Dear Church Family:
Debbie and I do not have the words to express our appreciation for the love and support you poured out to us last Sunday [March 27]. It was great to see a nearly full sanctuary for worship service and visit with you that afternoon at the reception. We are simply overwhelmed by your many kindnesses and remembrances. The reception itself was beautiful and beyond words. We have many personal thanks to make but I wanted to tell you how much this meant to us.
I am excited for our church and look forward to the new era under Pastor AJ. We will be praying for him and our you as he begins as pastor this Sunday. Under his leadership, I believe our greatest days lie ahead.
We love you and will see you soon. May God bless you.
Pastor Jim and Debbie
I was thrilled our church voted Sunday to call Pastor A.J. Reynolds as the next pastor, beginning April 1, 2022. The vote was overwhelmingly positive and indicates the strong support that marks the start of his ministry. A.J.’s call marks a new and exciting time for our church. He is multi-talented, smart, loves the Lord, loves you, and is well known by our fellowship from his years of faithful service here. A.J. is also a superb preacher and teacher, with the new vision to move our church forward. I pray you will support him the way you have supported me. The work of the Gospel goes forward, and I am excited for you that A.J. is in position to continue and grow the work here.
David Burroughs completed the work in February at Walnut Ridge Health Care for our church to live stream Wednesday evening Bible Study and Sunday morning worship to the residents there. The work was no small effort and a special thanks to David for getting this done. This ministry was made possible by memorial contributions in memory of Mrs. Lee Anderson, the mother of Patti Dunlap, who passed away in 2015. Patti and her family wanted to remember her mom with something that would benefit Walnut Ridge residents. This addition certainly does that. David reported that since the services began on February 6, between ten and fifteen residents have attended each service with enthusiastic participation. I think this ministry will continue to grow. It connects those of our church who live at Walnut Ridge and also opens a new avenue for ministry. I am so pleased to see this start and know it will bear fruit in the future. If you are interested in being there on a Wednesday evening or Sunday morning to turn the equipment on, just let David or AJ know.
My retirement on March 31, concludes over fourteen years here as pastor (three and a half years bi-vocationally from 2006 to 2009 and full time since April 2011). I have mixed feelings as I leave. First, I have never not “worked” since I became an adult. That is a significant change, though that I have watched many of you navigate it successfully. I look forward to more time with Debbie, our children, and grandchildren. Our five grandchildren have in their own way made it clear (at least that is what I heard!) that there are some important things for “Papa” to do with them and I look forward to committing time for that. Debbie and I would like to travel a little, and I look forward to some backcountry hiking, a hobby I gave up in my 20s because of work. Let me know if you would like to go along with me as Debbie is not crazy about me hiking alone. I do not see her coming along on longer hikes, so give her a call—she may like the company. Also, my Gettysburg guidebook needs completion and Rio, our mini pincher, who is always patiently waiting for me to get home, deserves many long walks. I plan of course to continue ministry in a way that God directs. I look forward to the new chapter God has opened.
On the other hand, I will miss ministry here. I love the work as pastor; preaching, teaching and day-to day-involvement with you in pastoral ministry that has filled my life since 2011. During this time, we have shared many joys and successes, as well as life’s sorrows, and a few setbacks. In all I have tried to be faithful to my calling. You have loved and supported Debbie and I every step of the way. We deeply appreciate the love you have shown us. Our church is filled with strong leaders, faithful disciples, and Spirit-filled workers for the Kingdom. We have generational families that faithfully serve alongside new and gifted servants from many backgrounds. Over the years God faithfully sent the right people at the right time and He continues to do that. Look at our sanctuary on any Sunday morning and you see many new faces, here to worship and serve as God directs. These new people are a great encouragement and validate our church’s strength for the future. Our new member class, which began two weeks ago is nearly filled! We pastors are shepherds called for a season. Our job is to be faithful, love God’s people, work hard, and then pass the ministry on to a new generation. God’s work goes powerfully forward until He returns for His church!
There is much to say, but this is enough. Debbie and I do not plan to be strangers among you, but do not want to interfere in any way with the work of our new pastor. You are our church family, and we love you. In Christ we all have exciting days ahead! God bless you.
