leadership

At Wilkesboro Baptist, we’ve identified our mission as leading our neighbors and the nations to follow Jesus. We do this by worshiping, learning, serving, and replicating.

Worship, learn, and serve are pretty obvious, right?

  • To worship is to give God the appropriate attention, glory, and praise due his name. With regard to our church’s mission, to worship means that we commit to worshiping together in our regular worship services.
  • To learn is to recognize that in our role as disciples, we are learners. We learn from God’s Word, prayer, and especially as we gather in groups (Sunday School and Discipleship Groups), to study and apply God’s Word.
  • To serve is to give our time, energy, and resources for the benefit of others and the accomplishment of God’s mission. When we meet a need, visit someone who is hurting, lead a class, or join with a mission partner, we are fulfilling our obligation to serve.

But what does it mean to replicate? In short, to replicate means to reproduce a replica or likeness in someone or something else. Ultimately, this is the goal of our biblical mission. Making disciples is replicating the life of Jesus in someone else. When I teach someone how to follow Jesus by worshiping, learning, and serving, then I’m replicating the life of Jesus in them. When I share ministry responsibilities with others, and we work together to fulfill God’s mission in our church, then I’m replicating the life of Jesus in them.

In the coming couple of weeks, we’re going to model our mission to you as a congregation. I’m going to replicate in my preaching ministry.

God has blessed Wilkesboro Baptist Church with some fine staff members and excellent communicators. Our Associate Pastor, Tad Craig and Minister of Communications, Gary Buffaloe are gifted preachers. But God has also sent some younger ministers to us. Over the summer our pastoral staff have gathered with some young men God has called to ministry to help them grow in their calling and service to the Lord. And in the next two weeks, depending on the service you attend for worship, you will get a chance to hear them preach.

Here’s the preaching schedule for the next couple of weeks: 

  • Tad Craig will preach on Wednesday, July 21 at our 6:00 PM worship service and also preach the 8:00 AM and 9:30 AM services on Sunday July 25.
  • Josh Pinkerton will preach the 11:00 AM service on Sunday July 25. 
  • Gary Buffaloe will preach on Wednesday, July 28 at our 6:00 PM worship service and will also preach the 9:30 am service on Sunday August 1.
  • Shawn Dubose will preach the 8:00 AM service on August 1.
  • Hudson Myers will preach the 11:00 AM service on August 1.

Josh Pinkerton is the son of Dr. Joe and Doreen Pinkerton. He grew up at Wilkesboro Baptist and is currently earning a Masters degree toward Christian Counseling.

Hudson Myers is the son of Madeline Myers. He also grew up at Wilkesboro Baptist and is currently at Gardner Webb University earning a Bachelor’s degree in Christian ministry. Hudson is serving a pastoral internship at our church this summer.

Shawn Dubose is a recent church member. He was one of my students at Fruitland Baptist Bible College. He will finish Fruitland in September and is planning to attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in the new year.

Over these two weeks Josh, Hudson, and Shawn, as well as Tad and Gary will get the opportunity to preach at what I think is one of the finest churches in America. Our pastoral staff will be listening to their sermons and critiquing them after they preach with the goal of helping them learn. (Incidentally, Josh, Hudson, and Shawn have been critiquing my sermons recently to my great benefit).

This schedule takes the pressure off Josh, Hudson, and Shawn to preach for recording (our Wednesday services) as well as having to preach multiple times. When I return to preach in August, I will continue our Walk Wisely series in the book of Proverbs for another number of weeks.

  • Would you pray for Tad, Gary, Josh, Hudson, and Shawn as they preach in the coming weeks?
  • Would you pray for rest and renewed energy for myself as I take a week away with my family?
  • Would you pray for our congregation to respond to what I believe will be Spirit-filled preaching over the next weeks?
  • Would you pray that we will embrace this picture of replication in living out our mission?

Photo by Alexander Michl on Unsplash

It’s kind of hard for me to believe, but my Fruitland experience goes back 22 years. It was the summer of 1999, and I was 19. Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute (has since been renamed Fruitland Baptist Bible College) was an excellent beginning choice for my higher education. My connection with Fruitland began even before my birth. My uncle James Hefner, also a Southern Baptist pastor, went to Fruitland in the 1960s. When my brother Robert and I, announced our call to vocational ministry, we chose to attend Fruitland because of our family connections, appreciation for faculty such as Dr. Kenneth Ridings and Randy Kilby, and because of its tuition affordability. That decision turned out to be life changing. 

One of greatest benefits of FBBC is the practical theology of its educational curriculum. Most of the faculty are part-time and most were or have been in full-time Christian ministry. Professors who are also pastors help the courses to be both academically sound and ministerially applicable. Students learn first-hand about pastoral ministry. 

My two years at Fruitland introduced me to mentors and professors whose influence continues in my life. As a student, the camaraderie and theological development alongside other students shaped my perspectives and practices. As for academics, the lessons of studying, reading, researching, and writing I learned at Fruitland formed the foundation for my academic endeavors all the way to my Ph.D. studies. 

Fruitland became life changing for me in more ways than academics. Fruitland is nestled in Hendersonville, NC, and while a student, I began an internship at Mud Creek Baptist Church where several members of the pastoral staff taught at Fruitland. The opportunity to learn academically while serving ministerially in part-time and then full-time ministry formed my ministry philosophy. Because of my connection to Fruitland as a student and through fellow pastors, I had the opportunity to substitute in a variety of classes and grew to love Fruitland not just for the education it provided, but for the opportunity to share what I had learned with others. 

Currently, I serve as a professor at Fruitland (Western Civilization, online and Theology, on campus). Having also taught Apologetics, I’ve grown to deeply appreciate the impact Fruitland has on students and NC Baptists. It is an honor to look aspiring minsters in the eye and participate in shaping their academic development and ministerial philosophy. 

As a student I didn’t fully appreciated the connection between Fruitland and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, but now I do. Because Fruitland is an entity of the BSCNC, tuition costs have remained affordable. This was one of the primary reasons I attended Fruitland and is a factor for many current students. As an NC Baptist, I want to take this opportunity to thank my fellow NC Baptists and convention leadership for their continued investment in FBBC. I don’t know where I would be without the academic foundation it provided and the opportunities it offered.

NC Baptists, when you give, you support a school that trains ministers to have a high view of biblical authority.  When you give, you provide for the education and development of pastors who will do kingdom work for decades to come.  When you give, students learn how to communicate the unchanging gospel to an ever-changing culture. When you give, you help students develop their ministry philosophy that will impact eternity. 

For me, Fruitland is more than an entity of NC Baptists. Fruitland Baptist Bible College is the ministry lifeblood for Baptists across North and South Carolina. 

To the faculty at Fruitland, thank you for investing in the lives of students who will go on to be pastors, missionaries, and denominational leaders. 

To the leadership at the BSCNC, thank you for your continued support for FBBC to remain an academic and ministerial foundation for NC Baptists. 

To NC Baptists, thank you for giving. Your giving influences kingdom work right here in our state and throughout the world. 

This article was originally posted here for the Biblical Recorder, the Baptist paper for North Carolina. Find more information here about how to subscribe to the Biblical Recorder and get more stories like this one each month.

Photo by Trey Musk on Unsplash