Pastor and Mrs. David B. Ray began their ministry with us December 1, 1986. In the fall of 1985 as pastor of Columbia Avenue, Pontiac, Michigan, he led an evangelistic team to Gateshead, England. Ruth Carrington was on his team and Bro. Doyle Neal had just become Associational Missionary. Ruth talked with Bro. David several times about coming to Parsons, but he wasn't ready to leave Michigan where he served twenty-four years. Ruth stayed in contact and during a phone call August 10, 1986, Bro. David indicated openness to God's leading to Parsons. Upon receiving his resume, Ruth delivered it to the search committee. Sensing God's leading they worked through sermon tapes, interviews, a visit to Pontiac and invited the Rays for a trial weekend in October. First Baptist called and they moved with us the first week of December. God's leadership has been evident through the years and we praise Him!
As we enjoy the blessings of our church today we must remember that we are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. This history will help us do just that. I'm reminded of what our Lord meant in Hebrews 12 where he notes the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. He has just gone down the roll call of faith in chapter 11. These are the forerunners of our faith who sacrificed much in order that we pick up the gospel torch and go on. Think of that lineage continuing on until today. Praise the Lord! Think of the wonderful privilege of looking back 100 years, getting in the unbroken line, and extending the torch to those of our time. May we be as dedicated and as sacrificial as they were. May we be as true to God's Word and as eager to share it. May we be a tribute to our heritage!
We are entering the second century of our church. We will lay the path for those who come after us. Isn't that great? That is awesome! Celebration is a time of rejoicing over the past and launching the future. Thanks for allowing Joy and me to link hearts and lives with you in this glorious pilgrimage.
In Awe of Those Who Have
Blazed the Trail,
Bro. David Ray, Pastor
Matt Plunk committed his life to God's service at the fresh, young age of seven. As a young person Matt was very active in his church choirs and youth program. Following graduation from Smith County High School, Matt attended Union University where he earned a Bachelor of Music Degree. While in college Matt served several churches as part-time or interim minister of music. Matt also worked as a Summer Music Missionary with the Church Music Department of the Tennessee Baptist Convention for three summers. He has continued in the Lord's work by serving here at First Baptist since the first week of November in 1989.
Brothers and Sisters,
It is truly an honor to serve in a church with so rich and rewarding a heritage. In the short time that I have been here I have come to love and respect each one of you and look forward to working with you in shaping the future years. As Bro. David noted in his letter, we build on those who have come before us. May the legacy which we leave be just as rich and just as rewarding.
I want to share with you the words to a song by Jon Mohr. "We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road, and those who've gone before us line the way; cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary, their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace. Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us run the race not only for the prize; but as those who've gone before us, let us leave to those behind us the heritage of faithfulness passed on through Godly lives. O may all who come behind us find us faithful, may the fire of our devotion light their way. O may the footprints that we leave lead them to believe and the lives we live inspire them to obey. O may all who come behind us find us faithful. After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone, and our children sift through all we've left behind, may the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover become the light that leads them to the road we each must find. ) may all who come behind us find us faithful!"
Striving Be Faithful,
Matt Plunk, Associate Pastor
First Baptist Church has been my church home since Sunbeams. Here I met the Master; here Buddy and I were married and raised our children.
Through the years as church secretary I have had the privilege of working with some of God's special pastors and leaders. For the privilege of serving you and our Lord Church Secretary here at First Baptist I am so very grateful. May God Bless all of you.
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