Peter addresses the elders of the church in 1 Peter 51b-4. I exhort the elders among you: not overseeing out of compulsion, but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (HCSB)
We are moving through winter, and this marks my next to last newsletter with you as pastor. In September our church voted to begin a six-month transition for me to retire on April 1, 2022, and to consider Pastor A.J. Reynolds as pastor of the church.
On January 19th we had an important church conference in that transition process which accomplished a couple of purposes. First, on that evening we held our first business conference in several months and introduced a new format to focus on upcoming ministry and opportunities rather than just rehash the things that we had done in the last quarter. That certainly brings a more interesting focus to business meetings and makes them more ministry focused. Secondly, we held a “town hall” led by the Personnel Committee to give an update on the pastoral transition progress. The transition resulted in the hiring our office manager, Mrs. Jackie Miller, who brings our church new organization and day to day attention. If you have not met Jackie, get by to see her during office hours (Tuesday through Thursday 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM) and say hello.
The transition has also allowed us to field a new church software program that makes all manner of communications within the church, easier. For each member it will allow you to easily update your contact information and to keep you informed on upcoming events and ministries. Look for future announcements as the Personnel Committee pushes out the capabilities of this great program to the church.
On the topic of pastoral transition, the Personnel Committee gave an update on the search for a part-time worship leader, which is an important step in moving forward. They have seen two applications, which for various reasons did not pan out, but continue seeking a qualified worship leader. They are expanding their efforts to include. a search for a full-time youth and children’s minister, associate pastor who may also have the needed gifts to serve as worship leader. A.J. is himself, an example of this “multiple giftedness” as he has served as Youth Pastor, and currently serves as Associate Pastor and worship leader. I urge you to pray diligently for God to send us the right person for these positions as the Personnel Committee continues their search effort in this season of transition.
The Personnel Committee also presented a way forward for the transition which includes A.J. preaching on February 13, 20, and March 6. A.J. has preached regularly in our church in my absences, but these dates will allow the church to specifically consider him in view of a call to serve as pastor. I urge you to attend or listen on-line to these messages from our current Associate Pastor and pastoral candidate. The Committee stated that Wednesday February 23 the church will have another question-and-answer period with A.J. for you to further examine his potential call to serve as pastor. They also said the church will vote on this recommendation for A.J. to serve as pastor on Sunday, February 27. This vote gives members the opportunity to vote in person or by proxy and a full explanation of how to do this is included in this mailing. Please contact the Personnel Committee if you have any questions on this process.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the January 19th meeting allowed Pastor A.J. Reynolds to discuss his vision for ministry and plans for ministry if the church calls him as pastor. A.J. gave us a good look at what his ministry would look like. While I believe A.J. will make a superb pastor that is a decision that each church member must prayerfully make. I urge you to consider this fine young man, pray about him as it relates to his call to pastor, and then participate in that process on February 27. I am praying as well and am excited for our church as we face the future God has for our church.
Like many of you, I am surprised that we are still talking about COVID as we begin 2022, but indeed, we are. I think our church has returned to its “normal” services with Sunday School, Morning Worship and Wednesday evening Bible study. SONquest is back to normal on Sundays and Wednesdays. Small groups have mostly returned. We are still not holding fellowship meals and will evaluate resuming those monthly. After our deacons meet, I believe they will be in favor of holding a January business conference, but we will let you know about that as it develops. We ask that each person who attends our services, evaluate themselves to make sure they are not sick and dealing with symptoms of COVID infection prior to attending church. We are not currently requiring the use of masks in church, but you are welcomed to wear them if you wish. Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions as we continue to navigate the pandemic.
Like many of you who attended the Christmas candlelight and Treat Night service, I was thrilled not only with the attendance that evening but also with the performance of our children and students. They were great! A special thanks to Missy Moore and Lisa Ore who along with other key volunteers conceived the idea, organized the event, trained the “bell-ringers.” The whole service was a blessing to our church and added much to our Christmas celebration.
Our choir and music over Christmas was splendid and greatly enhanced our worship together. A special thanks to A.J. and all the music team that made that possible.
David Burroughs is in the final stages of getting an internet capable television installed at Walnut Ridge Assisted Living to allow residents there (especially those from our church) to watch and participate in Sunday morning worship services and Wednesday evening Bible studies. I am excited about the prospects of better connecting residents there with our church. We will let you know when this equipment is up and running.
