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Milton Baptist launches ‘Connect’ service

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By Dave Taylor

Milton Baptist Church, 10076 U.S. Hwy. 421 N, is hosting a new ministry on the first and third Saturdays of each month. Called the “Connect service,” the new worship experience is an attempt by church members “to meet what we thought was a need in the community,” according to Pastor Ton Starks.

Starks and others in his congregation had reviewed some statistics regarding church attendance in both Trimble County and the local association of Baptist congregations and discovered that attendance was down in all of the churches.

“We looked at what churches were offering in the area and we wanted to find some kind of happy medium of a service where people could just get back to being able to worship,” Starks said.

The goal of the Connect service is no different than any other service at Milton Baptist, according to Connect committee member Loretta Massie, “and that is to share the truth of Jesus Christ, however, this is where the similarity ends.”

Through the use of contemporary praise music led by Chad Sebree and multimedia presentations the congregants are led through a musical worship experience and “we worship until it’s time to preach,” Starks said. “We want to draw from all denominations because we’re preaching Christ and we’re worshipping Jesus Christ. We don’t stray from our doctrine but it’s a place where people can get back to that personal, intimate relationship with Christ.”

Sometimes the music is accompanied by a full band, while other worship songs may call for the simplicity of an acoustic guitar, Starks said. “Chad has a passion. You can see people sing and you can feel people sing. Chad brings that feel to the podium and he has extensive experience in that kind of service.”

“We acknowledge and adhere to our responsibility that scripture is timeless,” Massie said. “The methods change but the message must stay the same. We desire to emphasize the truth that God is available to everyone, regardless of anything else. We are doing our best to limit distractions within the service to focus on worship, praise and God’s Word.”

Starks acknowledged that some of his regulars who attend the traditional worship services on Sunday attended the Connect service and found “that it didn’t fit them. It’s great that they came and tried it. Word of mouth is going to make this or break this. In a community like Trimble if the people aren’t talking about it and saying good things about it it’s not going to go. Our youth have been very good at attending so far. I think a lot of our (baby) boomers have really enjoyed it as well.”

The next Connect worship experience will be held this Saturday, April 16, at 7 p.m.

“We’re trying to get back to that personal relationship,” Starks said. “It’s more than denomination and doctrine but it’s getting back to that fresh relationship with Christ. Sometimes the world can beat that out of you. Christ is waiting for us to engage in that relationship. That’s our whole goal. If other churches benefit from this, then fantastic!”