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Twenty-Five Years of Making Memories

Next weekend, my wife and I celebrate our 25th anniversary at Faith Independent Baptist Church. It would take several books to write all the stories of Souls saved, lives changed and friendships made that have endured the test of time. As every Pastor will have to admit, there are those things, that we like Paul the Apostle must leave behind. The success stories give us cause to rejoice and help to motivate us to be “Steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” as stated in 1 Cor. 15:58

In these twenty-five years, we have made friends and had fellowship with some of the sweetest people this side of Heaven. And being a “military Church” allows us to not only send people all over the world, but to receive people from all over the world. We thank God for those Men of God and Churches all over the world that have been our co-labourers throughout these years. We have not stood alone in the work of the ministry, but rejoice in the network of like-minded, Bible-believing Churches we have been associated with in the Gospel of Christ. For those who may be reading this from the far reaches of the globe, “Thank you for your part in this ministry and though we may have never met, you are a part of our success here. Keep up the good work.”
 
1 Cor. 12 describes the function of the Body of Christ and indicates that the body is a unity, working together for the common cause, the glory of God. A heartfelt thank you to those present and past for your work in this ministry. Regardless of whether you taught a class, worked in junior Church, mowed the grass, drove the bus, sang, visited the sick, went soul-winning, kept the nursery, ushered, cleaned the Church, worked in the sound room, kept up the website, worked in VBS, junior and teen camp, did maintenance on the building and grounds and a dozen other things, you have been a vital part of and share in the “glory that shall be revealed in us.”
 
Let me give a brief history of the 25 years we have spent here.I will not bore you with the intricate details concerning our days leading up to me becoming Pastor. It was an amazing journey and God has surely shown that this was His will for our lives for this time. To God be all the glory.
 
When I became Pastor, the Church immediately got behind us and the Church became excited and busy. We began to have revivals with several Godly men coming in and it was like revival all the time with people getting saved and new people coming into the Church. In fact, next Sunday, Dr. Charles E. Wright will be with us here for the 25th year straight at Faith and for the 29th year in my pastoral ministry. We began to add new missionaries and start new ministries and God continued to bless. It was not long until I began to write the “What Does The Bible Say?” articles. These have proven to be a source of blessing and help to countless hundreds of people over the years. The life changing stories I have been told of make it worth the time and money spent. Years ago we started the holybiblesays.org site and gained readers from all over the world. By the way, when I stopped putting the whole article in the newspaper, it was costing us upward to and sometimes over $1000.00 a month. On a side note, I figured up the approximate amount of money spent at the Daily News and it was staggering. For all that, never one time in 25 years have they called to do an article on our Church ministry. It is amazing that the addition of a deck at the Swamp, a nightclub, can get front page news in our paper, and a Church that has spent more money, built more buildings, and touched more lives has never had a call from the paper.

Not long after coming here the Sunday School rooms were too few and getting tight along with the main building and something had to be done. The little block building auditorium had homemade pews and there was less than two feet between the wall and the pews. First we made a few pews to help with the problem. Then in 1988 we began planning for the Sunday School building addition. This meant gutting the original Church building which at this time consisted of three small classrooms and the original auditorium. We added a 2nd floor with classrooms and restrooms. It was not long before the main auditorium was getting too tight and it was difficult for a family to easily find a pew with enough room for the whole family. Plans were made to more than double the building and the project was finished in 1991 with everything new and updated. With the Church growing and new people coming, a larger fellowship hall was needed. We planned and built a new 60’X100’ building which we dedicated to Dr. Charles E. Wright in 1995. Then in 1998 we remodeled the old fellowship hall building into a new nursery and teen/junior Church area. Next, for the third time, we enlarged the main auditorium adding an additional 10 pews and all new baptistery area with dressing rooms and new self contained HVAC system. Finally, In 2009 We added a beautiful new foyer on the front which we dedicated to Pastor Milton Rawles and his wife in honor of his more than 40 years of ministry in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

All this has been done debt free without fundraisers and we are prepared financially for whatever the Lord has in the future without debt and without pressure on our people to give.
 
While there have been mountains and valleys along the way, looking back, you cannot see the valleys for the mountains. My prayer for Faith Independent Baptist Church is that it will remain “A city that is set on a hill that cannot be hid.” Matthew 5:14

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