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  • 125 Fast-Snackers Missing

  • 77th Annual Virginia Association Meeting (Theme & Speaker)

  • Motel Reservations for the State Convention

  • CTS Competition for 2015 & Beyond

  • Virginia Pastor's Retreat Report

  • Upcoming Events

  • Featured Article: "Standards for Youth" by Rev. Mark Crews





                No, the rapture has not occurred and no need to call for police search teams. The missing Fast-Snackers are the ones I need to complete 100% funding for the promotional office. We are so very close to completing full funding, and I believe it will come down to these 125 unnamed individuals.

                The promotional funding as it stands right now is at 81% of needed support. The support is coming in from church budgets, from honorariums as I go across the state to minister and to preach, and from monthly Fast-Snackers. Numbers of churches have put the promotional office in their budgets, and this is greatly helpful. There are still some who can support in this way, but probably not enough to close the gap. The honorariums I receive come in consistently, but we will probably not realize much increase here on average. These funds come in as I travel to local churches and conferences. That leaves us with the “missing” Fast-Snackers to help us reach the goal.

                Fast-Snackers are those individuals who monthly sacrifice to support the promotional office by once-a-week giving up a Coke and candy bar (or favorite snacks). They send in the savings at the end of the month for support, and it averages about $10.00 a month for each supporter.

                Here is the kicker! In order to fully fund the promotional office with the support already raised, I need just 125 more Fast-Snackers, and the goal will be reached. That equates to about ten people per association within the state or 1.5 people from each Free Will Baptist church in Virginia. As you know, it’s hard to find a half a person; so, I will need two from some churches!

                We are so close to reaching our goal! Please help us reach this target by our Virginia State Association Meeting in June. That’s three months to find our missing 125 Fast-Snackers. Will you become one of those supporters? Will you help us find those 125?

                Please contact me directly to begin signing up this remaining number. I would love to announce at the state meeting that all funding is in to sustain this office for the needs of Virginia. Everyone has done so wonderfully thus far; now help us round third and make it home!

                As I have been doing before, I will be glad to give away anyone of my books as a “Thank You!” for Fast-Snacker commitments. You can get Humorous Stories: Squeaky Clean, Principles of New Convert Living, or my newest humor book coming out in May.

                Thank you for the help and support!



Presenting the theme “The Christian as a Disciple” with Dr. Robert Picirilli


               The state meeting this year is June 18-19 and will be held at Woodland Heights Free Will Baptist Church in Martinsville, VA. The address of the church is 1995 Old Chatham Rd., Martinsville, VA 24112. Rev. Stanley Waddell is the pastor. Please see the motel information provided in the next article as well as the full schedule published online (, and look for the “information” tab).

                The theme for this year’s convention is “The Christian as a Disciple” and the special speaker is Dr. Robert Picirilli. The message times and themes are as follows:


11:00 a.m. Thursday: “The Gospel according to Jesus”

1:00 p.m. Thursday: “James and Justification by Works”

2:00 p.m. Thursday: Q & A with Dr. Picirilli

7:00 p.m. Thursday: “Who is a Christian?”

11:00 a.m. Friday: “The Demanding Yoke of Jesus"


               Dr. Picirilli’s book "Discipleship: Expression of Saving Faith" is the springboard from which these messages venture further. On Thursday afternoon, a "Question and Answer" session will be held where attendees may get insight into Dr. Picirilli’s understanding of discipleship as represented both in his book and through his messages.

               Amazon Books has this synopsis of the book: “Discipleship is a great read for those who have grappled with questions like: What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Is being a disciple of Jesus the same thing as being a Christian? What does a life of discipleship look like? Dr. Picirilli provides practical answers and applications for the reader through an exhaustive study of what the New Testament writers said about the requirements for salvation. He offers sound, comprehensive exegesis demonstrating that repentance, obedience, and discipleship are biblical expressions of saving faith. Dr, Picirilli presents a thoroughly scholarly approach to dealing with the Greek grammar, relevant textual issues, and contrasting interpretations on topics ranging from assurance of salvation, apostasy, backsliding, holiness, sanctification, and sin. He also shares important implications of how we should present the gospel, offer assurance of salvation, and incorporate proper church discipline.”

                Attendees are encouraged to read the book previous to the convention. It would also be a good opportunity to have it signed by the author.





              We have secured a block of twenty (20) rooms at a special convention price for those attending the Virginia State Association Meeting. There are ten reserved rooms that have two queen beds and ten reserved kings. All the rooms are $64.00 at the Baymont Inn & Suites, and all have inside entrances to the room. The block will be held for us until all rooms are booked or until May 17. Make sure to secure your room before the deadline. See the following reservation information. To get the convention pricing, you must tell them that you are booking for the Virginia Free Will Baptist Association convention. Your credit card information will be required to confirm your reservation.


Baymont Inn & Suites, Martinsville

378 Commonwealth Blvd.

Martinsville, VA 24112

Phone: 276-638-0478

Fax: 276-638-0479






                There have been some inquiries about the youth competitions from Virginia to the National. In the past, interest has been limited within the state; however, we want to address the needs of our churches and associations. Adam Bolin, our state CTS Director, and I have talked about a way to advertize and to hold competitions this year. Also, we will present some information that will better help us address this need in the future. Here are some bullet points important for all competitors.


