Acts 2:41-47 describes the life of the local church. When you look over that passage you also see a description of First Baptist Church of Decherd. Verse 41 says that they “continued steadfastly…” The ministry of FBC Decherd has continued for over 110 years. Throughout those years there has been many ups and downs. However, in this present time, we are in the midst of one of the best times in our church history when it comes to the progress and potential of the church.
FBC Decherd has continued steadfastly this year in evangelism and in the overall growth of the church. Much progress has been made in 2018 that we need to take a moment and give God the glory for. This year, we have seen many people come to faith in the Lord Jesus. We witnessed 15 individuals follow the Lord in believer’s baptism. We have also seen 20 new members added to our congregation. Most of the new additions are young families with children. It is good to see so much youth in our church. It certainly breathes life into our church. Progress has also been made in the various ministries of the church. There are many ways in which the church has made great strides over the course of this year. We give God all the glory for the unity that has been maintained and enjoyed through the various changes that are being made that will propel FBC Decherd to greater heights. The joyful atmosphere we experience each time we gather for worship is something we should all be very grateful for.
We have been steadfast in reaching the lost and seeing new people come into our church and we have also been steadfast in our discipleship. All of the ministries of FBC Decherd involves some form of discipleship. With the development of the new Decherd Discipleship Institute, we hope to create an environment of such spiritual growth that it would make it hard for anyone to ever leave the church, unless they are being sent out on mission. In such a case, they would not really be leaving, but they would be extending the ministry of FBC.
In 2018 we have also remained steadfast in our support for missions. This year, we gave $7,500 to the cooperative program for Southern Baptist Missions. We also gave $5,000 to our local Baptist Association. In addition to these, we gave to various local mission works: $3,000 to the Campora Family Resource Center, $7,000 to Good Samaritan, $3,000 to the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Child Evangelism Fellowship, and $1,200 to the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Over all, we maintained a missions budget of $36,000. In addition to our regular missions giving, the members and attendees of First Baptist Decherd gave: $3,700 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, $2,020 to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, $1,675 to the Golden Offering for Tennessee State Missions, and $2,296 to other Great Commission efforts. Essentially, over $40,000 was given to missions this year. Along with our missions giving, there were many individuals in our church and in our community that received help during time of need. Just under $4,000 has been used from our Benevolence budget this year to help those in need. This is not counting the many who receive food from our food pantry along with other special gifts given to those in need. Praise God for enabling First Baptist Decherd to be heavily involved in the mission of sharing the love of Jesus in our community and around the world.
2018 also brought its share of burdens and loss. This year alone we have seen the homegoing of 6 of our precious church family. We have also experienced sickness and disease that has hinder some from attending church who were once very active. There are times when I get confused over attendance numbers. As we have seen so many new faces, and numbers have increased gradually; we have not seen a substantial increase in church attendance. However, with the burden of sickness and loss, we see how attendance increase can be slow. This also goes to show that in the midst of joy, progress, and strides being made; there are burdens, heartaches, sadness, and loss. We must never forget those who have left a legacy for us to follow. We must never forget those in our midst that are hurting and struggling. The struggle of life is real. The pain of sickness is real. The pain of loss is real. We must keep each other in our prayers and provide the help and support that each other needs. Such help is on the way with the GriefShare ministry that starts this year. Please pray that this ministry will provide comfort and help for those who have lost loved ones.
2019 has come upon us. It is a new year with new opportunities and possibilities. Our theme for 2019 is: Read the Word. I would like to challenge all of us to read the entire Bible through in 2019. I’d also like to encourage all of us to commit to seeking the will and plan of God for our lives and for our church as we read the Word and spend time in prayer. We should work to change our vocabulary by asking the right questions. Instead of asking: “what do you think?” We should ask: “What is God showing you or how do you feel God is leading us.”
FBC Decherd has tremendous potential. I believe that God has called us to be a leading church in our community. We should lead the way when it comes to reaching the community with Gospel, engaging the community, and helping those in need. We should lead the way when it comes to discipleship and helping people to grow in their walk with God. We should also seek God’s vision and plan as we move forward. Such potential and responsibility requires work. We are to abound in the work of the Lord. Please join your pastor in continuing in the things that God is already leading us in. Please join your pastor in seeking God’s will and plan for our future. Please join your pastor in engaging our community and reaching the lost for Christ. Please join your pastor in reading the Word in its entirety this year. Please join your pastor in the work.
As your pastor, I call upon all members and attendees of First Baptist Decherd to ask themselves: “What can I do?” Maybe God is calling you to more faithful church attendance. Maybe God is calling you to give more. Maybe God is calling you to volunteer and to serve. May we all commit to more this year. May we continue steadfastly in 2019 for the Glory of God!