Don’t Forget Tennessee’s ‘Least of These’

Randy C. Davis

I’ve got an old black and white photo of my father-in-law, Wilkerson V. Jones, standing next to Babe Ruth, one of baseball’s greatest players. Ruth of course, went on to baseball immortality and is among the sport’s pantheon of stars.

But in my book, Wilkerson went on to immortality too. His legacy is revealed in the lives he positively affected, including me. The interesting connection between Ruth and Wilkerson is that they both grew up in boys’ homes. Both had rough starts to life and it was effectively at a boys home where their lives took a turn for the better. It was people investing in them that made a difference. Continue reading “Don’t Forget Tennessee’s ‘Least of These’”

A Normal Tennessee Baptist Church

Normal is good. I’m a fan of normal.

I recently found normal in Howell, about an hour and 15-minute drive straight south from our house in Nolensville. The weather was nearly perfect for an early morning drive with my bride, Jeanne, and we wound our way along country roads through the beautiful rolling hills of Middle Tennessee.

Howell is a small community located between Lewisburg and Fayetteville. We pulled into the parking lot of First Baptist Church Howell and the thought came to my mind. First Baptist Church and the town of Howell are, well, normal.

According to the last census, if you draw a ring around Howell about eight miles from the center of town, the population of Howell is about 8,800. That’s not many folks, but it’s normal. And the church — First Baptist Howell — has between 75 to 100 people of all ages in worship, but that’s normal.

And Brian Gass, pastor of FBC, is bivocational. But that’s normal. Continue reading “A Normal Tennessee Baptist Church”

In Pursuit of the Perfect Pastor

Let me go ahead and say it: Pastors aren’t perfect.

Surely that isn’t new information for anyone, but I can almost hear you saying, “Well thanks for that news flash Captain Obvious.” But let me ask, if we already know that why do we expect different from our pastors?

Ironically, I’m not just talking to the dear brothers and sisters who gather each week in our pews. I’m also talking to the men who stand in the pulpit in front of those pews. Both groups know the truth yet too often live in the world of unmet expectations rather than reality.

I’ve obviously been a member of both the pew and pulpit groups and I know any pastor worth his salt has a high expectation of himself. He wants to serve the Lord and the Lord’s people well. He feels the responsibility of being God’s shepherd. Every pastor wants his church to thrive, grow, love the spiritually lost, and love each other. He wants to lead an evangelistic and financially generous church. Every pastor wants to succeed; no pastor plans to fail. Continue reading “In Pursuit of the Perfect Pastor”

Three Reasons Why You Need the Summit

Summit 2017 at FBC Hendersonville, Nov. 12-15.

I loved family reunions when I was growing up. Those reunions always landed on or near my Grandpa Davis’ birthday. My Grandpa Davis was my hero. He and Granny Davis were faithful saints and I loved them dearly. Granny Davis was the greatest prayer warrior I’ve ever known, and Grandpa Davis served as treasurer at Little Escambia (Ala.) Baptist Church for over 40 years.

I remember that nearly 100 kinfolks would show up and pack out the church. Afterwards, we’d head to Granny’s and Grandpa’s small house for dinner-on-the-grounds. It was always a blast seeing cousins, aunts and uncles I only got to see once a year. Continue reading “Three Reasons Why You Need the Summit”

Barely Making It, but Finishing Well

It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of hockey catching on in the South was laughable. Well, nobody is laughing now. The hysteria surrounding the Nashville Predators has boiled beyond Middle Tennessee and it’s been interesting to hear comments and see Facebook posts from around the state supporting the Preds. No question about it; Nashville is definitely a hockey town.

There wasn’t an abundance of hockey to watch growing up on the Alabama Gulf Coast so needless to say; hockey really wasn’t on my radar until a few years ago when Jeanne and I were given tickets to attend a Predators game. We knew zilch, nada, nothing about the game, but we had a blast. The energy, excitement and the quickness were amazing. And the way those guys cross checked each other; I cringed with every hit. I was a little concerned by how much my sweet, godly wife loved hockey! Needless to say, we’ve been Preds fans ever since.  Continue reading “Barely Making It, but Finishing Well”

Pastor: Nine Steps To Recovering Your Joy

It’s right there in the red letters:  “That my joy may be in you …”

This is a statement of fact made by Jesus Himself, and yet I’ve encountered so many pastors who haven’t experienced joy in a long time. The man behind the pulpit carries both pastoral and personal burdens, and it can be overwhelming. What once was a thrill becomes drudgery, and one day, pastor, you realize you’ve lost your joy. I know the feeling. Been there.

While I was a pastor, I signed articles and letters with the salutation, “It is a joy to be your pastor.” Once, however, the slightest typo slipped through — a single letter — and communicated something completely different: “It is a job to be your pastor.” Continue reading “Pastor: Nine Steps To Recovering Your Joy”

Five Practical Tips for Your Church’s Guest Services

By Glenda Pearson

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders ….” (Colossians 4:5 HCSB)

170222welcome-to-church-shaking-handsFew would debate that our culture is rapidly declining in its enthusiasm for church and biblical teaching. If you were to step back and take a really close objective look at your own congregations, you might understand why.

Let me say here: I love and fully support the local church. Scripture calls us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Some of us, however, are making it difficult for the outsider to want to enthusiastically participate. Continue reading “Five Practical Tips for Your Church’s Guest Services”

Church Planters Need to Gather a Team of Missionaries

170215church-planting-newEver since I have been involved in church planting, I have heard you need to develop a core group, or in these days a launch team. These people come alongside you, help get your church plant going and help with various ministries in the church. Hundreds of church planters, myself included, had gathered a core group or team and used them to help start a church.

Well, today, I say, “Stop!”

If you think I have flipped, hear me out. When it comes to a core group or launch team, most church planters instantly start gathering Christian friends or acquaintances to be part of their group. They begin talking about the vision and the values of the new church. Continue reading “Church Planters Need to Gather a Team of Missionaries”

The Circus and Reaching Students with the Gospel?

161228circus-souvenirs-toysAs a kid, I always loved going to the circus! It was an annual event for my family. Now, even though I’m a “grown up,” it’s still fun!

Several years ago, I noticed something interesting about the circus and their intentional marketing efforts. They are really great at displaying and selling us their souvenirs. As soon as you arrive outside the arena, you are encouraged to buy a circus program. Just inside the doors, sales tables sparkle with toys, stuffed animals, illuminated swords and gadgets. Continue reading “The Circus and Reaching Students with the Gospel?”

Five Ways to Make Visitors Feel Welcome in Your Church

161221parking-lot-sign-church-welcomeIf you were to ask a longtime church member about his church, he would probably say his church is friendly, welcoming to guests and easy to find your way around.

I would have told you that about the church where I served as pastor for almost 23 years. Occasionally someone would say they visited our church and no one said anything to them. I would rationalize, “You must have come in late and left as soon as the final ‘Amen’ was said.” Continue reading “Five Ways to Make Visitors Feel Welcome in Your Church”