In The Spotlight

Published on June 4th, 2017 | by Bridget Lipin

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Transformation Story: Blackfoot Christian Fellowship – Blackfoot, ID

In Spring 2017, we invited American Baptists from across the country to share their Transformation Stories – this is a part of the Transformed by the Spirit initiative. Videos and written stories are included as provided by local churches and American Baptists. Want to share your story? Submit written and video submissions to: americanbaptist@gmail.com. View the full list of Transformation Stories here.

Transformation Story: Blackfoot Christian Fellowship – Blackfoot, ID

Church Transformation story of Blackfoot Christian Fellowship in Blackfoot, ID, a church that was very close to death when the Region stepped in to help about five years ago. In just a few years it has grown from 10 in attendance to over 100 on many Sundays. It has transitioned from a dying church to a healthy, growing and dynamic church that loves its rural town of 15,000 people. The Region staff of ABC Northwest challenged the church to go for broke. They agreed. A Transitional Pastor, Rev. Dick Sipe, was assigned to the congregation to get them back on their feet. Dick has extensive experience in turning around churches. He grew the church to a core of 35, started outreach to children and young families and lifted the spirits of the small congregation. With Region direction the church signed a covenant to agree to call a “Church Planting Style Pastor” who would have the authority to make radical changes with full support from the congregation. The Region staff gave the search team four names of pastoral candidates who met the criterion of turnaround leader. Dick Sipe guided the selection process with coaching from the Region staff. Rev. Kevin Olivarez accepted the call, taking a leap of faith to lead this struggling congregation. Kevin immediately started leading change and growth, starting with a name change for the congregation after being on the field just 2 weeks. Kevin consistently looked to Region Staff and his former pastor for coaching along the way as the growing congregation navigated the changes. Sister church FBC Pocatello, thirty miles to the south, pitched in with resources. They led the congregation in a reconciliation exercise to heal feelings from previous conflict. They also sent up a worship team to assist with music for an entire year. With renewed vitality the church is reaching out into the Blackfoot community. Many lives have been touched through the church’s renewed vitality.

The video was shot and edited by Kenny Barrett of FBC Boise. Kenny is on staff at FBC as the creative arts pastor.


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