New Baptist church launches in LL
8/29/2014 10:50:30 AM
By Mary Kate Koch
The path to planting a church in Liberty Lake has not been particularly straight or well demarcated for Pastor Greg Wilt, but on Sept. 14, Liberty Lake Baptist Church will open its doors for Wilt's first sermon in the city.
Originally from Grand Rapids, Mich., Wilt spent time in college and served for six years in the Navy before answering the call to become a pastor. After earning his degree from a Bible college in 1993, Wilt began filling a wide variety of roles in the ministry.
Wilt has served as a youth pastor, assistant pastor and head pastor. He has worked in both the steamy plains of South Carolina and in the high deserts of Bend, Ore., where he helped plant a church. But it was not until Wilt and his family took a vacation to Spokane in 2013 that he felt the call to plant a church of his own.
"It surprised me how big Spokane was, and I got excited," Wilt said. "There's a friend of mine who pastors a church in Spokane whom we met for lunch, and I was excited for him and the opportunity he had in the area. That day I told him that he'd never run out of people to minister to."
Wilt said he gave serious thought and prayer to moving from Bend to pursue a new church plant in the Spokane area. Although Wilt had consulted Spokane-based pastor Greg Boyle about the need for churches in the area, Wilt still did not have a specific location in mind for the plant when he bought a home in Spokane Valley.
"When we got here, I didn't know that Liberty Lake was going to be the place that we started the church," Wilt said. "I just knew that [Boyle] had been wanting to start another work in the area and we would plant it somewhere in the Spokane metro area. So I picked a place in the Valley because I figured that it was a central location no matter where the church ended up."
It was not until January that Wilt said he felt God drawing him toward Liberty Lake for the plant. Wilt rented office space in the Liberty Lake Portal and began to build relationships with locals, preparing for an opening service in the fall.
"After I knew Liberty Lake was the place, right away I decided to get to know the place," Wilt said. "If I have to buy gasoline, I'll buy it in Liberty Lake. I want to get to know the people and the culture."
Currently, Wilt is the only pastor attached to Liberty Lake Baptist Church, and the Mica Peak conference room is not terribly large. Wilt plans on expanding his staff and meeting space as the congregation grows, but for now he is happy to be in the Portal.
"One thing I noticed about the Portal was that it is a landmark for the people in Liberty Lake," Wilt said. "So I realized when I got here that this would probably be a good place to start."
If you go
First service for Liberty Lake Baptist Church
11 a.m. Sept. 14
Mica Peak room, Liberty Lake Portal