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This profile was last updated on 4/21/05  and contains information from public web pages.
 
Background

Employment History

  • Pastor
    FBC Citronelle
  • Pastor
7 Total References
Web References
The Alabama Baptist - Sparks in the midst of ashes
www.thealabamabaptist.org, 21 April 2005 [cached]
growth - Max Dempsey, pastor of FBC Citronelle, baptizes his son, Britton, in Clayton Park Lake. The church has baptized in lakes and swimming pools since losing its sanctuary.From where he stands near the ashes of his former place of worship, Pastor Max Dempsey can see his church's past, present and future - literally.The sanctuary of his church, First Baptist, Citronelle, burned down in September 2003, making Dempsey's the second of three churches in the Mobile Bay area (Baldwin and Mobile counties) to lose a building to fire in a three-month period that year.It was a tragic loss, Dempsey said.Citronelle members who 60 years ago had laid the sanctuary's brick and crafted its stained glass windows themselves watched as flames reduced their beloved building to charred remains.But despite the fire, Dempsey said his congregation has experienced anything but burnout in the 18 months since."We've been meeting in Citronelle High School, just a few blocks from where our church building was, and we're only growing all the time," he said. Concrete has already been poured for the new sanctuary - just blocks away from the original site and the high school.Builders are shooting for completion at the end of the year.But members aren't too anxious to leave the school. "So much ministry has gone on in that building.It's become a sacred place - hallowed ground because God's done a work there in us," Dempsey said. "And a large number of our congregation's members have joined our church since we lost our building, so the school is the church building they know."He said First, Citronelle, has learned a lot since 2003 about what the church really looks like. "That's the number one thing God has taught us," Dempsey said."The church is the body of believers coming together to worship - not a building and not a facility.We've lived and breathed that idea."What does it look like to be a congregation suddenly lacking a sanctuary?flexibility - Since First Baptist Church, Fairhope, lost its sanctuary to an October 2003 fire, the church has been meeting for worship and Sunday School in alternate locations, such as the local civic center. Dempsey said it's baptisms that happen in lakes and swimming pools, members who become experts at setting up and tearing down chairs, and Sunday School classes that maneuver around desks and physics notes left on dry erase boards.And though it takes a lot of effort to be a "church on wheels," unity has been a product of all the change, he said. "It's an exciting time," Dempsey said.
...
Dempsey joked that search committee members "never mentioned a fire and a hurricane" four years ago when the church called him to pastor."They never taught in seminary what to do when you lose your sanctuary," he said.
The Alabama Baptist - FBC Citronelle reaches community with Church in the Park
www.thealabamabaptist.org, 9 June 2005 [cached]
"It is much easier to get people who wouldn't normally come to a church building to come to the park to eat and meet Christians," Pastor Max Dempsey said."We often have a great number of visitors."Located by a lake at the local golf course, Dempsey said the event's evangelistic purpose has prompted church members to invite nonbelievers and allowed opportunities for them to share their faith.
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Dempsey said Church in the Park serves as a reminder to the congregation that "the church is not the building."As the church looks forward to its new building, which is under construction, Dempsey said Church in the Park and baptisms in the lake will remain important. Even when the new baptistry is available, he said the church will continue to baptize in the lake if there are people who want to become members near the time of Church in the Park.
Fire destroys church's building but not its determination
www.abpnews.com, 7 Oct 2003 [cached]
Pastor Max Dempsey agreed, though he -- in his first pastorate -- has only been at the church 10 months.
At around 2:20 p.m., an explosion caused by a short in the attic startled day-care workers.It gave them time to get all 26 children -- napping on the first floor beneath the burning sanctuary -- to safety at a playground about 100 yard away.
By 2:40, Dempsey watched the steeple plummet through the roof of the large brick building in a ball of fire.
"God has been given so much glory through the hearts of the people here.The children are safe, and the older members who helped build it are handling it with so much grace," the pastor said.
"We didn't lose our church, we simply lost our building.Our church is stronger than it's ever been."That's not just a heroic thought in a difficult time, Dempsey said."It's the truth.Our church is more excited, more open than ever.That excites me as a pastor."
While volunteer firefighters still worked to contain the blaze in the main building at the time the Wednesday evening service normally starts, more than 200 church and community members met in the gym across the parking lot for a worship service, Dempsey said."The people honestly met to say God is good in all things at all times."
Former pastors and other pastors from across the state, as well as the man who led Dempsey to faith in Christ, came to encourage the church."It was an awesome time, and the excitement in the Lord was real and honest," Dempsey said.
Ironically, though the service took place, another meeting scheduled for that night didn't -- the first meeting of the church's vision committee, a group of members who were soon to plan the church's relocation or remodeling.
"We were going to seek the Lord and explore our options," Dempsey said, noting God helped make the decision for them.Insurance coverage on the sanctuary will help pay for a replacement building.
The church, which averages 325 in Sunday services, could accommodate only about 225 people in the sanctuary."We were already outgrowing our facility, and we were fighting a losing battle with the old structure of the church," Dempsey said.
Pastor Max Dempsey agreed, ...
www.thealabamabaptist.org, 2 Oct 2003 [cached]
Pastor Max Dempsey agreed, though he - in his first pastorate - has only been at the church 10 months. Around 2:40 p.m. that day Dempsey watched the steeple plummet through the roof of the large brick building in a ball of fire.That was roughly 20 minutes after an explosion caused by a short in the attic alerted day-care workers to the danger.During that time, all 26 children napping on the first floor beneath the burning sanctuary were taken to safety at a playground about 100 yards away."God has been given so much glory through the hearts of the people here.The children are safe, and the older members who helped build it are handling it with so much grace," Dempsey said."We didn't lose our church, we simply lost our building.Our church is stronger than it's ever been."That's not just a heroic thought in a difficult time, Dempsey said."It's the truth.Our church is more excited, more open than ever.That excites me as a pastor."While volunteer firefighters still worked to contain the blaze in the main building at the time the Wednesday evening service normally starts, more than 200 church and community members met in the gym across the parking lot for a worship service, Dempsey said."The people honestly met to say God is good in all things at all times."Former pastors and other pastors from across the state, as well as the man who led Dempsey to Christ, came to encourage the church."It was an awesome time, and the excitement in the Lord was real and honest," Dempsey said.Ironically, though the service took place, another meeting scheduled for that night didn't - the first meeting of the church's vision committee, a group of members who were soon to plan the church's relocation or remodeling."We were going to seek the Lord and explore our options," Dempsey said, noting God helped make the decision for them. The church, which averaged 325 in Sunday services, only held about 225 people."We were already outgrowing our facility, and we were fighting a losing battle with the old structure of the church," Dempsey said."We're brokenhearted, and everyone's shocked, but no one's really surprised.Sentimentally, [things] are gone, but we're grateful no one's injured."He added that the community had been "absolutely precious," with many businesses and municipalities opening their doors to take in the congregation.
.::WKRG.com :: - Picking up the Pieces ::
www.wkrg.com, 28 Sept 2003 [cached]
Pastor Max Dempsey says plans aren't set for where they'll rebuild, but he says they were already working on the problem before the fire.He tells News 5, "We have a church vision team that was actually already in place.
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