As Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a season.” In our 190 years of existence, First Baptist Church on the Square has experienced many seasons. In my three years with you, we have welcomed new people into our loving fellowship but have also said goodbye to quite a few who have either moved away or been promoted to heaven. None of us know how long we will be here in LaGrange or even on this earth. We would be wise to pray like the Psalmist does in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom” (ESV).
In my brief tenure we have said goodbye to outstanding staff members and welcomed new ones. The time has come for us to say goodbye to yet another beloved minister in Tracey Deavers. The Lord brought him here over five years ago for a very specific ministry purpose. Tracey blessed us with his outstanding ability to communicate God’s Word with clarity and passion. Our missions ministry is stronger now than ever before. I could go on about the ways God has used him and his beautiful family in the life of our church and in our community.
God has stirred Tracey’s heart over the past few months to be a lead pastor, and the Lord has graciously opened a door for pastoral ministry in Colbert, GA. As his pastor and friend, I affirm God’s clear gifting and calling in his life. Our loss is Moon’s Grove Baptist Church’s gain. Tracey and Shannon have inspired all of us through their faith, courage, and willingness to say yes to God’s call to adopt four children. We have been enriched by having them in our church family these past years. They will be a blessing to the church and community there in Colbert.
On June 3, Tracey will speak his farewell to us near the end of both worship services. We will also have a time of prayer for Tracey, Shannon, and their family. Tracey has been a great friend and communication link with Indian missionary Rajeev Mahan, who will be preaching in both services on June 3. It is no accident that the Sunday that Rajeev will be with us will be the Deavers’ last Sunday with us. Rajeev tried with all his might two years ago to come preach for us, and we had hoped it would happen then. Tracey and I have talked for years about sending a small team to India to visit Rajeev. God never gave us a peace about Tracey and a team going to India, but now we know why. Rajeev was first supposed to come to us. God’s timing is perfect, and we rejoice that we will celebrate both Rajeev Mahan and Tracey, Shannon, and their family on June 3.
We are two weeks into our new worship schedule, and we are only going to get more settled in to how it will be over the coming weeks of this summer. We have had a trial run for one set of speakers from LifeSound AV in Macon, GA. Beginning on June 3, we will try another set from Sound Solutions in Oxford, AL. While we are trying speakers, please consider sitting downstairs so that you can actually hear the ground level speakers that we are testing. The existing balcony speakers will allow you to hear, but it will be a vastly different experience on the main floor with the new speakers.
As always with any transition, we all need to exercise patience as things continue to get tested and worked out. We are very fortunate to have such wonderful technical volunteers in the area of computer projection, light, sound, recording, and broadcast. Thank these hard-working volunteers when you see them. We also have some of the best volunteers who help us with parking and greeter ministry. We are making a concerted effort to really boost our guest services presence outside of and inside of our building. The parking ministry handles everything on the outside, and they always need more help. The greeting ministry handles everything on the inside of the church. They too need many more people to volunteer to serve.
I want to strongly encourage you to get involved in the parking and greeting ministries. When you think about serving the Lord at First Baptist Church, this needs to be the first place you consider serving. We have more than enough people to share this critical ministry of Christian love and service. If you can smile, hand people a bulletin, hold a door or an umbrella, and just be friendly, then we need you. Email Carol Kilgore (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call her in the church office, and she will get you connected to being a part of our guest services team. All ages are needed. For a church to be welcoming, safe, and secure, there is nothing more important than having a strong guest services ministry.
The newly formed children’s minister search committee has met and is receiving resumes. Please pray for God’s leadership in this process. Thankfully, we are very close to presenting to you an executive pastor candidate. The personnel committee has done an amazing job, and God has graciously brought a tremendously qualified candidate to us. Stay tuned for more information soon about this candidate.
Summer is here and that means lots of vacations, youth camps, mission trips, VBS, Camp WinShape, Camp Viola, and more. Let us be in prayer for all that is going on. I am thrilled about the season that we are entering as a church. The Holy Spirit is moving in so many people’s lives. The Lord brings to my mind that wonderful old hymn, “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing.” Read the words to that hymn and ask God to continue to bless us in this season we are in as a church. I invite you to a special prayer time on June 3 in the New Life Building at 6pm where we will call upon the Holy Spirit to empower us as a church to fulfill all of the purposes that God has for us.
Love in Christ,