This week marks six years that we have been together! I’m talking about me and you, as church and pastor. I began my pastorate at West Canton the first week of August in 2013. It was such an incredibly busy week. We unloaded a moving truck on Monday and then I spent all day Wednesday with one of my deacons as he stepped into Heaven. My first sermon in my new pulpit as pastor was actually his funeral sermon. I hit the ground running, and it doesn’t feel like we’ve ever slowed down. In fact, I officiated twelve funerals that first year, and attended nineteen other funerals.
Some of the Highlights:
I am the twenty-sixth pastor of WCBC, and I am now tied for being the fourth longest tenured pastor in our church history! Wallace Britt served twelve years as pastor (1979-1991), C.H. Greene served eight years (1941-1949), Gene Akins served eight years (1970-1978), and Otto Parham served six years (1949-1955). Healthy churches do not turn over pastors every two to three years. Longevity in pastoral ministry is crucial. We are just now really getting to know each other!
The Lord has shown favor to our congregation over the last six years, and I am so very grateful! I remember that first Sunday in August, some of the ladies not being sure who was going to work in the nursery to keep my girls. It had been quite sometime since a nursery was needed. It had been quite sometime since children were a regular part of the congregation. Two weeks ago there were thirty children at WCBC!!
Yesterday, we had our regular finance committee meeting, and we gave praise over the fact that this committee has just completed it’s fourth year as a committee. That’s right, until 2015, it’s ninety-ninth year of existence, WCBC did not have an actual finance committee. The Lord graciously led us to the adoption of this committee though, and it has operated wonderfully in the life of our church. Be sure to thank our finance committee for their excellence service!
One of the biggest highlights happened this year; we entered an agreement with AYSO to use our property as soccer fields! It is such a glorious thought to know that we are stewarding our resources well. I am very thankful to AYSO, to our Mayor, and to the men of West Canton that led in the endeavor, but I am most thankful to the Lord for arranging this partnership. From the very beginning, God has clearly been the mastermind behind this.
So what’s in store for us?
I am very hopeful for the future of West Canton Baptist Church. Here’s the basic plan:
We keep Loving God. We keep worshipping Jesus every Lord’s Day. We keep expository preaching central to our worship services. We keep worshipping God privately in our homes. We keep emphasizing healthy church membership.
We keep Equipping Families. We keep a healthy emphasis on the young families in our congregation. We keep encouraging children in the worship services, and encouraging parents that are teaching their children to worship. We keep doing events like our upcoming Family Retreat, in which we are hands-on teaching families how to do family worship.
We keep Serving Community. We keep reaching out those in our immediate community that need help, building ramps, moving appliances, or knocking down bees nest (some of the things that have happened just this week!). We keep serving our town employees, and we keep serving the teachers at North Canton Elementary. We keep serving Haywood County by providing soccer fields. We keep serving paper town! #Servingpapertown
We keep Going Worldwide. We keep going to New York and partnering with local churches in Bay Ridge and Crown Heights. We keep supporting missionaries that go to various countries in Southeast Asia. My children now have clothes from three different Southeast Asian nations, all from missionaries that our congregation is personally connected with, and have personally supported. We get our feet on the ground, overseas, soon! Yes, that is coming in our very near future!
God sovereignly holds our future. God knows when the next funeral will be. God knows the next life that he will redeem. God knows the next family that will join our ranks, and that we will be equipping. He knows the next family in our community that we will serve. He knows that next people group that we will engage with the gospel. He knows what country we will set foot in, and when. He knows the next sermon series that I will preach. He knows our future! We will continue to trust him and follow his leadership!