March Is For Missions

I love the month of March. There is a little more sunshine and fewer cold days. There seems to be a spring in everyone’s step as they anticipate the dawning of a new spring. We begin to prepare for Easter and to focus on one of the things that flow out of our deep appreciation for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross: Missions

This time last year, we introduced our “Missions Mantra” for 2017: #KnowGrowGo.

Yes, there is a double meaning to #KnowGrowGo graphic:  We do want to know Jesus and God’s Word, we do want to grow in our faith and in our walk with Jesus, and we must go and make disciples, baptize, and teach….  yet, if you look closely at the graphic, the globe is focused on Northern Africa; where our 2017 summer missionary spent his summer ! 

This mantra has served us well over the last year and we will continue to refer to it often. But today, I would like to introduce to you a new “mantra”, if you will, for 2018:


Last week, I was able to spend a say at a conference in Columbia, SC with hundreds of other pastors. I was a great day. I enjoyed the fellowship and encouragement greatly. I also loved being challenged by what was preached.

One of the main speakers, J.D. Greear, told a story that really challenged me (I will place a link to the video below). In this story, he tells of a time where he did not understand why he was invited to speak at a certain event……. (please click the link below).

JD Greear Video from Impact (start watching at 26:30 for this story)

What struck me about this story was the following quote:

Everywhere in the city… where there is something broken, there is somebody there from your church who is trying to fix it.

I have asked many times since I have been at First Bethany, “What is the biggest problem in McCormick and how do we impact it for Jesus?“. Maybe what I should have been asking is, “Where are the broken things in this city and how can we help love on those in need?“.

You see, if we limit our focus to one or two issues, we miss out on amazing opportunities to serve. Yet, if we will simply lay ourselves out before the Lord and say “use me”, I believe that He will show us numerous opportunities to serve Him by serving those in need in His name. Oh, what a blessing!

34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. 35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: 36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:34-39

Thus #ServeMcCormick was born….

It seems simple, maybe even too simple, yet I believe that the Lord will not bless us with greater opportunities until we improve in this area. How are we going to do this?:

  • We have to keep inviting the community to attend events that will contain a Gospel message; like the upcoming Easter Egg Hunt and Easter services.
  • We have to keep preparing for times where the community might need us; by taking advantage of opportunities like the Disaster Relief Training happening throughout the year.
  • We must continue to perform acts of radical service to the community, like the annual Back-To-School-Bash; while looking for ways to #ServeMcCormick every day.
  • Most importantly, we must PRAY for those who know Him not, to be drawn to Him and to respond accordingly.

How will you #ServeMcCormick?

It is not a one-time event… it doesn’t happen just in one place… It is a lifestyle of service born out of a deep appreciation for what Christ has done on the cross.


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First Bethany Baptist Church is currently raising money for two missions efforts: A local mission trip to Edgefield, SC called C.C.C.  &  a return trip to Dartmouth, Mass. to work with church planting partners. If you would like to order a t-shirt, we are selling them throughout the month of March at the following link:

T-shirt order form

Let’s go out there and be the church… let’s be about our Father’s business… let’s #ServeMcCormick !

I love you all, Pastor John

988 Miles

A few days ago, I had the privilege of leading a twelve-person mission team from the Edgefield Baptist Association to assist South Coast Church in Dartmouth, Massachusetts on an extended weekend mission trip. Five of the twelve team members were from our church. There are 988 miles between First Bethany and South Coast; it would take over 15 hours to drive that distance, thankfully we did not.


But travel we did. And a great time was had by all. The mission was a success, and ministry opportunities were presented at every turn… even some unexpectedly. This article is not meant to be a full report (that will come at a later time), yet it is meant to give you a glimpse of what we experienced. I hope that you will find the following encouraging, exciting, and challenging:

Friday – 12 missionaries from 6 different churches departed from Edgefield at 4am to travel to Atlanta. From Atlanta, we flew to Providence, Rhode Island. Once there we picked up two rental vans (Red & Grey… you had to be there) and proceeded toward Dartmouth, Mass. Once on location, we met with Chad and Jodi (church planters) to get an overview of the weekend before going out to pass out invitations for the next night’s event.