Our worship service was joyfully enhanced on December 19 with the baptism of Lilly and Jack Quesenbury, acknowledging their public profession of Christ as Lord and Savior. Congratulations to their parents Jerry and Tammy, as well as their grandparents (Dwane, Becky, Gerald, and Barbara). It is a blessing to see these young people commit their life to Christ.
We are finishing our “God’s Unlikely Heroes of the Advent” sermon series, which looks at the role of key, but before that first Christmas, unknown people used greatly by God in the birth of Jesus. After this, we will cover the Book of Haggai for 2-3 weeks as we focus on giving in a series called “Whose House Are You Building?” When Haggai is finished, we return to Acts. On Wednesdays, we are finishing Romans and will then begin the Gospel of Matthew. Join us in person or on-line as you are able.
As we begin January, I begin my last quarter as pastor of our church, with my retirement scheduled for March 31, 2022. There is still much to do, and I plan to be fully engaged until the last day. I certainly have mixed feelings as my full-time ministry begins to close. I look forward to more time with Debbie, our children, and grandchildren, but will certainly miss the daily interaction, preaching and teaching with you. I believe our church is positioned well to grow and do well in the upcoming year. My desire is that we continue to develop our ability to minister to and reach our community with the Gospel of Christ. As always please know that Debbie and I love you and love our ministry here.
Hello Church Family:
As we enter the Christmas season, our old and ever-changing nemesis, the CORONA virus is still making its presence known in our community and church. Our best efforts against this virus still appear to be vigilance, social distancing, face masks, and vaccination. We are monitoring the situation and will let you know if changes in our schedules are required.
Here is a run-down of our Christmas schedule:
Wed, Dec. 1, 9:00-11:00 AM. Toy Store distribution
Wed, Dec. 1, 7:00-9:00 PM. normal Wednesday evening activities
Thu, Dec. 2, 5:00-7:00 PM. Toy Store distribution
Sat, Dec. 3, 9:00-11:00 AM. Toy Store distribution
Mon, Dec. 6, 7:00 PM. annual Fireman’s Supper
Tue, Dec. 7, 7:00-8:00 PM. Life Brite town hall
Wed, Dec. 8, 7:00-9:00 PM. normal Wednesday evening activities
Wed, Dec. 15, 6:30-8:00 PM. Christmas caroling in community
Sun, Dec. 19, 11:00 AM. Treat bag distribution at end of service
Sun, Dec. 19, 6:00 PM. Candlelight service
Wed, Dec. 22. No evening activities
Sat, Dec. 25. NO Hope Kitchen (December meal already distributed)
Sun, Dec. 26, 11:00 AM. Christmas worship service
Wed, Dec. 29. No evening activities
Thanks to so many of you who have contributed, bought toys, and worked in the annual toy store. The toy store is a partnership with our church, the Pilot Mountain Baptist Association, as well as other Southern Baptist churches in our community, namely Willow Oak Baptist, Germanton Baptist, Friendship Baptist, and Red Bank Baptist. We are ready for another successful event. This year we will minister to over seventy families and more than one hundred children. Donna Craig coordinates this event annually and she makes sure every deserving parent who applies receives assistance for their children. Because of your support, we can purchase new coats for over sixty of these children (all the children that the parents requested coats). As the toys are distributed to parents, we get to meet and share the Gospel with each one. This is a great ministry to bring the hope of Christ to many homes. Thanks for all you do to make it happen.
You may have noticed in our December schedule; the Annual Treat night and Candlelight service have been combined to one service. After the morning service, we will distribute treat bags to everyone. That evening at 6:00 PM we will hold our candlelight service which will be more family/kids focused. With many of our families not back at church yet, this service will not have the rehearsal and costuming efforts that characterized past services. Nonetheless, we should have a great time of worship that evening with our church family. Plan to attend as you are able.
I am asking for you to pray that our Hope Kitchen ministry can expand to another weekend per month with the help of another church in Walnut Cove that is considering this ministry. We may support them in some way, but I ask your prayers that they will be able to prepare and distribute meals on a second weekend per month. This church did distribute the second meal in November. A heartfelt thanks to all of you who make this great ministry a reality every month.
