Transforming Lives in Peekskill, N.Y.

Corby Angle succeeded in business, helping international financial institutions line their coffers. But his spiritual life was empty. He wanted to get his children connected with “good friends” and heard that First Baptist Church of Peekskill, N.Y. had a good youth group, so he gave the church a try.

“I was married in a church but didn’t really believe in it,” Angle says. “The pastors at First Baptist were instrumental in changing that. They discipled me while I studied, and I finally responded to a call at the end of a service in November 2003.”

Angle’s story isn’t unique at First Baptist. The multiethnic congregation of about 230 attendees is full of new Christians and measures everything by the goal of seeking and saving the lost.

“I still close nearly every service with an invitation to come to Christ,” Senior Pastor Denny Burns explains. “We follow up in person with everyone who has visited and tell them the Gospel message.”

Located in famed Westchester County, one of the wealthiest areas in the nation, Peekskill combines urban and suburban life and provides ample opportunity to reach out to a thriving immigrant population. First Baptist holds Sunday school in Spanish, hosts English-as-a-second-language classes with nearly 50 students each week, and has nearly 15 Spanish-speaking families.

The church also hosts neighborhood clubs that bring in kids who don’t know Christ, and youth hear the Gospel at weekly open-gym nights and at a three-on-three basketball tournament the church holds once a year.

Evangelism becomes a daily pursuit for the people of First Baptist as well, with mission activities ranging from street evangelism in Brooklyn, N.Y., to church planting in Africa. For Angle, who participates in men’s ministries and disciples new believers, evangelism has become a calling. He is transitioning out of his job in corporate America and into a position as First Baptist’s pastor of evangelism.

“My real amazement is that the God who breathed the universe into existence would choose to use me,” he says.


FROM THE BEST OF OUTREACH: A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2009 issue of Outreach magazine.


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