Nearly 20 years ago, as a 12 year old boy, I reluctantly accepted my friends invitation to go with him to church. I can still remember that Sunday morning when he ran up to my door to tell me the church bus was there to pick me up, and off we went.
On Sunday, my home church celebrated their 40th anniversary, and I am grateful that I have been able to be a part of the last half of that. A lot has happened in my life since that first day I attended Victory Baptist Church, and it is to this body of believers that I owe a great debt to. It was at this church that I followed the Lord in believers baptism after trusting Christ the summer before. It would be where I would answer the call to preach the gospel, where I would be trained in the ministry, and preach my first sermon (I have it on tape and can’t believe how bad it was). I was given a chance to learn and grow. I was allowed to make mistakes and learn from them to prepare me for where I am today.
In the youth group I would meet my wife, Sherry. It would be there at Victory that we would be married, where we would bring our children to church, where I was ordained into the ministry, and is the church we are sent out of as missionaries. There are countless people that I could mention that have helped shape who I am, from the two pastors that have lead the church, to Sunday school teachers that weekly invested into me and so many others.
The truth is, I am just one of the many examples of lives that have been impacted by the ministry of Victory Baptist. As a missionary, it is easy to preach the great need for the gospel to go to the nations, and it must no doubt be preached. But may we never forget that without the local church, we have no future missionaries to see come to faith in Jesus, trained for ministry, and sent out.
To all of you at Victory Baptist, thank you for investing your lives into me. Thank you for being faithful to the work of the ministry there. Happy anniversary and I look forward to serving alongside you for many years to come.