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  • Baptist Beacon

A comeback story

SWARTZ CREEK, MI – “It was sad. One day you go from pulling into a parking lot where nobody knows where to go, to “Oh, you can sit anywhere you want.” When Jimmie Nelson first visited First Baptist Church of Swartz Creek in the late 70’s, there were hundreds showing up on Sunday. But several years later, the church was barely keeping the doors open. It’s the story of many Southern Baptist churches, plateaued or in decline. Scores of churches across North America close for good every week.

The low point at First Baptist was when God began to call Jimmie Nelson to pastor the church. It was the high point in Nelson’s personal life. Larry Gatlin wanted him to move to Nashville and write songs for him. To hear more about the Comeback Story of First Baptist Swartz Creek, click here for a podcast about their journey.

Swartz Creek is one of three stories of churches that came back from a low point. It’s part of the emphasis of the Frances Brown State Mission Offering. This year’s goal is $100,000, and a portion of the offering will go to strengthening churches like First Baptist. The week of prayer for the offering is September 8th-15th. For more information and resources, go to



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