State of the Church Address 2013-2018 and Beyond January 20, 2013 In observance of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I believe it is fitting to discuss the state of the church on this day. Reverend King was a churchman: bred, born, baptized, believed in, worked through, and was murdered after a church rally. We honor his spirit through efforts in promoting the Beloved Community. Scriptural Readings OT: Psalm 34:1-8 NT: St. Luke 1:46-55
Dr. Clifford A. Jones, Sr.
State of the Church Address 2013-2018 and Beyond Theme: From Informed to Committed! Theme Text: Luke 1:3-4 (NIV) “With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you,…so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” St. Luke 1:3-4 (NIV) Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our living Lord and reigning Savior. With gracious and grateful thanksgiving I express profound and deep gratitude to you for your generous kindness, sincere and critical concern for me and my entire family and your continuous prayers, all of which have sustained us for these 30 years. Through the years Friendship has been blessed with hardworking men and women who gave/give their all. Even today we have a strong core of deacons, trustees and ministry leaders who do a yeoman’s task through volunteerism of time, talent and resources. We are also fortunate to have a church in excess of 50 full and part-time employees who often go far beyond the call of their job description and some seventy ministry leaders who work and work and work including our volunteers. You have an army of servants of the most High God! Thank you, all of you, for making so many wonderful things happen for the kingdom of God through Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. This church ministry and our existence as a chartered church began in 1890 - one hundred and twenty-three years ago. Our intent is having a friendly congregation to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through preaching, teaching, singing and serving others.
123 years ago we had a preacher and church clerk; now we have a Senior Minister, ministerial staff, administrative staff, music and arts, technology and very capable facility managers.
123 years ago we had a lot and a house as our church; now we have 200,000 square feet of space [inclusive of 3400, 3301, 3329 Beatties Ford Road] and 108.5 acres in inner city Charlotte.
123 years ago we had approximately 40 members; now we have 8,126 members.
123 years ago we had a budget of a few thousand dollars; now we have a budget of a few million dollars.
123 years ago we supported a local and state ministry; now we support a global ministry through International Children Outreach Ministry (ICOM), Baptist World Alliance (BWA), National Baptist Convention of USA, Inc., (NBC/USA, Inc.), and Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, through medical mission teams, Vacation Bible School (VBS) teams and global evangelism.
123 years ago we had Sunday School on Sunday morning and an 11:00 a.m. worship service; now we have 3 worship services, 2 worship services for children and youth, church school, bible studies, Youth Opportunity University (YOU), Math Madness, Freedom School, after school program at a 5-star child development center, youth retreats, health symposiums, and a state of the art retail boutique known as The Gallery at Friendship.
123 years ago there were only male deacons and trustees; now we have women and men as deacons, trustees and counters, security and some of the best preaching women in this country.
The Lord God of this universe has bountifully smiled upon this church family for the past 123 years. Our ancestors’ spirit is captured in the words from the book entitled Incidentals by Carl Sandburg: “Take up your cross and go the thorn way. If a sponge of vinegar is passed to you on the end of a spear, take that too. Souls are woven of endurance…God knows.” For the past 123 years God has intentionally woven our past with cores of endurance in preparation for our now. Friendship Missionary Baptist now, as it was 123 years ago, is a Christian church. We believe that Jesus is the Christ - the Son of God and that Jesus lived was crucified and buried and God raised Him from the dead. Christ now sits at the right hand of the throne of God making intercession for our souls. He is coming again to receive us unto Himself, so we can be where He is! Amen. Our church theme for 2013 is: From Informed to Committed. Our yearly text is the Gospel of St. Luke. Additional readings are from Carl Sandburg and prominent African American writers like Zora Neal Hurston, James Weldon Johnson, Kelly Brown Douglass, Ron Suskind, Vera Williams, Idella Parker, Richard Wright, etc. The purpose of our church theme, yearly text and readings for adult, youth and children is twofold: 1. To be informed about Jesus Christ and our historical culture during a turbulent time in American history particularly the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. 2. To be committed to Jesus as Lord and become an advocate for human rights and social justice reform. Therefore, what will be preached January through June will focus on being informed and July through December on being committed to Christ as Lord. You are being personally challenged to write yourself a letter of resolve about your Christian development this year. What are you willing to do towards moving from Informed to Committed? These letters of resolve will remain sealed and placed in the Pastor’s prayer chest and I’ll be praying over them all year as we partner together towards commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord. In December of this year we will have an outside candlelight vigil and burn these requests as an act of resolve and commitment. Write a resolve, take introspective prayerful moments of spiritual inventory of where you are - then write your aspirations and what you are willing to do to get there.