By the docks, we met a man named Yusef who needs much prayer. Please lift him up in your prayers as you read this.

Saturday – We started off the first full day by serving alongside South Coast at a ministry called Anchor Ministries ( that serves the local homeless population. They have a really effective mobile ministry


“site” that is a school bus. Imagine your standard yellow school bus with the rear portion of the seats removed. People in need can come in, sit down and warm up, move to the rear to receive coffee doughnuts, and encouragement consisting of smiles and hugs. It was awesome and humbling to serve alongside South Coast and Anchor Ministries in this endeavor. I will never forget that morning. Please pray for Anchor Ministries.

We finished up this day by assisting South Coast with a free family fun night at their ministry location. We were able to help by serving hot chocolate and popcorn, as well as setting up and tearing down all the tables and props. It was a great night as many families and children came out to this event. Seeds of the Gospel were planted in many hearts; please pray for these families and for the ministry of South Coast.


Sunday – South Coast is currently (but not for much longer) leasing space from an existing church; so their worship services are later in the day. After a morning of free time, we made our way to South Coast to help set up for the worship service. We all really enjoyed worshipping with South Coast and Pastor Chad did an awesome job delivering a great sermon. Afterwards, we had some time to spend with Chad and his family …. As well as some of their church members. Please pray for South Coast as they transition to their new facility and have their first service there on Christmas Eve!


After dinner, we headed to the hotel where we had yet another unexpected opportunity to minister to a family in need. Let’s just say that few of us returned home with fewer warm clothes than we packed for the trip… and some new clothes were purchased. Please pray for this family… we don’t even know their names, but the Lord does.

Monday – The last day was a little bit of a whirlwind. After an extended breakfast time with the church planting family (and some tearful goodbyes), we headed for a brief tour of Boston, a little over an hour to the north. With the return flight time looming over us, we did not have much time to spend there. However, we were able to see a small portion of the city and take many pictures. We left the city and returned home via a very smooth flight to Atlanta. Please pray for New England and Dartmouth, Mass in particular, there is much darkness there even though the area is very beautiful.

Last Things

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved – Romans 10:13

How, then, can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are there feet of those who bring good news – Romans 10:14-15

I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth – Acts 13:47b

It’s hard for me to explain the depth of my gratitude to the Lord for sending me on this trip. The amount of space above is completely inadequate for that task. To Him, I am thankful for:

  • His Word – it sustained us leading up to as well as all throughout this trip
  • His presence – wouldn’t want to get away from it if we could, He is always there. I am grateful
  • Traveling mercies– both by ground and by air
  • The Mission Team– 12 people, from 6 churches, many who did not know each other well (and some not at all) came together and acted as one. It was amazing to see how the Lord worked in and through this mission team. The cooperation and concern shown by each of them was truly remarkable. I will never forget these guys… And I would be more than happy to gather them up again and storm whatever gates the Lord places in front of us. I am blessed.
  • The Church Planters – as much as I was affected by the ministry that we did, I was even more deeply touched by the depth of the commitment of the church planters that we were working with. South Coast and the entire Dartmouth community is blessed to have a couple like Chad and Jodi leading them, fighting for them, and sacrificing their lives so that those who know Him not may be saved. I am forever grateful for their love for the Kingdom. I could say much more, yet I will leave it at the following: I am inspired and challenged by this amazing family…. All my love to them.
  • Our leadership – to our DOM, our Missions Development Team, our Convention, and to NAMB – thank you for making trips like this a reality. I can’t be more thankful to you all.

There is too much more to say, and not enough room or time to say it…. Praise God for His mighty works.

To our churches and our pastors, please know that we (the mission team) are forever grateful for your prayers and support for this trip… there are just not enough words to adequately relay how appreciative that I am for your participation in this trip. This will not be the last time we travel to Dartmouth as a church. Please begin to pray now to see if the Lord might lead you to join us next time.


I love you all,

Pastor John

P.s. if you were on this mission team and would like to add to the above , please feel free to leave your comments on this blog. I love you guys and look forward to serving with you again. Go Grey Van 😉