Be sure to read Missy Moore’s section in this month’s newsletter about the new church software we are in the process of fielding. This software will make keeping accurate information on church members, guests, perspective members easier. It also streamlines contributions, communications, and a multitude of other services for us all. Perhaps just as importantly it securely protects church information. We can even print an “online” church directory. Stay tuned for upcoming training and orientation to this new program.
This month we will be preaching on “God’s Heroes of the Advent” in Matthew and Luke’s Gospel. The messages are about Joseph, Mary, Zechariah, and the shepherds. I am excited about these messages. Join us in-person or online as we worship this season. I know A.J. and the Choir will provide inspiring music this season.
Debbie and I pray you and your family will have a joyful Christmas season this year. We pray that despite the difficulties of the time, and the difficulties in your own life that you will know the joy of Christ that brings light to all the darkness. Please tell me if we can assist you in any way this season. God bless you. We love you.
First, congratulations to Mr. Andrew Steele who made a first-time profession of faith, and followed this decision with baptism in our worship service on Sunday, October 17. We welcome Andrew and his wife, Haley, who has been worshipping with us for some time. We also welcome their young son, Henson who attends with them. We are blessed to have them with us!
Our church has purchased several tickets to attend the men’s dinner on Monday, November 8, 2021, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the First Baptist Church of Stanleyville. This event is sponsored by the Pilot Mountain Baptist Association and features as guest speaker Lieutenant General (Retired) W. Gerald (Jerry) Boykin who was one of the original members of the Army’s “Delta Force” and who served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. LTG(R) Boykin is also an ordained pastor and will speak to the group after a meal with music provided by “Chosen Road.” We have ten (10) tickets so there is no cost if you would like to attend. See me to reserve your spot.
The Baptist State Convention meets on November 8-9 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. If you are interested in attending as a “messenger” (a voting member to represent our church) see A.J. or me. I call your attention to a special night of preaching on Sunday November 7 at 6:00 PM to attend and participate in great worship and preaching. In addition, on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at 6:00 PM, I urge you to attend and hear more great worship and preaching by H.B. Charles, pastor of the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Rev. Charles is one of the great preachers in our S.B.C. and I urge you to hear this worship and preaching event. Let me know if you can attend.
On Wednesday, November 10 at 7:00 PM in the place of our normal Bible study we will honor the veterans in our church. If you are a veteran, we would like for you to attend and tell the church what you did in service for our nation. Be sure to bring awards, uniforms or other items that may be of interest to everyone. We try to do this annually to honor those who served. It is always good to hear the stories of our church’s veterans.
On Tuesday, November 23, at 7:00 PM, we will have our annual Community Thanksgiving worship service in our sanctuary. We will not observe a fellowship time afterward due to the on-going pandemic concerns about fellowship meals. We look forward to seeing you at this service, but will live stream the event if you are not ready to attend in person.
Keep an eye open for an announcement to start a new member class for any prospective new members of our church. This class will be held on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM for eight consecutive Sundays. We will provide you a newly revised notebook and some great instruction to start our new members on the “right foot.” Our church requires completion of this course prior to joining the church. Let Pastor A.J. or me know if you are interested in attending.
Finally, in the last few weeks someone asked me, “Preacher what do you think about the requirements of businesses or organizations to mandatorily vaccinate employees for the COVID-19 vaccine, or the ongoing requirements to wear a mask?” Here are some of my thoughts on this frequently discussed topic. First, like many of you, I am deeply saddened by the grief and sorrow caused, even within our church family, from those that have been lost to this pandemic. I am also moved greatly by those health care providers, several also in our congregation, who have relayed the pain, sorrow, and stress caused by taking care of these very sick patients in our hospitals. We must not even underestimate the damage the pandemic has done to the economic health of many people by preventing them from working or by the closure of their employers because of business shutdowns. This pandemic has caused much sorrow, loss, and disruption in the normal course of our lives. Our church, like other churches, has experienced significant disruptions in services and ministries that we have not to date, fully restored. Indeed, the pandemic has affected our church in unprecedented ways.
