Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


This Is My Story

  • Jim Townsley
  • Oct 10, 2016
My parent’s prayers were being answered for me after several years of rebellion. Through a series of unusual circumstances I transferred from a large state university in Indiana to a Bible college in Tennessee. While attending a morning Bible conference on April 27, 1972 I was convicted of my sin and responded to the invitation following the sermon. I was wondrously saved and surrendered to the ministry at the same time. I spent two and a half more years in Bible College and upon graduation I began looking for a church that would call me to be their pastor. I soon began to realize that no one was interested in a twenty-one year old novice. 
My instincts told me that if I was going to become a pastor I would need to start a church. To this day no one has contacted me about becoming their pastor. Perhaps I would still be waiting for that call had I not decided to start a church. Though I didn’t have a strong conviction about the need to start churches in America God was leading me on a journey that would mold my life for the future.
Through the years I have made many mistakes especially in the early years of church planting. There is no perfect plan and there are no perfect pastors. Recently, while teaching on church planting, a student brought to my attention that everything I was teaching them to do I didn’t do myself. After reflecting on their comments I realized many things I did would not pass the protocol of church planting. I find it amazing that God enabled my wife and I to get a church started. Planting Central Baptist Church is a testament to God blessing the simple faith of a new Christian. God will bless every servant that follows His leading. God specializes in using that which is weak to show Himself strong.
Some of the things I did that probably didn’t make sense include: 
1. I moved during the Arab oil embargo and during a time of uncertainty. Gasoline prices doubled to seventy cents per gallon and many service stations had lines of people waiting to get gas.
2. I had very little money. As best I can remember I had saved about $1700.00 with no debt. 
3. I didn’t raise mission support; I didn’t know how to raise it and even if I had few churches during that period of time understood the need for planting churches in America.
4. I was a novice. I was twenty-one years of age and I had only been married for just over one year.
5. I was a new Christian. I had only been saved less than three years.
6. I went to a region of the country that had a very different culture than my upbringing.
7. The area where I started the church was the least evangelical area in the United States.
8. I grew up on a farm and I was going to a suburban/metropolitan area.
9. I had no experience pastoring a church or even assisting a pastor in a church.
10. Basically I didn’t know what I was doing.
Though many of the decisions I made did not make sense humanly speaking, I was certain of the calling of God. My wife and I stepped out in faith by following the leading of God as best we could. Fortunately, God did provide a few men that gave me some counsel and helpful ideas of how to start a church. Stepping out in faith does not always make sense humanly speaking, but living by faith is always the way to please God. I cannot say that what we did is the way to start a church today, but I can say that living by faith is a timeless plan for every church planter.