By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
BASILE, La. (LBM) – Multiple disasters in the last few years could have caused members of First Baptist Church, Basile, to become disheartened but instead the congregation has remained steadfast, according to pastor.
“It’s been an amazing resilience in this church to come together and be a blessing to the community,” Pastor Mike Fontenot told the Baptist Message. “We have seen others outside our church even join us as we rebuilt each time that we faced a tragedy. It’s been a beautiful thing to see people respond in faithfulness.”
The church’s dedication, he said, has resulted in 12 professions of faith and 10 baptisms in the last six months.
TRIED BY FIRE, PLUS
When Fontenot arrived at FBC Basile in 2017, the congregation averaged 70 for Sunday worship. A year later, the church experienced a parsonage fire, the first of several disasters. The church experienced an electrical fire in the food pantry storage building (June 2020) and a tree that fell on the parsonage (August 2020).
But through each disaster, the church remained faithful and has seen God provide with donations to cover the cost to rebuild.
Fontenot and his wife, Jessica, who also serves as administrative assistant/ human resources specialist with the Louisiana Baptist Convention state missions services staff, revamped the youth group last summer to include a weekly Bible study/time of fellowship. Attendance subsequently grew from five to 18, from May to September. When the group attended the annual Youth Evangelism Celebration in November, five FBC Basile youth accepted Christ, and most of these new believers have since been baptized.
Additionally, giving has remained consistent through COVID-19 and the members have continued to build rapport with their community through the food pantry they operate once a month and a men’s Bible study that encompasses FBC Basile, a black church and a Catholic church.
Fontenot believes God is just getting started with the spiritual renewal that has taken place among his congregation.
On March 6, the church started a 40-day prayer and fasting emphasis which ended the Thursday before Good Friday.
He said the effort reinforces the focus of the church since he became pastor: “believe, belong, become,” based on Acts 2.
“We hope to see people hear the Gospel, believe the Gospel and be discipled,” Fontenot said. “Through this 40 days, we are seeking God and want to give Him more attention in order to hear from him and serve Him more. We are looking forward to seeing what God will put new and fresh on our hearts in this new season.”