Fairfield Baptist Church celebrates charter service, accepting new members

“A charter service happens when a church that is newly formed begins to accept believers into membership,” said Pastor John Lafreniere, who leads Fairfield Baptist Church’s two services on Sunday and its weekly Bible study class Thursday evening, all at McKinley School, 60 Thompson Street. “You have a group of people signing their names to a statement that they believe in the mission and operation of the church.”

While about a dozen people signed on as charter members of Fairfield Baptist Church on Sunday, March 29, Lafreniere said he will leave charter membership open through the rest of 2015. “We will keep it open for close to a year so everyone who joins in that time period will have the opportunity to sign the charter if they want to. People from Fairfield County will have their names on this; that’s the significance,” he said.

Lafreniere, 36, said Fairfield Baptist Church doesn’t have a numerical goal for charter members. “Being a new church, we’re just excited by every person that comes in the door and gives us a chance to minister to them,” he said. “The numbers aren’t as important as the reaching is. We want to reach as many people as possible, and we also want to make a lasting effect in our community, and that takes time.”

Fairfield Baptist Church held its “soft opening” service on Sept. 21 and its grand opening service on Sept. 28. The church offers two services on Sunday, at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., in McKinley School’s cafeteria, and Bible study at 7 p.m. Thursday in a music room at McKinley.

Fairfield Baptist Church came into existence after its “sending church,” Lighthouse Baptist Church in Waterbury, felt the need to establish another church in southern Fairfield County. Lafreniere, who was an assistant pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church at the time, said he believed the right place was in Fairfield. “We have a lot of steeples in Fairfield, and I don’t know what all the other churches in Fairfield believe, but I do know we need another church in Fairfield preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. He said the gospel of Jesus Christ was “faith based; not works based.”

“Fairfield Baptist Church is here to help the people of Fairfield and surrounding communities to be able to realize there is hope through the Word of God; that they can believe on Jesus Christ and have a home in heaven,” Lafreniere said. “We’re here to be a help in many different areas to Fairfield and the surrounding communities as we share the love of Christ with those we interact with and pray for our town officials and those making decisions that affect our region.”

The two Sunday services feature traditional hymns before Lafreniere delivers a Biblically-based sermon. The morning service is about 90 minutes, while the evening service is about an hour. After the morning service, Lafreniere asks for anyone in the audience who is not sure he or she is going to heaven to see him after the service so he can show them from the Holy Bible how to be sure.

“A typical service is filled with worship that is based on lifting God up and not needing to feel like I am the center of attention. Our church wants our services to reflect that we are a Savior-sensitive church as opposed to a seeker-sensitive church,” Lafreniere said. “We don’t need to take a poll to realize how our church is to operate. We have the final authority of the Word of God, or the Holy Bible, to tell us how the church is supposed to operate.”

“We’re going to do what we have to to please Jesus, and we hope you’re interested in joining us to do that,” he added.

Lafreniere, who lived in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport as a teenager, has returned to Black Rock with his wife, Abby, and their 2-year-old son, Elijah. He received his undergraduate degree from Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, Fl, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in pastoral theology. He was an assistant pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Waterbury for six years.

Lafreniere, born on Christmas Day 1978, said he didn’t choose to become a pastor as much as he was called to the profession. “Many people think of pastor as a vocation, but it’s not something you choose to do as much as something you’re called by God to do. I became a pastor by just obeying God,” he said.

Fairfield Baptist Church holds services at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sundays in the cafeteria at McKinley School, 60 Thompson Street. Bible study classes are held at 7 p.m. Thursdays in Room 174 at McKinley.

For information, contact Lafreniere at 203-592-4889 or [email protected] The church’s website is ffldbaptist.com.

FairfieldBaptistMembers

Senior pastor John Lafreniere and his wife Abby.

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