• All competitors from a local church need to be vetted through the local association and the winning competitor in each division passed along to the state CTS Director.

• If no other competitors are representing from your local association, the individual church competitors need to be vetted through the state competition. We suggest that if no local competition is conducted, that the young people be allowed a time of public presentation of their area within their local church before the Virginia competition. Please note: The state competition can have only one (1) representative from each association within a specific competition area.

• A Virginia competition will be held for any specific contest area that has multiple candidates from across the state. The Virginia competition, if needed, will be held May 9th. This is the regularly adopted time which is the first Saturday before Mother's Day. Within the next week, I will try to confirm the actual place such would take place, a place central to the state and all competitors.

• If your local association has youth competitions, the winners of each category will need to be vetted through the Virginia competition on May 9th.

• All winning competitors from the local associations (or from churches where no local association competition is held) must be registered for the Virginia competition by the end of the day, Wednesday, April 15. You may download the required, registration forms from the National Association website at this link: You will see on the web page a link to the National competition rulebook as well as to the registration forms. The rulebook may be purchased, but the registration forms can be downloaded straight from the site. Download the .xls files to complete, save, and submit to the Virginia CTS Director through email at Download and print the .pdf file to complete by hand and mail to the following address:


Harrisonburg FWB Church

ATTN: Adam Bolin

311 Vine Street

Harrisonburg, VA 22802


• If an individual competitor area has no challenge within the state, the registered competitors will still need to be approved officially for National competition by the CTS Director; however, a competition will not be held of necessity.


                At the Virginia State Association Meeting held in June, we will present information and organizational help for those individuals, churches, and associations who wish to become involved in the youth competitions for 2016.





                This year’s Virginia Pastor’s Retreat is now in the history books with twenty-one preachers attending. Jim McComas, Director of Church Revitalization for North American Ministries, was the speaker, and he did a great job of singing and preaching. The messages were greatly beneficial, the food was excellent, and the time spent in fellowship with fellow ministers was encouraging. All preachers are encouraged to make plans to be a part of this retreat next year. The dates for the meeting will be announced soon.

March - April 2015



March 1, AM Service: Providence FWB Church, Hampton, VA. Rev. Richard Barnes is the pastor. The promotional director will be promoting Virginia FWB Ministries and will be preaching.

March 7, John Wheeler, NE Quarterly at Macedonia FWB Church, Saltville, VA. Rev. David Osborne will be preaching.

March 8, AM Service: East Bristol FWB Church, Bristol, VA. Rev. Don White is the pastor. The promotional director will be promoting Virginia Free Will Baptist Ministries and will be preaching.

March 8, PM Service: Heavenly Hope FWB Church, Saltville, VA. Rev. Bobby Collins is the pastor. The promotional director will be promoting Virginia Free Will Baptist Ministries and will be preaching.

March 13-14, NORVA Teen Retreat

March 13, John Wheeler, SW Quarterly

March 14, Central Virginia Conference

March 14, GRACE Outreach at FWB Church of Roanoke, Roanoke, VA. Rev. Mark Lewis is the pastor. The promotional director will be with the church as they hold their first GRACE Outreach ministry.

March 15, AM Service: FWB Church of Roanoke, Roanoke, VA. Rev. Mark Lewis is the pastor. The promotional director will be preaching in the morning service.

March 15, PM Service: Cornerstone FWB Church, Bristol, VA. Rev. Gary Rowlette is the pastor. The promotional director will be promoting Virginia Free Will Baptist Ministries and will be preaching.

March 22, AM & PM Services: Mary’s Chapel FWB Church, Coeburn, VA. Rev. Marty Puckett is the pastor. The promotional director will be preaching.

March 28, Sunday School Seminars: Great Bridge FWB Church, Chesapeake, VA. Rev. Hal Jones is the pastor. The promotional director will conduct three Sunday school seminars as follows: 10:00-Essential Keys for Building a Great Sunday School; 11:00-The Method of Teaching a Sunday School Lesson; 11:55-Lunch; 12:30-The Sunday School Teacher & Methods

March 29-April 1, GRACE Outreach Revival: Unity FWB Church, Chesapeake, VA. Rev. Earl Sutton is the pastor. The promotional director will preach revival messages on evangelism that will also narrow its focus on the church’s full involvement in reaching out through the GRACE Outreach program. The program will be established and people registered for involvement.

April 4, Midway Conference

April 5, AM Service: First FWB Church, Richmond, VA. The promotional director will be preaching.

April 10, SW VA, East Wise Minister’s Conference held at Central FWB Church, Norton, VA.

April 11, SW VA, East Wise Quarterly

April 11, Tidewater Association Meeting

April 12-15, GRACE Outreach Revival: Central FWB Church, Norton, VA. Rev. Gary Hill is the pastor. The promotional director will preach revival messages on evangelism that will also narrow its focus on the church’s full involvement in reaching out through the GRACE Outreach program. The program will be established and people registered for involvement.

