BSC resources help Ignite Greenville church
    December 15 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    When ministers and brothers Jason and Christopher Lineberger felt God telling them to “start something new,” they waded into a river of resources flowing past their door.

    They contacted Phil Frady, director of missions in South Roanoke Baptist Association, which encompasses Greenville, where they felt led to start a church. Frady directed them to Mark Gray and Frank White at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina who began to encourage the brothers and offer step-by-step advice.

    The Linebergers jumped into the church planter’s boot camp in March 2009, which they found “extremely helpful.”

    Gray and White have been an “invaluable resource in planning, support and providing information” Jason Lineberger said during a telephone interview Dec. 6.

    With no people and no money, Jason, Christopher and Alex and Beth Harding came to Greenville, found part time jobs to support their vision and got to work.

    The Baptist State Convention provided church planting funds, which were “not a whole lot, but when you don’t have any, it makes a difference,” Jason said.

    Contributed photo

    Jason Lineberger

    They used the funds to advertise monthly meetings and after six months, Ignite Church launched, in January 2010.

    Eighty-five people were on board with the vision prior to launch and over 200 showed up at the first service, held in a movie theater that seats 250. Approaching their first anniversary next month, Ignite has seen almost 100 professions of faith and averages 450 attending.

    They’ve moved to Hendricks Theater in the East Carolina University student center. It seats 750 and attendance some Sundays tells Lineberger he needs to consider a second service.

    Worship style is “very contemporary,” he said. Although he calls it  “nothing too radical” the church offers earplugs. The music is “really loud, passionate and upbeat.”

    The words “passion” and “excellence” rain frequently through Lineberger’s speech. He is convinced those qualities resonate to a population saturated with head knowledge about God but turned off to the church.

    Lineberger said many people who are far from God have actually been baptized, but they think of the church today as “boring, critical and out of date.” 

    “These people are real and passionate about what they believe,” Lineberger said. “We are in a savvy time. Whether on TV or at the mall, they have excellence all around them.”

    Consequently, “if sister Sue sings a solo and she can’t hit a note, that sends a message. If God is the God of the universe, we should give our very best.

    “We need to be excellent. We need to be presenting Christ and worshipping and loving and everything we do we need to do it as excellently as we can.”

    Ignite started with four fulltime staff members. Jason Lineberger is teaching pastor and Christopher and the Hardings direct other ministry areas. Ministries to “kids, worship and music were top notch from the getgo,” he said.

    Lineberger is 28 and 60 percent of the church is between 18 and 38.

    He said Ignite “has been very blessed” to strike a positive and rapid chord. “There are a ton of people who don’t know Christ, but who are open to religious things, they are open to things of the church,” he said. Could such dramatic growth be possible in an established church in the same area?

    “It can be done if a church is willing to refocus on its original mission,” said Lineberger, who was on church staff in Everetts, about 30 miles from Greenville. “New churches have no mission in mind other than reaching their community for Christ.

    “What happens to so many is they lose sight of that mission and we begin to major in the minors.”

    He quoted Atlanta area pastor Andy Stanley who said as long as there is money in the bank and members love each other many churches “are not panicked about not winning people for Christ.” 

    Ignite’s next issue might be where to meet. He is committed to remaining inside the city and if the church decides to buy permanent space, he would love to renovate currently vacant retail space. As a young pastor in a church where everything is new, Lineberger appreciates the local and state Baptist resources. “If those connections had never been made, it would have been a lot harder,” he said.

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    12/15/2010 2:26:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

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