This, and many more issues, generate much discussion about the COVID vaccine and whether it should be mandated for people who work in our society. Just for information, most of our church staff is fully vaccinated. Personally, I think it is prudent to do that. I also wear a mask in businesses that request it. I believe that is the respectful and Christ-like way to approach this matter. As you decide about vaccination for you and your family, I ask you to consider Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, written to advise the Corinthians about harming younger believers by the exercise of their freedom in 1 Corinthians 10:23 (and a similar passage in 1 Corinthians 6:12), “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible but not everything builds up.’ No one is to seek his own good, but the good of the other person” (CSB). In this, Paul is telling the church that although they may have the freedom to do something, is exercising that freedom in the best interest of building up the church? In other words, if we express our freedom (to wear or not wear a mask, or to get or not get vaccinated) does that decision harm or potentially harm other believers, especially new believers? I do not think this passage directly answers our question, but it does give us perspective. Our goal is not just to decide these matters, but to represent Christ in all that we do.
I ask you to pray about the vaccine and proceed in the way you believe the Spirit of God leads you. Keep in mind that your, and my, responsibility is to “build up the body of Christ.” Regardless of how you choose, in all your dealings with others do so in a Christ-like manner. This includes interpersonal contact and social media. Some of the nastiest social media posts are made by those who claim to believe in Jesus. Make sure your communication builds up fellow believers and shows non-believers the difference Christ makes in your life. Have compassion for those affected by this illness and the ensuing tragedies created by it. Exercise your freedom (to take the vaccine or not take it, or wear or not wear your mask) in a Christ-like manner. In other words, in this and in all areas of your life let the light of Christ shine through in all that you do. Use your freedom in Christ to show others how much Christ loves them.
God bless you and take a special time to give thanks during our Thanksgiving season.
Hello Church Family:
By now, it probably is not news to you that on Sunday, September 12, 2021, I informed the church after worship service that I will retire as pastor on March 31, 2021. As I said then, I am not leaving because of any known health issue, church problem, or conflict, but simply feel strongly that God is leading me to this decision. To this end, I have been meeting with the Personnel Committee and Deacons since June and support them in recommending we begin a transition to consider Pastor A.J. Reynolds as the next pastor. The transition means that the church will begin to make several staff adjustments to prepare for a new pastor. These adjustments include hiring a secretary (office manager), a part-time music minister, and a youth/children pastor. In accordance with our church constitution, our church voted to start this process on September 22. We will need to vote again sometime early in 2022 to consider a call to Pastor A.J. The transition is effective October 1, 2021. During this time, I will remain the pastor. A.J. will remain the Associate Pastor. Pastoral ministry will remain the same.
I announced this decision early to allow the church adequate time to make a smooth pastoral transition. Debbie and I love this church dearly and want the best for you in the future. I ask that you prayerfully consider these decisions and take part in the vote to call Pastor A.J. early in 2022. Please do not hesitate to contact Ronald Watts (chairman of deacons), Missy Moore (chairperson of personnel), or me if you have any questions on these important decisions.
Our deacons met Sunday, September 19, and decided to further postpone our homecoming celebration scheduled for October 10. We all felt the risk outweighs the benefit as COVID cases continue to rise in Stokes County. In addition, they decided to postpone restarting monthly fellowship meals and the Heritage Apartment outreach, also scheduled for October. We are continuing in-person Sunday School, Sunday morning worship, Wednesday evening Bible studies, and SONquest activities (with masks). However, we are delaying any additional start-ups until the virus situation stabilizes. I appreciate everyone’s on-going patience as we balance safety with a desire to return to normal activities.
The P.M.B.A. is sponsoring a men’s dinner on Monday, November 8, 2021, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the First Baptist Church of Stanleyville, 851 Ziglar Road, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27105. The speaker for this event is Lieutenant General (Retired) William G. (Jerry) Boykin. The event will involve a meal and worship music by “Chosen Road.” LTG (Ret) Boykin was in the Army for 36 years, was one of the original members of the elite “Delta Force,” and served as the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence in his last four years. He is an ordained minister, and currently serves as the Family Research Council’s Executive Vice President. I am sure men will enjoy this event and strongly encourage your attendance. Tickets for the event are $15, which include the meal and a benefit for “No Greater Love Foundation” which supports “recovery, resiliency, and renewal of Spirit for our nation’s military warriors and families.” Please let Pastor A.J. or me know if you would like to attend this event.
