RICHLAND — High Attendance Sunday here at Berean Baptist Church wound up being a huge success July 29 when 189 people showed up.
“We called it a one-day revival,” said Mike Hawkins, interim pastor and Richland resident who also serves as registrar at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The rural church in Pulaski County is accessible by dirt roads. It is located midway between Highways 133 and 7 along Interstate 44, in between Richland and Waynesville and close to Laquay. You can see the building from the interstate but people generally have a hard time getting to it. Typically Berean runs 70-80 in Sunday worship.
The goal for the big day was 150. With a lot of hard work and equal amounts of prayer, that number was surpassed. Hawkins said he liked it when one church member said, “Now we know we can do it.” That will serve the church well as members oversee the building of a new facility on 10 acres near an I-44 exit.
The basic method that the church used to reach its goal on High Attendance Sunday was to network through the Sunday School.
“We started with the children, and they just started naming all kinds of people, and then we went to the adults,” Hawkins said. “I don’t think our list got to 150, so I didn’t think we were going to make it. I was really surprised.”
With church members inviting friends, an emphasis on baptism, a guest preacher who may be coming on staff, and a meal on the grounds that day, the environment proved to be pleasant. Eventually a big portion of the crowd made its way down to the Gasconade River to watch six baptisms.
“We had over 100 come to the baptisms,” Hawkins said. “We think it’s a great testimony for people who are lost.”
The joy of the big day has left Berean Baptist eager to celebrate its future.
“This is really a dynamic church—very lively, real flexible,” Hawkins said. “They’re easy to pastor, just great people. They want to grow and they’ll do anything it takes to grow.”