed made this a perfect partnership, said officials. The congregation began sharing space with Maranatha in July, and the two congregations are now partnering together in an increasing number of programs and activities.
LifeSpring holds its worship service each Sunday at 10:30 a.m., while IBC holds their Spanish worship service at 2 p.m. each Sunday. The two congregations combine their children's AWANA and teen programs on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m., and also participate in other combined activities, such as outreach events and fellowships.
"Things are going very well," says Mr. Blandon. "Even though there is a language barrier, many at LifeSpring are working to learn Spanish and many in IBC are working to learn English. The effort that is being made to communicate with each other has gone a long way to build unity. Both churches look forward to being together, work effectively together, and are genuinely excited about what God is doing."