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Pastor reflects on Find It Here
Buddy Overman, BSC Communications
September 29, 2011

Pastor reflects on Find It Here

Pastor reflects on Find It Here
Buddy Overman, BSC Communications
September 29, 2011

Find it Here: Embracing Christ 2011 is the second year of a

three-year initiative focused on evangelism, discipleship and missions

mobilization. During the 2010 emphasis, churches committed to four evangelistic

activities on or prior to Easter Sunday with the intent of baptizing believers.

Building on last year’s success, Find It Here: Embracing

Christ 2011 focuses on transforming believers into fully devoted followers of

Jesus Christ. This year’s focus includes a spring and fall emphasis. During the

spring period, churches focused on the necessity of following Christ, and in

the fall they are turning to the importance of abiding in Christ.

Craig Willingham, senior pastor of Berry’s Grove Baptist

Church in Timberlake, is glad his church has participated in the first two

years of Find It Here. He believes it has made a difference in the lives of

those under his care and of those in his community.

“We participated in the first installment on evangelism and

it was well-received by the church,” Willingham said. “We had people actively

reaching out to their lost friends.”

Eager to build on last year’s success, Willingham was

excited to participate in the spring emphasis because he knew it would connect

with his congregation. “I was particularly excited about the focus on

discipleship because we were already putting a big emphasis on our small groups

and seeing people grow,” he said. “I wanted to see more of our body become a

part of that.”

Willingham’s desire for his congregation has come to

fruition. “Our church has seemed much hungrier to grow in knowledge of the Word

since the spring emphasis,” he said. “The growing desire for God’s Word seems

to be infectious!”

So infectious, in fact, that Willingham has restructured

Wednesday night services to accommodate the growing desire to go deeper into

God’s Word. “On Wednesday nights, I now spend our time going deeper in the

scripture from Sunday’s message and having serious discussion about its

application to our lives,” he said.

Attendance has increased in Sunday School, small groups and

weekly worship services since the church participated in the spring

emphasis.

Lynn Sasser, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

executive leader for congregational services, said the change Willingham has

witnessed is exactly what Find It Here strives to achieve. “It is our prayer

that Find It Here will lead North Carolina Baptists to grow deeper in their

walk with Christ so they will become prepared to follow Him no matter the

cost.”

Sasser said 575 pastors and church leaders are participating

in Find It Here: Embracing Christ 2011. The initiative gives church leaders

access to resources such as sermon outlines, Bible study lessons, prayer and

devotional guides. The material can be customized to fit the needs of a particular

church.

The ability to customize the outreach has worked well for

Willingham. “I utilized most of the sermon passages, though not necessarily in

the order they were given,” he said.

“We also distributed the devotionals to the congregation and

used the weekly Bible studies on Wednesday nights. Our church really

seemed to get a lot out of focusing on a passage together for an entire week.”

Although the fall emphasis is already underway in some

churches, there is still time for more churches to participate. During the

fall, participants work through six weeks of sermons and Bible study lessons

from John 15, teaching believers the importance of abiding in Christ and

bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God. Willingham believes the fall emphasis

will be an important catalyst to launch his church into the third and final

year of Find It Here – a year that will build on the previous two years by

focusing on missions mobilization.

“We know discipleship is vital to missions,” Willingham

said. “Discipleship prepares us for missions by helping us to see what will

sustain the work after we are gone.”

Though it might not be a new formula, Willingham knows Find

It Here is a great way to rejuvenate a church. “It is a wonderful way to get

the entire congregation to focus on the essential elements of what it means to

be a church and to go deeper in the scriptures and how to put those elements

into action,” he said.

Willingham should know more than anyone. He has seen Find It

Here help restore spiritual vitality to his church.

“I am thankful that our convention has put such an emphasis

on things that truly matter in regard to the Kingdom of God,” he said.

“Find It Here will make an eternal difference in the lives

of our people.”

Visit finditherenc.org, email [email protected] or

call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5648.