ARTICLES IN THIS EDITION
"Introduction of The Plumbline Plus"
"We're Not Immune Anymore"
"Virginia Annual Pastor's Retreat"
"Easier Access to Website Information"
"The State of the State Promotional Office"
"Synopsis of the Leadership Conference"
"Upcoming Events (January & February)"
"Pastoring with Purpose, Serving with Love" by Stanley Waddell"
INTRODUCTION OF THE PLUMBLINE PLUS
Beginning this year, we are adding a little to our bi-monthly newsletter. For each edition of The Plumbline, a little more information and pictures will be posted online: this is the "PLUS" side of the paper. We can also include videos within The Plumbline Plus edition.
Many of our constituents read the paper online, and this will be helpful in making even more information available. Of course, the printed version will still be sent out to all Virginia State Association churches and pastors as well as our monthly supporting Fast-Snackers who still want to receive a physical copy.
Another advantage is the possibility of reader feedback. Like a blog post, readers can make a comment, request clarification, or have a discussion about any of the topics presented. Just go to the state website (www.vafwb.org) and click on The Plumbline Plus link.
Another feature is the little symbol on the left. Whenever you see this "Plumbline Plus" symbol, this means that the information from that point on within that article is more than what appears in the printed edition. Followers will get more articles to read online and more information in some of the printed articles. New articles that appear only online will have the "Plumbline Plus" symbol beside the title of the article. You will see some of these below.
WE'RE NOT IMMUNE ANYMORE
Since the recent push in Virginia for same-sex marriage, we always hoped that we could be immune---but not so! Already in our state, one of our pastors has been asked to perform a same-sex marriage. He will obviously not do so; however, the pressure of current culture is beginning to push its way into our midst.
We are grateful for the work done by our National Association and the committee that provided information to help our churches face this problem. How crucial it is that we prepare ourselves. The pastor referenced above had already taken the information provided and passed the recommended clarifications into the church's constitution and bylaws. As we all know, doing so will not prevent our being confronted about the issue nor from someone legally challenging our position. However, it will show our consistent position biblically, historically, morally, and doctrinally.
You can download the sixteen-page document on same-sex marriage from the National Association of Free Will Baptist website (www.nafwb.org). Also, contact the Virginia promotional office if we can be of specific help to our pastors and churches. Most importantly, let's pray one for another as we face more and more pressure from a godless society.
"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13).
Our faithful response to this encroaching push from the world must remain steadfast and strong. While we show love to all people regardless of the sins that characterize them, truth must be our focus and our message. The world is changing around us and the biblical doctrines we preach are being rejected more and more by a backsliding nation and world; however, God has never changed in His being nor in His will for all mankind. God's Word does not change just because a culture changes.
VIRGINIA ANNUAL PASTOR’S RETREAT
For the past few years, the Northern Virginia Conference has sponsored a pastor’s retreat, and we are hoping to see the interest expand throughout Virginia and beyond. Here are the details, and then an encouragement for participation.
LOCATION: Rapidan Baptist Camp, 559 Baptist Camp Drive, Rochelle, Virginia 22738
DATE: February 27-28, 2015
SPEAKER: Rev. Jim McComas: Director of Church Revitalization
SCHEDULE FOR FRIDAY, the 27th
CHECK-IN TIME: 4:00 – 6:00 PM
DINNER: 6:00 PM
SERVICE: 7:00 PM
AFTER SERVICE: Free time of fellowship
SCHEDULE FOR SATURDAY, the 28th
BREAKFAST: 7:30 AM
MESSAGE: 8:30 AM
BREAK: 9:30 – 10:00 AM
MESSAGE: 10:00 AM
LUNCH: 11:00 AM
Please send registration information and payment to Dr. Bob Brown, 12500 Chewning Lane, Fredericksburg, VA 22407. You can also contact him (540-538-1723) or the promotional office (757-407-1183) for more information or questions.
This event is a great time of true “retreat” for preachers, and it is specifically for those ordained and licensed in the ministry. Every man of God needs some encouragement and reinforcement, and this is a wonderful opportunity to see this realized. Brother McComas did a great job preaching the retreat last year, and he returns this year as well. The schedule is not too strenuous, the dress is casual, the time of fellowship is enriching, and the food is great!
Many things can take time in ministry, but we encourage all our preachers to step aside for some infusion of blessing and support.
EASIER ACCESS TO WEBSITE INFORMATION
Some improvements will now help ease your access to information on the state website. First, there is a "site search" box in the upper right-hand corner of each web page. Type in the desired information and a list will appear with links to the information. The site search box can be especially helpful when looking for a pastor's name, church, address, email, website link, or phone number.
Second, you will notice that there are visual picture links on the home page which makes it much easier to find the major elements you might be most likely to view on the website. Of course, the drop-down menus are still there to provide more selection when desired.
Third, many pictures of the churches are now beside their online listings within the directory. Every effort will be made to get all the pictures up this year.
THE STATE OF THE STATE PROMOTIONAL OFFICE
The promotional office is now in the second half of its second full-time year, and the Lord is blessing in so many ways. At the completion of the first year, the promotional office was able to raise 62% of the needed budget for operations. These figures were a good showing for the first year. Now in the first half of the second year, 84% of the needed funds are coming in to support the office full time.
