Celebrating the Past & Reaching toward the Future

July 28, 2010 by Paul Chappell

This past Sunday I was privileged to preach the 50th anniversary services of the Grace Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina. What an honor it was for me to stand in the pulpit of the great men of God who started and have pastored this church—Moody Roberts, Marshall Godfrey, Floyd Paschall, Dr. Clayton Shumpert, and, my good friend and mentor, Dr. Bob Kelley. Brother Bill Egerdahal currently serves this church as pastor.

I rejoiced with the church family in the thousands of souls that have trusted Christ as Saviour through the ministry of this church, and I thanked the Lord for the godly leadership that has kept the church focused on the Great Commission.

It’s humbling to preach the anniversary services for a church that was planted before I was even born and has been led by men who have been examples to me of faithfulness. I honor their commitment to truth and biblical methods, and I cherish the opportunity to pick up their baton and run for Christ in this generation.

As a 48 year old pastor, I stand in a unique position between two generations of independent Baptist leaders I admire—men who have already faithfully carried the torch of truth and young men who burn with zeal to serve Christ today. It is my passion to equip young leaders with the historic distinctives of independent Baptists while at the same time encouraging them to use fresh ideas and the technological tools available in their generation to accomplish the Great Commission.

The impact of Grace Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina—and hundreds of other churches as well—remind us that biblically rooted ministry can make a life-changing difference in thousands of lives. Ministry empowered by the Holy Spirit is not limited by the boundaries of biblical methodology—it is enhanced by obedience to God’s Word.

I’m thrilled to see young leaders with a vision to expand ministry potential through current technology and innovative ideas who are still committed to walk in the old paths sacrificially paved by older leaders of the past. And I pray for many more leaders who will have the courage to walk the old paths while seeking a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit for ministry today.


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