Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. (Colossians 1:28)
I’m sure I’m not the only pastor who sees the verse above as giving breadth and scope to the aims of pastoral ministry and the work of the church I serve. Nonetheless, the text addresses what I and the members of Midway Baptist Church are praying and working for together.
The congregation of Midway gathers in the small college town of Cookeville, TN. Our city is home to Tennessee Tech University which brings not only a fresh wave of young men and women into our community every Fall but also a robust representation of natives from countries with various levels of exposure to the gospel of Christ. Furthermore, Cookeville functions as an economic hub for several smaller communities surrounding the county seat. The Lord has given us a fertile field to labor in.
We are part of an association of Southern Baptist Churches with which we enjoy much fellowship and significant partnership in the gospel through the Cooperative Program. One of the distinctions of Midway is that we are intentionally walking in the Reformed tradition. While not the only Southern Baptist congregation drawing on this rich theological well we are most explicated about our relationship to that confessional tradition.
As pastor of Midway I have inherited a long-standing commitment to expository preaching. In my years here we have walked verse-by-verse through 1 Corinthians, Luke, 1 Timothy, Judges, and Ruth. We’re currently working through Ephesians and Hebrews. We are also trying to be intentional about emphasizing congregational singing of theologically rich texts, particularly hymns that have been serving the church for centuries before our own lives. As Gordon Fee has said, you come to know a church’s theology largely through knowing what they sing. We’re trying to leverage that to sing the truth into our hearts and be faithful to our calling to serve each other through singing together (Ephesians 5:18-21, Colossians 3:16)
Midway is growing in our commitment to age-integrated fellowship and committed discipleship relationships. We are two years in to encouraging families to worship and study together. That means that we have lots of little ones in our Lord’s Day Corporate Worship and we are thankful for the way the Lord has blessed our congregation with lots of babies. Our congregation is thankful for the chance to serve these families as they raise their children to love the Lord. God has granted us to see a number of individuals to consciously pursue discipling relationships and by this I am greatly encouraged.
In my ministry I am focused on preaching the full counsel of Scripture, believing that God accomplishes His purpose through His Word. I make it my ambition to present the glory of Christ plainly as well as remind believers of the gospel that saves them and call unbelievers to repentance and faith in Jesus. I’m praying that our church would grow in understanding the importance of being members of the congregation at Midway and our role in the Lord’s purpose to bring us to maturity. Right now an idea I first heard from Mark Dever – that we overestimate what can be accomplished in five years but underestimate what can be accomplished in ten – is a guiding principle as I seek the Lord’s guidance for our congregation. My prayer is that we would hold our confession firm to the end even as we trust the one who began our faith to bring it to completion in Christ. To anyone reading this I ask that, if you are willing, you pray for us to honor Christ and become increasingly mature in Him.
Thank you to my guest blogger Pastor Jeff Wright for writing this post for me.
I visited Midway Baptist Church once in 2015 with my family, as we were on our way to a surgery follow-up appointment in Nashville, Tennessee.
We had listened to a message by him online previously, and the church is listed on the 9 Marks site.
An interesting side note is that someone else I met in a Cross Encounters Radio chat room recommended the church not knowing that we had already discovered it ourselves.