There are several concerns as we head to complete our second year by June 2015.
The amount being raised is slowing in comparison to last year at this time. Part of that is most likely due to our reaching some saturation across the state. That does not mean others are not going to support; however, most people across the state have heard about the office and how to support.
Some might think support would no longer be needed because of the increase in giving. Of course, the exact opposite is true! In order to maintain financial stability, we need each supporter to continue with their sacrificial giving.
As is always true through any faith-promise plan of giving, some people will complete a year’s giving pledge and not renew. Obviously, things can change for people, and that is understandable. However, for those who might not renew, new monthly donors need to be found.
But with all of the above being true, the Lord has indeed blessed the promotional office with splendid support. Because of faithful churches, associations, pastors, and Fast-Snackers, we do have 84% of needed funding coming in!
Out of the first 27 weeks, I have been out 25 of the weekends ministering in services. This level of use means that pastors and ministries across Virginia see the need for the office as well as feel comfortable with using the promotional office within their churches. The reception I have received statewide has been nothing short of phenomenal. I am so proud of our pastors, churches, and associations! It is my sincere pleasure to be a servant to you all.
Pray with us for the continued support and for safety of travel. I still plead with the Lord for a continual spirit of revival among us. The needs before us are great, but the God Who leads us is greater!
January - February 2015
LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE SYNOPSIS
The theme for this year’s Leadership Conference in Nashville was “Affirming Biblical Marriage.” Led by the national executive director, Keith Burden, four speakers (pictured & named right) presented various sessions related to this theme over the two days. Each session was quite informative, and the fellowship during the conference was great. Singing during the various sessions were the Welch College choir and the Rejoice Ensemble. The choir is pictured below.
UPCOMING EVENTS (January & February)
January 3, Midway Conference: Canceled
January 4, Pro. Dir. at First FWB Church, Richmond; pulpit supply
January 5, Tidewater Minister's Conference
January 10, SW Virginia, East Wise Quarterly; being held at Mary's Chapel FWB Church, Coeburn
January 11, Promotional Director promoting and preaching at Central FWB Church, Norton. Rev. Gary Hill is the pastor.
January 17, Clinch Valley, Sunbright Quarterly
January 17, SW Virginia, Lee Country Quarterly
January 18, Promotional Director preaching at Harrisonburg FWB Church, Harrisonburg; Rev. Paul Collins is the pastor.
January 25, Promotional Service at Macedonia FWB Church, Sparta, NC. Dr. Barnes will be preaching. Rev. Eddie Foster is the pastor.
January 30-31, Sandy Valley: Buchanan Quarterly Conference
February 1, Pro. Dir. at First FWB Church, Richmond; pulpit supply
February 5, Promotional Director preaching chapel at Welch College, Nashville.
February 7, Harmony Association Meeting
February 7, Northern Virginia Conference
February 7, SW Virginia, West Wise Quarterly
February 8, Promotional Service at Faith FWB Church, Norton, VA. Dr. Barnes will be preaching. Rev. Lars Dorton is the pastor.
February 15, Pro. Dir. at First FWB Church, Richmond; pulpit supply
February 22, GRACE Outreach Services at Lighthouse FWB Church, Bedford. Rev. Larry Ross is the pastor.
February 26, Virginia Missions Board Meeting
February 27, Virginia All-Boards Meeting
February 27-28, Virginia Pastor's Retreat (sponsored by Northern Virginia Conference)
"PASTORING WITH PURPOSE, SERVING WITH LOVE"
by Stanley Waddell, pastor of Woodland Heights FWB Church, Martinsville
Note from the director: After seeing how Pastor Waddell and the Woodland Heights church began some innovative moves to reach out and expand its ministry, I asked Brother Stanley to write this article. It highlights their abililty to assess the area where they minister and to find biblical methods of ministering there.
Five years ago after many years in the ministry and doing many different types of ministry work, I found myself without a flock, and Woodland Heights Free Will Baptist Church was without a Shepherd. Coming from the Kolher Baptist Church, I have all my life had a connection with Woodland Heights with the original pastor Reverend Ralph Weaver. I had severed this church on two occasions when they were without a pastor. Each time they had asked me to stay, but I didn’t because I could not feel God’s leadership. But now something was different. Now when they asked Sandy and me to stay, God impressed on our hearts that the time was right, and this is where he wanted us to minister. So with great joy we came to serve these people and God.
After much prayer and seeking God’s direction for His ministry at Woodland Heights, God gave us that direction with this title: “Pastoring With Purpose, Serving With Love.” I write and share this in hope that what God has taught me will be a help and blessing to other pastors and churches.