April 18, Clinch Valley: Sunbright Quarterly

April 18, SW VA, Lee County Quarterly

April 19, First FWB Church, Pennington Gap, VA. Rev. Wayne Scott is the pastor. The promotional director will be promoting Virginia Free Will Baptist Ministries and will be preaching.

April 26, AM Service: Chestnut Hill FWB Church, Big Island, VA. Dr. Roger Bevins is the pastor. The promotional director will be promoting Virginia Free Will Baptist Ministries and will be preaching.



by Rev. Mark Crews, Pastor of Bethany Free Will Baptist Church, Norfolk, VA


From the Editor: In a recent Tidewater Minister's Conference, discussion was held about youth. Out of that discussion was a suggestion that some articles be written on various subjects important to and about youth. The following is the first of some of those articles. Other articles on various topics are always welcome for review and possible publishing.


                “That’s so old fashioned.” “That’s not the way we do things in the 21st century.” When talking to youth about living right for the Lord, I’ve often heard these statements. In fact, I’ve also heard adults use statements such as these to justify their children or grandchildren living an immoral lifestyle.

                It’s hard to deny that the standards for youth have fallen from what they used to be or that we are losing our youth at a rapid pace. Could declining standards and declining numbers of youth in our churches be connected in any way? I believe they have a connection.

                As parents, church leaders, and adults in general, we have allowed our youth to live a life based on far less than the standards we lived by, and more importantly, far less than what the Bible teaches. We have allowed our youth to follow the examples of the world instead of the example of scripture. Could this be happening because adults are trying to live closer to the world, and as long as the next generation is worse than their own, it makes them feel more comfortable? I think so. In this brief article, I would like to concentrate on some good guidelines for determining personal standards.



                When speaking of dress my youth pastor used to say, “Go to the mirror and ask, ‘Would Jesus be pleased with the way I look?’” Such means that we must be honest with ourselves about what the Bible teaches. It is easy to find someone to say that my standards are okay, but what others say does not matter if it goes against scripture.



                Growing up I played football and baseball. In each sport, the school rule was that all players were required to maintain a “C” average. That was easy for me, but my dad raised that bar and made me hold a “B” average. How was that fair? I think my father understood three things:

                First, he wanted more out of me than “average.” I believe we need a generation that believes being average for Christ is not enough. In reality, as I’ve heard many times, “To be a difference maker, we must be different.”

                Second, he knew I could do more than “average.” While I was not the smartest student, I could have passed with a “C” average without giving much effort. My father expected me to strive to reach my potential. The truth is that God has given all us different abilities. To be successful in life, we must fully use those abilities.

                Third, he knew that if I ever fell short of his rule, I would still be above the school guidelines. During my senior year of football, I had to take Spanish. I did my best in the class, but I just struggled to understand. I fell short of my dad’s “B” average and ultimately earned a “C” for the class. Because he knew I was working hard in the class and giving my best, my dad allowed me to remain on the team. In the end, he did not fail to follow through on his guidelines. Instead, he had established a higher standard throughout the course knowing that if I ever fell short I would still be above the minimum.

                The Bible states in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your REASONABLE service.” I always base my standards on this thought, “What is my reasonable service or what is the minimum God expects? Then I try to set my standards higher, so if I find myself falling short I’m still giving God more than what is required.  There is nothing wrong with living to a higher standard.



                What will it be like in 15 years? I have learned that the choices I made as a teenager have consequences in my life right now. I’m glad that I had a pastor and youth pastor who taught having high standards because this kept me from making many mistakes. Youth today need to understand that choices have consequences. An equally important truth is “You can choose the action that you take, but you do not get to choose the consequence.” One mistake with the opposite gender could lead to the consequence of a child. One mistake with alcohol or drugs could lead to a life of addiction. What will you tell your children? You do not have to sow your wild oats to have a complete life. In fact, the opposite is true. I would say that sowing your wild oats will just lead to regret.

                Youth, our standards need to be raised instead of lowered. You will never regret living a life that is closer to God. I believe that the standards of each generation will typically be lower. If this is true, you must raise your standards so the next generation will be above that reasonable service.

                Adults, it is our privilege to lead the next generation. In order to lead, we must be followable. Our standards must show the way to the next generation. We must lead by example.

                Pastors and youth workers, it is my observation that there are two types of churches growing in America. Churches with no standards—“Come as you are; leave as you were” mindsets—are growing, some with 10,000 in membership. Are they making an eternal difference in those people’s lives? I’ll let you make that decision. I also believe that churches with good, Godly, Biblical standards are growing. Why do we feel that we have to lower standards to draw people? Some of the largest churches in America still preach and live holiness. I believe most of these churches are, in fact, making an eternal difference because lives are being changed through salvation. People today are seeking something different, and they have a hope to find it.  We must carefully examine the decisions we make regarding our standards because what we win them with, is what we have to keep them with.

                Is there a simple way to define youth standards? I believe there is. Very simply, youth standards should be the same as adult standards. Why? The Bible sets the standards, not men. God is unchanging, and His Word is unchanging.





Virginia Free Will Baptist Ministries

March - April 2015

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