LYNCHBURG, Va. (BP)--Thomas Road Baptist Church is booming. In the last 17 months, hundreds have become Christians and hundreds more have joined the church through a variety of ministries that bring non-members into the church, and send members out into their communities.
If you ask the church's pastor, Jonathan Falwell -- successor to and son of the late Jerry Falwell, founder of Thomas Road -- he'll tell you that what's happening has been in the works since his father first started the church more than 50 years ago.
Church membership has surged since a 2006 relocation to a former electronics factory of almost a million square feet. But since May 2006, when Jerry Falwell died and Jonathan became pastor, church ministries yielded nearly 1,200 baptisms and 2,700 new members. In September and October, the church baptized 200 people. Every week more than 18,000 people attend Thomas Road ministries, equal to about a third of those living within the city limits of Lynchburg, Va. -- population 62,000.
The growth spurt began two years ago when Rod Dempsey, Thomas Road's pastor of discipleship, presented a ministry called "Community Interest Groups" to then-pastor Jerry Falwell and Jonathan, then the church's executive pastor. Read More