First: Pastoring With Purpose
I did not want simply to come to Woodland Heights to just be called Pastor or to have a job or career (I am and have always been bi-vocational). I wanted to make a difference in the lives of people. To do this, I needed to build up the church God’s way. I was reminded what Apostle Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 3:10-11, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
I also didn’t want to come doing all the work and deny God’s people the joy and rewards of working in God’s ministry. I needed the mindset that Paul had in 1Corinthians 3:5-9, “Who then is Paul, and is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”
I also knew that a church building was built one brick or block at a time. But I was not here to build a building, but to build people. The “True Church of The Redeemed” are built one person at a time. So my desire is to see everyone equal, for here at the church as at the cross the ground is level. If I was to build upon the foundation laid by pastors who came before me, I was to see everyone equally important regardless of the position they did or did not have.
Also, God called me here to pastor, to be an overseer. 1 Peter 5:2 says, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.” I may be stretching the theological meaning of overseer, but I realized that not only am I to oversee all functions of this ministry, but I am also these people’s coach, trainer, cheerleader and mentor. If we were to accomplish anything for God, we all had to work together. The Scripture says, “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (2Corinthians 6:1).
“Pastoring with Purpose” meant building on a foundation of Christ and His Love one person at a time, one family at a time. It means leading sinners to salvation in Christ one soul at a time, bringing and helping to heal the hurt and wounded one person or one family at a time. It means doing all you do for the good of the church and the glory of God. Over the last five years, God has blessed us to see souls saved and families restored. We now see people renewed in a desire to stand alongside their pastor in order to hold up my hands and minister with me.
Second: Serving with Love
Even though I had a connection with these people and had preached many times for them, the first thing Sandy and I had to do was have a heart of love for them. God reminded me of this verse, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead” (2 Corinthains 5:14). Here the Apostle Paul says that the love which Christ has for us will hold us together, press us together, and enclose us. This love of Christ would also impel us, drive us, push us, and excite us. This love would also promote and motivate labors for His church. Christ so loved the world as to give himself for it. His love for the world was a demonstration that people were dead in sins. And we, being urged by the same love, are prompted to like acts of zeal and self-denial in order to save the world from ruin.
You may ask as I did, how can I love people this way? I found the answer in 1 John 4: 16-19, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.”
We don’t have to know people to love them, but in loving them first we get to know them. I am convinced that no pastor can serve a church until he decides to love them as God loves them.
The next decision was who do I serve, who do I love? The answer is that we love and serve all whom Christ loves and for whom He died. The redeemed are made up of people of all colors and all tongues. “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands” (Revelation 7:9).
Christ tells us in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” He also gave a similar statement in His last instructions, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
So the decision is simply that we love and serve all people. As a result, God gave our ministry this motto: “A soul is a soul, and every soul needs a Savior.” So regardless the color of their skin, where they live, their financial condition, educated or not, sinners or saints: we will love and serve them.
The Rewards of Pastoring With Purpose, Serving With Love
A year or so after following this approach and seeing the faithful people of God putting these principles into practice, the Lord’s church seemed to come alive for the people. They began to develop a desire to take the love of Christ to our community.
One day someone said to me that we needed a TV Ministry to which I replied, “I don’t have time!” Their answer was, “Let’s record the Sunday morning service and use it.” Now, God has provided the money to pay for the time, cameras, computers and other video equipment as well as providing someone to do the editing of the program (one who had never done this before and has been blessed of God to learn to do this and do it well). Our program is now seen on one local TV Station, two cable networks and the internet at www.woodlandheightsfwb.org. And God has provided all the finances needed for this ministry.
Someone else came and asked; “Pastor, can we do a free community meal?” As a result of that inquiry, we now serve a free meal on the last Wednesday night of each month. Many come who need a meal, and many come who simply need fellowship. God has provided all the monies needed for this ministry.
Someone else came as said, “Pastor, we need to reach out in an organized way to our neighbors.” So, once a quarter we visit three hundred plus homes in our neighborhood and distribute a door hanger bag. These bags will have in them a small but seasonable gift, an invitation letter from me as the pastor, and dates for special events along with our service times, a tract, or Bible witness. Each quarter our church members hit the streets in our community with this bag of love, and God provides for all the costs for this ministry.
Someone else in 2013 asked me if our church could have a booth at the Martinsville Oktoberfest which has the two main streets full of crafts, fun things, and a beer garden. So we got a booth, printed a sign which said, “Ask us about the Living Water.” We gave away 2,500 bottles of water. In 2014, twenty-eight of our people did the same and touched 3,000 people with refreshing bottles of water, a tract and a “God loves you!” or “God Bless You!” And again God provided for the financing of this ministry.
I am a blessed pastor because God has given me a church of people who serves God by serving others and who shows God’s love by loving others. We all serve not to receive recognition but to give glory to God. No one is interested in getting praise because credit belongs to Christ. We are not trying to make a name for our church or us; our purpose is to lift up and give glory to the name of Christ. Yes, I am a blessed pastor because God’s people here are not complaining but looking for other new ways in which to serve God and be a “Neighbor Church.” We even have a sign at our driveway that says, “We Love Our Neighbors!” and this church really does.
All I can say is that Sandy and I are humbled and thankful that God placed us here five years ago. Until the Lord returns, I believe that He will give us many more avenues of ministry with God’s people at Woodland Heights Free Will Baptist Church.
THE PLUMBLINE PLUS
Virginia Free Will Baptist Ministries
Janary - February 2015