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Just outside the Bailey town limits sits a small church that’s filled to capacity and ready to expand.
“We teach our people about the potential that’s inside of them. Everybody’s life has potential,” said the Rev. Ervin Powell, pastor of New Vision Community Missionary Baptist Church. “I see God’s people going to a new level of understanding.”
The service is full of energy. The congregation of about 50 people sings and claps along with the praise team, and hands raise freely in worship. Powell gets up and reminds parishioners of the individual blessings that have taken place within the church — a man who no longer has to be on dialysis, financial breakthroughs, college graduations and myriad life-changing events that he says God has provided within the church’s almost two-decade existence.
“If you build up the people in the church, it’s like a race. If I build up one person, and they take what I taught them and share it with somebody else, it continues on and continues on,” Powell said. “That way, everybody’s walking in victory instead of a life of defeat.”
Every fifth Sunday, Powell has a member of the congregation speak to the church in place of his sermon in an effort to “stir up the gifts” of church members. Powell said he chose his wife, Necola, to speak March 31 because he knew she had a message that needed to be heard.
“We sit, and we wait. For what? The right time? For someone else to make the first move?” Necola Powell said. “Thinking about it is always one of the biggest excuses. Let’s go to the other side.”
Pastor Powell said that building his congregation up through Sunday church service prepares members to go out into the community and make a difference.
“There’s a difference between religion and kingdom. That’s what Jesus preached. He preached the kingdom of God. It’s just how God rules and how God does things,” Powell said.
“If you see a lot of young boys and they’re affiliated with gangs, standing on the street selling drugs, how many people took the time to tell that young man standing in the street how God sees him versus how people see him? When I see a young man on the street, I try to see him as God sees him. He’s a prince. He’s not a thug. People think that what the church does stays in here, but that’s not ministry. Ministry is what you do outside the church, because that’s where the need is at, outside the church.”
Powell himself is living proof of that. In addition to his duties with the church, he also has just been appointed as a town commissioner in Bailey. He will be sworn in during the April 15 town board meeting.
“You have to live by example. As a commissioner, your job is to be a voice for the people. I think a lot of times people, because they don’t have an opportunity to share their concerns, they’re overlooked. So, I just want to be a voice for the people.”
While the church is small, there are plans in the works to expand the church within the next few years and provide several additional services for the community.
“Once we relocate, we want to have an after-school care,” Powell said.
“We want to have elderly care. We want to have teen awareness and gang prevention. We want to have a food bank. We really want to be able to minister to the community. I just want to do God’s will. I just want to be a blessing to God’s people.”