I wanted to let you know that Pastor Jeff Stevens, the pastor of Enon Baptist Church in Yadkinville passed away quite unexpectedly on Sunday September 5, 2021. Many of you may knew Jeff from his pastorate at Germanton Baptist Church. I counted Jeff as a friend and will certainly miss his wise counsel. I ask that you pray for Jeff and his young family as they reel from this loss.
Finally, COVID continues to make its unwelcomed rounds in our church, church family, and through our day care. I ask that you pray for our folks (and others as well) to recover quickly and return to normal activities. We look forward to an end to this situation!
As I write, school is returning, and fall is around the corner. Summer vacations are winding down and it is time to think about a new church year. Our church year begins on October 1, so the business committees of the church (personnel, finance, and nominating) are winding up their summer work of getting the budget and people needed for a new church year. Last year, in the middle of COVID we did not produce a new budget, but we are getting back to normal this year. On Wednesday evening, September 15, we will present our budget and nominating reports for the upcoming year. Plan to attend this important discussion evening. It is a good chance to see the budget, how it works, and to discuss the changes for the new year. The following week on Wednesday, September 22, we will vote on the new budget. Our budget is in line with your consistent giving over the last year, and continues our commitments to missions and outreach, while maintaining our facility and providing the staff a good raise the upcoming year. If approved it then goes into effect on October 1, 2021. I look forward to seeing you on September 15 and 22.
Sunday, August 29, you will find a deacon nomination form for you to consider and nominate deacons for the upcoming year. According to our church by-laws, deacons are nominated by the church membership and then selected by the deacons. As you know, our deacons serve three-year terms and then rotate off for at least one year. Prayerfully consider nominating up to four deacons over the next couple of weeks so our deacons can fill the upcoming vacancies in their September meeting.
Speaking of deacons, in their last meeting they approved resuming our monthly fellowship meal on Wednesday October 6. Plan to join us for a great meal followed by adult and children’s Wednesday activities.
That following Sunday, on October 10, we will celebrate homecoming. Our goal this year is to continue getting our folks back to church after COVID. Invite someone for a great day of worship and fellowship.
We will start back on our preaching series on Acts on September 12. I look forward to continuing to preach through this great Book.
As we get ready to finish up summer, it is great to see our Choir back in person during worship. I know some are still waiting for more improvement in the virus to return, but it finally seems like church is getting back to normal.
I sense the short series in Revelation is resonating with some of you based on your comments to me. It is certainly resonating with me. As we have looked at the first three chapters, and find the Risen Christ circulating among the churches, I am reminded that we must be aware that church is not merely for our enjoyment, or preference, but we are the hands of Christ in our community. Specifically, we are here to reach lost people with the Gospel. I am increasingly burdened with this responsibility, and I pray that as we grow together, you will be burdened as well. That being said, I encourage you:
-to invite someone you know that is not in church to attend church with you, or even better, bring them to church with you.
-to intentionally meet someone that does not know Christ, get to know them, and begin a Gospel conversation with them. This may take some time, but there is no better time to begin this relationship than now.
I believe (in the words of our text from Revelation 3:7-13) that God has placed an “open door” for this church to reach our community for Christ. We seem to be poised in so many ways to reach those that do not know Christ personally. I urge each of us to seriously commit yourself to prayer and find ways to reach lost people. You know them. You may live with them, may live beside them, or may work with them. As we will see in the message this coming Sunday, God opens and closes these doors for our church. Let’s work while we have the opportunity!
To this end, our Deacons met last week and decided on Homecoming for Sunday October 10, 2021. We will worship with great music and preaching, and share a wonderful fellowship meal afterward. We want to reach out to our church members and encourage them to attend. Especially reach out to those who have not yet returned to church. Let’s have a great day together!
I appreciate those who are working so hard getting us ready for a new year [starting October 1] and to make our Sunday services work each week. This includes our committees, the Choir, our teachers, and those who work our technology. It takes a lot of gifted people, and we are fortunate to have these people. Also, know that the Deacons and Personnel Committee are actively meeting to discuss the youth and children pastor’s vacancy. If you have recommendations, get in touch with that committee or one of our current deacons.
