** This statement was read during our weekly worship gathering on August 26th
This morning I want to take a few moments to update everyone on some very exciting developments in the process your elders have been pursuing the last several weeks to join Freshwater with a local partner church as our next chapter of church life and ministry.
When we first began to explore the possibility of selling our facilities back in April I met with a local pastor to share what God was asking us to consider and what it seemed like the Lord was leading us to do. I told him that if we were to sell our building one of the options we might consider would be a merger that would join our church with a local partner church, and if the Lord were to lead us that direction then we would likely consider your church first among others.
That pastor is Billy Russell and that church is First Baptist Church, Bolivar.
Over the course of the past three weeks your elders have met with Pastor Billy, key leaders at FBC, the full ministry staff, the fellowship of deacons, and the Church Leadership Council all in separate meetings to present to them this exciting ministry opportunity and to ask the question, “Is the Holy Spirit in this process and this possibility?” Through the course of every successive meeting we have shared our story, our thoughts, our mission, our vision, and our hopes for the future, and the concept of joining our two churches together has been met with hospitality and nothing but unanimous votes from the various ministry and leadership teams at FBC.
These are definitely exciting developments as we continue to work through our transition into the next chapter of Glorifying God and Advancing the Gospel together. I know you probably have many questions and thoughts and we want to hear those in the meeting that we will have shortly after this service dismisses.
Before we get to that though I want to read to you the announcement that is being shared by Pastor Billy during all of the FBC morning worship services today:
“Believing the Holy Spirit has led us to this ministry moment, the Church Leadership Council has unanimously approved the forming of a Steering Committee to further guide the concept and process of Freshwater Church joining First Baptist Bolivar for the furtherance [advance] of the Gospel. This concept was recently brought to the CLC by the Elders of Freshwater with the unanimous support of our Ministry Staff and Fellowship of Deacons.
I will chair the Steering Cmte. Four of our members will serve with me. We will collaborate with select leaders from Freshwater, designing a process to further study this ministry opportunity.
At this time no official decision has been made to join these two bodies of believers. Many steps, including a church vote, will be needed. As you can imagine in this early stage of the process, there are many logistical issues yet to be explored and answered. So, please be ever prayerful as this process moves forward. We anticipate a time in the near future for the Elders of Freshwater to share their story with our church and their reasons for this request. We will make those dates and times available when they are known.
Please, out of respect for the brothers and sisters of Freshwater, wait to post this information on social media platforms until later this afternoon. They are also announcing this news and process today.
Thank you for your prayerful response to this ministry news. May the Lord guide our steps for His purposes of grace through this exploratory process. May He lead us to know and do His will as He reveals it in His time. To God Be the glory!”
I love you Freshwater and I believe whole heartedly that we are walking in step with the Spirit of God as we pursue joining Freshwater and First Baptist. I ask that you stay and discuss this opportunity with us, pray for our church family and for the family of FBC, pray for all of the leaders who will be guiding both churches through this process. Great days are in front of us for the glory of God and for the advance of the Gospel in our city and to the nations.
With great love for you Freshwater,