During the third quarter I made 25 pastoraldr. woods2 visits, preached 12 sermons and conducted nine funerals. I have also conducted four baby dedications. I have represented First Baptist Church-West at the annual sessions of the World Day of Prayer and the United Missionary Baptist Association. Our church also hosted the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s efforts to target and help young offenders make better choices. I was given an opportunity to speak and share ways to make better decisions.

During the quarter we had our Annual Revival with the Rev. Donnie Garris who did a wonderful job and blessed us. I completed a writing assignment for the Thomas Boyd Publishing House Sunday School for the 2015 adult quarter. I also served as the guest lecturer for the Mud Creek Association Ministers Conference lecturing on: Is There a Role for Black Preaching in the 21st Century and What Is the Matter with Preaching?

During the quarter I started a Youth Bible Study for youth 12 and older who are currently going through a series of classes on leadership. Each week youth are given a handout based on a biblical character, taught fundamental principals about leadership and engaged in a set of questions to reinforce the lesson. The lesson concludes with 3- 4 things to take away about the Bible. Average attendance has been eight. I continue to teach the Adult Bible Study at mid day on Wednesday with the current study in the book of Romans.

We have experienced a number of persons joining the church the last quarter and work along with the new member’s orientation group to help them become integrated in the life of the church. I am still concerned that we are not growing at a fast rate but we appear to be making some inroads. I am encouraged by the e-mails and notes and sometimes calls from persons about how the worship service was helpful to them in a particular way, meeting a current need in their life.

We are planning a new ministry launch called AOK (Acts of Kindness)  that will seek to tap into the interests of young adults to select a project or particular area of focus they can serve by deeds of kindness as expressions of faith.

Every effort is currently being made to meet the goal of having officers and a budget before the end of the year. This year Pledge Month will be in November, which is also Church Loyalty Month. We are asking that members be present and share in the worship, that members give and prayerfully consider tithing during the month of November and that members commit to one of the study opportunities at the church through Sunday School, Bible Study or beginning their own small group study.

We have before us another chance to seize the moment and build the kind of church we all want that is sustainable, sound and servicing our Savior. I know that we have less than what is desired in some aspects but we do not have a lesser God.

When Thomas Spurgeon was chided for not being as good a preacher as his famous brother Charles he responded that Charles may be a better preacher but he does not have a better gospel because I serve the same Lord of the church and trust that His power will be sufficient. We do not have a lesser gospel and we do not have a different Lord so let us join the work together to build His kingdom in this place by Making First Things First. 

In His Grip,

Pastor Ricky A. Woods