Once completed please consider one of the following: place in the prayer request box located at the Welcome Desk, mail to my attention [3400 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte, NC 28216], email to attention of Sis. Andrea Betaudier @ firstname.lastname@example.org, subject: My Resolve and Commitment or submit a sealed envelope addressed to me, to a minister, deacon or usher after one of the Sunday worship services and ask them to give it to me. I look forward to hearing from you soon! God be willing, 2013 will be a continuation of much of what has been done through mission and ministry in 2012. We will strengthen our support for numerous ministries for example: ICOM, Spirit of Christmas, Angel Tree, My Sister’s House, Sweet Creations, Marizetta Kerry Child Development [Five Star] Center and workshops regarding debt retirement. Major emphasis will be on decreasing our debt, replacing the roofing at 3301 and 3329 and the 26 year old heating/air conditioning units at My Sister’s House. Our current facility is almost seven years old and there are cosmetic and technical improvements scheduled for this year. In the midst of decreasing debt and repairs, we have two mission trips scheduled to South Africa and South America. Based upon our past and present, our future is knowing that there is nothing too hard or impossible for God. The Lord God has provided for this church through some lean times, but lean times don’t last always. Vision with me in one to three years - 2014-2016. 1 to 3 Year Goals
Completion of the Sportsplex with tennis courts, soccer fields, football fields, walking trails, baseball fields, parking and concession station.
Expanded housing made available for homeless women through the FCDC.
Expansion of global outreach to college students from South Africa and networking with Johnson C. Smith University.
Staff development and expansion inclusive of Director for ICOM.
Upgrading church technology and sound systems.
Allocate 3 to 5% of the budget in a restricted account for future church repairs and equipment.
Reestablish Future Development and Planning Fund.
Develop additional parking and picnic area for church activities between C.W. Kerry and Missionary Streets.
Expand ministry opportunities for children, youth, single persons and married couples – 18 to 35 years of age.
Expand health literacy ministries through the Parish Nurse, especially for seniors.
Vision with me four to seven years - 2017-2019: 4 to 7 Year Goal
Completion of the aforementioned
Since 2004, we started the draw down for the loan on this facility. We have paid over $5 million in interest. It will be a sin for us to drag out this loan for 10 more years. Therefore, debt retirement on the mortgage of this facility in seven years or less which will begin in 2013 – LEAN IS MEAN!
Construction of Intergenerational Center
C.W. Kerry Scholarship to generate $2 million in principle and the ability to grant $100,000 to $150,000 annually in scholarships.
Capital Fund Drive in 2016 towards full debt liquidation
A membership of 10,000 plus of informed persons and committed to Christ as Lord and Friendship’s mission and ministry efforts.
