Rustlings (August 6, 2018)

For as many years as I can remember, I’ve watched the President of the United States deliver the annual State of the Union Address. Amid the pomp and pageantry of the evening, the lauding and loathing of partisan legislators, and the well-choreographed recognition of politically advantageous guests, the president evaluates time passed and attempts to orient the nation toward the days to come. Regardless of who is in office, it’s a speech I never miss.

On Sunday, September 16, I’d like to share a ‘State of the Church Address’ with you. I have entered my fifth year as your Senior Minister. I think it’s time we spend a moment reflecting on the years we’ve ministered together and intentionally look forward to the next four years. During the morning worship hour, we will celebrate the last four years of God’s work in us and through us at First Baptist Greenville. After worship, I’d like for you to attend a luncheon in the Fellowship Hall and allow me to share with you my vision for the next four years. There will be no charge for the luncheon, but you will need to make a reservation. We can comfortable seat approximately 300 in our Fellowship Hall, so do not delay in making your reservation. Reservations may be made at or by calling the church office.

No sergeant at arms will announce my arrival. I’m not planning to enter the Fellowship Hall with “Hail to the Chief” playing in the background (or “Amazing Grace”…or Annie’s “Tomorrow”…or “Don’t Stop Believing”…or “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim”). I do not expect you to stand and endlessly applaud as I ascend the platform. (Ascend is a bit of a stretch. It’s only two feet high.) I’m trusting one side of the Fellowship Hall will not break into partisan applause while the other side sits dissentingly silent. Rather, I’m hoping we sit together as a faith family, enjoy a good meal, and joyfully commit ourselves to a vibrant future.

So… save the date, Sunday, September 16… and I’ll see you at the State of the Church Address.

— Jim