God bless you all,
We spent Wednesday and Sunday of last week honoring Pastor Luke Long for his excellent ministry to our children and youth over the past two years. We are sad to see Luke leave our church for another ministry but share his excitement as God continues to use and develop this highly capable young Gospel minister. I am glad our church had a role in his pastoral growth by ordaining him to the Gospel ministry, mentoring him with so many seasoned believers in this church, and loving him and Ashley during their tenure with us. We were certainly blessed by his energy, ability, and leadership. Like many of you, I loved his weekly children’s sermon videos! We wish them God-speed and the best as they enter a new calling in a new church around Richmond, Virginia.
His leaving of course leaves us with a big hole to fill with our youth and children’s ministries. Our children and youth are a top priority for this church, which is why we sought Luke in the first place. Filling such a vacancy is not easy and often takes time. The Personnel Committee and Deacons are now meeting to discuss this position and how our church staff should look as we go forward. We ask for your patience so we can make the right decision at the right time. Most of all, I ask for your diligent prayer as we seek God’s guidance on filling this position.
We are also seeking people within our church to keep the Wednesday evening and Sunday morning children and youth ministries moving during the interim period. We will provide coordination and oversight in the church office but need some assistance, especially in the following areas:
-Adult assistant to assist the youth teacher on Wednesday evenings. This may be a parent, or other adult to be consistently present and assist with games and activities.
-Adult assistant to assist the youth teacher on Sunday mornings during Sunday School.
If you have any suggestions on the long-term staffing of our youth and children ministries, or if you can assist with the above needs, please contact Ronald Watts (chairman of Deacons), Missy Moore (chairperson of the Personnel Committee) or myself. We would love to hear from you!
Just for your planning and information, here is a list of our children and youth ministries:
-SONquest Wednesday Evening. Bible study, fun activity, and fellowship. Leader: Lisa Ore.
Meets in the SONquest Room downstairs from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
-Youth Wednesday Evening. Bible study and fellowship. Leader: David Burroughs. Meets in third floor youth room from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.
-Children’s Sunday School: school aged children’s Sunday School lesson and activities. Leader: Mark & Missy Moore. Meets in SONquest room from 10:00 AM to 10:45 AM.
-Youth Sunday School. Youth aged Sunday School. Leader: Colby Mabe. Meets in third floor youth room from 10:00 AM to 10:45 AM.
-Youth and Children parents. A new Sunday School class for the parents of youth and children. Teaches similar lessons to what the children and youth are learning to assist parents in discipling their children and youth at home. Leader: Ronald & Ann Watts. Meets in conference room beside SONquest from 10:00 AM to 10:45 AM.
-SONquest Children’s Church worship and fellowship. Leader: teams rotate every 3 weeks. Meets in the SONquest Room downstairs from 10:45 AM to 12:00 PM on Sundays.
-Nursery care for toddlers and below. Leader: teams rotate every 3 weeks. Meets in the nursery.
As you can see, our church offers a robust set of activities and opportunities for children and youth. Except for the two teachers to assist as listed above, all we need now is for the parents and grandparents to bring their children and youth to be a part of these events. I urge you all to make an extra effort to get children or youth here and to invite someone (or bring them) to be a part of these vital ministries.
On other matters, in July we will begin a short preaching series from Revelation “From Now to Eternity: The Church in the Last Days,” looking at the present day and future church as seen from the Apostle John’s vision. This fits nicely with our study in Acts. Acts shows us how the church age began, this series looks at how it ends. We will return to Acts in late August.
On July 11, we will observe the Lord’s Supper as part of our morning worship service. Also, I look forward to seeing our Choir back in July.
July begins, of course, with our national 4th of July celebration. As Americans, take time to be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy and for our nation, which makes these freedoms possible. We have heard much this year about our faults as a nation, but I want to emphasize the great privilege and freedom we enjoy from living in America. Celebrate that this year in some way. Make time this month to pray for our nation, its leaders, and for God to bring about revival to our land. If God does send revival, are we at FBC Walnut Cove willing to be a part of taking the Gospel to our community? I sure pray that we are! God bless you and your families. Please stay safe this summer.
Rev. James A. Cohn