It’s hard to believe, but today I will celebrate the third anniversary of being called as pastor of First Bethany Baptist Church. Three years since I stood before the congregation and rejoiced as we started our journey together. It’s been a privilege and and honor… each and every day since.
I am still the guy who pinches himself from time to time to make sure that it is real.
I remember thinking, back when my home church asked me to teach Sunday school, how much of an honor it was. And also how that I would love to do that for a very long time. Never would I have believed that the Lord would lead me from there to where we are today. God is good!
To my wonderful family. Thank you so much for your love and support. I couldn’t ask for better “partners” in the ministry. This journey would not be possible without each of you. I am excited to see how the Lord is not only working in you, but working through you today… from singing specials during the worship time, to helping with children’s church, to leading and preaching about missions, to helping me lead the youth group on Wednesday nights… it is a blessing for any pastor to not only have the love and support of his family, but to and see them serving the Lord actively around him. For that, and many other reasons, I love and appreciate you very much! I am especially thankful to my lovely bride, without her support, none of this would be remotely possible.
I love you guys very much
To my First Bethany church family, you have been a tremendous blessing to me and my family. Neither of us are perfect, but I appreciate your love and care for me and my family more than you will ever know. I appreciate the heart that you have to reach the lost in this world for Jesus even more.
You are truly a blessing to me.
In January, we will take some time on a Sunday morning to recap the last 3 years and cast some vision for 2018. But I wanted to take a moment to briefly speak about it here. I can’t wait to see what the Lord will do in 2018.
In all honesty, that first Sunday that I stood behind the pulpit as your pastor, I had no idea what to do and how to lead you. I was still getting my feet under me and learning how to be a senior pastor (something that I am still trying to learn to do). But the Lord was gracious and led us to (and through) the book of Acts.
The idea was that if we could just capture a bit of the passion and knowledge that this first church had, if we could just know what they knew and do what they did, then we would change this world for Christ! From that, a ministry model was born:
Scholarship – Worship – Fellowship – Outreach…. A simple idea taken from a passage of Scripture in the book of Acts:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.
We have worked hard ever since to make sure that every ministry and every event in the life of our church falls into one of these 4 categories. I feel that we have been successful in this. And we have recently augmented this idea by asking the deacons to each pray for and serve one of these ministry areas in our church.
That was year one.
In year two, we undertook the the task of examining the doctrine of Southern Baptists, the denomination of which we belong. It was a great journey of which I am still thankful for. I think we need to keep this doctrine in front of us as the world continually tries to convince us to forget it.
Our doctrine of derived directly from the Word of God, may we never waiver in our adherence to the Word, even under the tremendous pressure of this world!
If you are still unfamiliar with, or need to be reminded of what (and why) we believe. Use this link below:
That was year two.
Now that we had a ministry model, and we had a greater understanding of what we believe; it was time to take action. Year three took us to the book of Romans and to the following Mission Statement:
Know God – have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, give your life to Him as Lord.
Grow – grow in your walk with the Lord; deepen your relationship with him through worship, Bible study, and prayer.
Go – based on the Great Commission; go into all the world and tell them the Good News that Jesus saves!
Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Even though year three has just come to a close, I feel that we have taken the teachings of Romans to heart; we have continued to embrace the Mission. First Bethany has always been great at missions, but this year the Lord has led us to continue to push forward with emphasis on things like:
- Our continued service to Forest View Manor every month
- Our increased attention to the area of Disaster Relief
- Our strong missions giving, both regularly and to special offerings
- Our regular fundraising for missions projects and sending at least one summer missionary out each of the last three summers
- Our current project to reach the community around us through replacing smoke detectors
- Our prayer partnership with a #SendBoston church plant in Dartmouth, Mass.
- The upcoming mission trip to New England, on which we have placed 5 team members (see picture below)
These will be the legacy of year three.
Looking forward into year 4, it’s going to be all about leadership. I have prayed and the Lord is leading me to preach through the books of 1 and 2 Samuel….
I can’t wait to see what the Lord will do!
Finally, on a personal note, thank you again for your love and support of my and my family. It means the world to me. We are very blessed to have each and every one of you. From us to you, we love you!
(Sorry Wesley, I guess we need to get a new picture in front of the church with you in it)
“May the Lord bless you and protect you; may the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace.” ’