gratitude

This week at Wilkesboro Baptist Church we will celebrate. On Wednesday April 21 and Sunday April 25, we will spend our worship services in a debt retirement celebration.

Just a little more than four years ago, Wilkesboro Baptist officially began a sanctuary renovation campaign. Church staff and leadership had the foresight to see the need for renovating our sanctuary and prepared by having the church select a sanctuary renovation committee prior to my arrival at Wilkesboro Baptist as pastor.

Church Interiors began work on the renovation in late December 2016 and completed their work in April 2017. In November 2016, Wilkesboro Baptist kicked off the fundraising campaign to pay for this sanctuary renovation.

Our campaign was titled Renovate 938 based on the following financial targets:

  • $762,000—Sanctuary Renovation 
  • $90,000—Additional property and house
  • Project Total–$852,000 
  • $85,200—Tithe to missions 
  • Total goal for the Campaign $938,000

As of the final week of March 2021, Wilkesboro Baptist Church is again debt free!

In the early months of 2020 we could see the possibility of retiring this debt near the end of the year. We were in the beginning stages of planning a debt retirement push at the church. Then the Covid-19 pandemic happened, and everything shifted.

Even with the challenges of virtual church and slowly returning to in-person worship that we’ve seen over the past year, the members and attenders at Wilkesboro Baptist Church gave generously. Not only did we meet our 2020 proposed budget, but the church gave in excess of budgeted needs. People continued to give to the sanctuary renovation debt, and we were able to see the possibility of retiring the debt early in 2021.

Not only are we now debt free, but thanks to the generous giving of those at Wilkesboro Baptist we were able to give additional funds to local and global mission partners. Through the Renovate 938 missions giving, we were able to assist mission partners in some of the following ways:

  • Help those facing disasters from hurricanes.
  • Send missionaries to other countries.
  • Feed people who were hungry.
  • Shelter people who were homeless.
  • Care for people who were struggling.
  • Encourage people who were hurting.
  • Spread the good news of Christ to those who were lost.

What is awesome is that this missions giving coincided with paying down and retiring the debt at Wilkesboro Baptist Church.

If you gave to the Renovate 938 Sanctuary Renovation campaign, thank you! Thank you for being generous. Thank you for praying. Thank you for supporting. Thank you for spreading the good news.

This celebration remembers our heritage while looking forward to the greater things God wants to do. The following is adapted from our sanctuary dedication service in May 2017:

WHO WE ARE IS WHO WE WERE. A church that prays, gives, and goes on mission is who we will be. A church that prays, gives, and goes on mission is who we have been. Our first pastor, George Washington Greene (1880-1885 and 1886-1890) left Wilkesboro Baptist Church for the mission field. He was a graduate of Southern Seminary when it was in Greenville, SC. He went from Wilkesboro to Canton, China to teach at a seminary there. WBC sent its first pastor on mission with the Foreign Mission Board. He served for 20 years in China and died on the mission field their in 1911. We are a church with a heritage of missions engagement.

WHO WE ARE IS WHO WE WERE. We are a church that will pray for the harvest because we were a church who prayed for the harvest. We are a church that will go into the harvest because we were a church that went into the harvest. We are a church that will give so that others can go because we were a church that gave so others could go. We are a church on mission because we have always been a church on mission. Let us declare boldly and live faithfully our mission to lead our neighbors and the nations to follow Jesus.

Sanctuary Dedication Service, May 7, 2017

Let us celebrate God and his blessings.

Originally published by LifeWay Pastor’s Today Blog

October is pastor appreciation month. It is wonderful for pastors to know that their churches appreciate them. I’m grateful for every encouraging comment, card, and acknowledgement. But pastors are not alone in their need to be appreciated. Pastors should take the time and energy to appreciate their churches and church members.

I’m certainly aware that pastoring and leading people can be challenging. I know that churches have difficult members, and I also know that some churches have difficult pastors. In fact, my father was asked to resign one of his churches for no cause whatsoever. As a pastor’s son, I watched the unfairness of that situation affect my father’s ministry and family life. As a pastor today, I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to see his example of forgiveness and continued ministry. Regardless of the challenges pastors may face, we have many important reasons for showing appreciation to our churches.

  1. Pastors, we should appreciate our church’s heritage. Our churches existed before us and will exist after we’re gone. While some churches can certainly become chained to the past, pastors cannot afford to neglect their church’s heritage. Past influence and successes provide the framework for future growth and ministry. Heritage doesn’t have to be a hindrance to church growth, rather it can become a springboard. By publicly acknowledging elements of church heritage, pastors cultivate healthy connections between the past and the present.
  2. Pastors, we should appreciate the giftedness of our church members. Many church members use their spiritual gifts and talents regularly. Thanking congregants publicly and privately who use their gifts in the church builds a culture of gratitude. As the body of Christ, churches need more than professional staff. The body needs every member, and those that use their gifts faithfully should be thanked regularly.
  3. Pastors, we should appreciate the attendance, involvement, and giving of our church members. Being a pastor is a calling and mandate to study, preach, minister and lead weekly. Our congregants give hours on the weekends (that is not a part of their jobs) to attend, to serve, to be involved. We should not take the involvement of our members for granted. We can acknowledge and appreciate the attendance and involvement of our congregants by faithfully preparing sermons, carefully articulating God’s Word, and genuinely ministering to our congregation regularly.
  4. Pastors, we should appreciate the difficulties many of our church members face. Disease, financial challenges, personal struggles, death, and other significant situations permeate our congregations. Some of those challenges bleed into how church members interact with us and other congregants. I’m not suggesting we excuse poor behavior. Rather, we need to minister with consideration, gentleness and kindness to all our congregants.
  5. Pastors, we should appreciate our churches because we are the bride of Christ. Jesus bled, suffered and died for his church, his bride. Jesus loves his church more than we could possibly imagine. Think about how important it is for you to appreciate and acknowledge your spouse. Think about how hurt and upset you might become if someone took your spouse for granted or treated her/him poorly. As pastors, we are responsible to shepherd, love, and care for someone else’s bride—the bride of Jesus Christ. Our churches are really his church, and our appreciation and service to them is a reflection of our service to him.

On a personal note, I’m deeply grateful for Wilkesboro Baptist Church. God blessed me with the privilege of serving a gifted congregation with a glorious heritage full of members who love Jesus and serve others. To the members of Wilkesboro Baptist, thank you for the honor of being your pastor.