A budget of actualized tithes and offerings of $10 million
A mission budget cash outlay of 15% of gross church receipts
Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, can we do this? Yes, we can! Pastor, do you believe this is God’s will? Yes, I do! With what I have seen the Lord do, like Moses, “I am standing still watching the salvation of the Lord. How, Pastor Jones? There are five things we must, as a church, keep ever before us. 1. We are a Christian church, caretakers of a Divine trust, this all belongs to God. We are not called to be all things to all the people all the time. We are called to be the body of Christ. 2. We must continually review ministry and mission outreach for effectiveness and act upon the same. 3. We must be open minded and flexible to issues that impact us, our neighbor, our ecology and our faith. 4. We must be cognizant of the issues of today and the world around us. We cannot live, worship and function in a vacuum of faith. 5. We must stay focused biblically in faith and order, and specifically in worship and not cave in to the trendy, hot contemporary religious movements. FMBC is a Christian body!!! Regarding finances, we have an external audit annually. You are welcomed to come and review with Rev. John Spann, our Accounting Manager. Pastor Jones, where is all this money going to come from? YOU! I trust God as ultimate provider and I trust the members of this congregation. All the dollars aforementioned are mission and ministry driven. The biblical principal of tithing is taught in the scriptures. 5
Malachi 3:10: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not open the (windows) floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Matthew 23:23-24: Woe unto you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites [you clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and selfindulgence]. You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill, cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of law-justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. There is a wonderful resource available in The Gallery on biblical stewardship, The Star Book of Stewardship, published by Judson Press, 2012. Their flagship book presents a holistic approach to wealth from a biblical perspective. It discusses debt management, saving and investing, health, end-of-life planning and lessons for children in understanding the value of money. The challenge of the global economy has had an impact and has affected all of us. It has lasted much longer than expected but there is light at the tunnel exit. Thank you for your continuous sacrifices in supporting mission and ministry at Friendship and rest assured that we have made every effort to be effective managers because we are accountable to God for the utilization of this sacred trust. For the hours of volunteerism and acts of kindness – thank you! To accomplish the goals set before us, please continue to stretch in giving tithes and offerings. However, if a loved one needs medicine, food and glasses, you help them first. We are a healthy strong church family and to whom much is given, much is also required. I bring closure now to the State of the Church Address 2013 with a poem entitled, TO YOU I love you for what you are but I love you yet more for what you are going to be. I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals. I pray for your desires that they might be great, rather than your satisfactions which may be so hazardously little.
A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall. The most beautiful rose is hardly more than a bud wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desire are working for larger growth. Not always shall you be what you are now. You are going forward toward something great. I am on the way with you. Carl Sandburg, Incidentals. p. 28 Friendship, I am on the way with you to be informed and committed about: Jesus the link to humanity The Messiah the link to prophecy The Lord the link to Divinity. Be informed and committed to: Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior, Telling the good news about the risen Christ FMBC being supportive and positive Help somebody along life’s journey for the Lord Christ is good to you. Informed: The angel informed Mary about her aged cousin Elizabeth’s condition and she went to visit. The Holy Spirit informed Elizabeth about Mary’s condition and that she was carrying the Lord of promise. Somehow the baby that Elizabeth was carrying was spiritually informed and started shouting about the good news. Committed: Mary, after being informed by the angel, confirmed by mouth about Elizabeth said, “My soul glorifies the Lord for the mighty God has done great things for me – holy is His name (Luke 1:46, 49). Please take note of Luke 1: 45 and 55 respectively: “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” “…to Abraham and his descendants forever just as he promised our ancestors.” In 2013 as we go forward, remember throughout this year that we serve a God who keeps His promises.
God kept His promise to Cain and no one dared to touch him.
God kept His promise to Abraham and even in old age blessed him with Isaac.
God kept His promise to Hagar and blessed her son, Ishmael.
God kept His promise to Noah and it did rain.
God kept His promise to Gideon and he won a major battle with minimal soldiers.
God kept His promise to Joseph and his brothers bowed down to him.
God kept His promise to Rahab and though Jericho fell, her whole household was spared.
God kept His promise to David and the scepter did not depart from Judah.
God kept His promise to Ezekiel and the dry bones did get together as he prophesied.
God kept His promise to Paul and grace was sufficient.
God kept His promise to Grandpa’s younguns’, chilluns’, children’s, children and you became teachers, undertakers, preachers, doctors, lawyers, judges, congressmen, mayors, governors, and yes, President of these United States of America.
Friendship, I am on the way with you. The Lord has promised me, ‘never to forsake and leave us’, if only we trust and obey – Walk with Jesus the Christ and Lord… Walk with Jesus, He will make a way… When we walk with the Lord in the light of his word, What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey. Refrain Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
God Is Worthy Eddie Robinson (revised by Dr. Clifford A. Jones, Sr.) He woke me up early all 2012 and I saw a new year dawning He kept me all year long from hurt, danger, and harm. For all that He has done and from where He’s brought me from. God is worthy, He’s worthy to be praised. God is worthy (3x) to be praised. For all that He has done, and from where He’s brought me from. God is worthy, He’s worthy to be praised.