FBC Temple launches new casual ministry
Monday, 21 January 2013 by Grayson Edds
First Baptist Church of Temple is taking the opportunity of the new year to start a new service, aptly named Beginnings. Richard Johnston, lay pastor for the church, said the idea came to him several years ago, and it's just now coming to fruition.
"Three or four years ago I was talking to one young mother with three or four children," said Johnston. "I asked if she was a Christian, and she said yes. I asked if she went to church, and she said no. When I asked why she said she'd gone to one of the churches with her kids and she was turned away because she didn't have the right clothes. That's absolutely wrong, and that's how God put the idea in my head that something needs to be done."
Johnston approached that staff at First Baptist in Fall of 2012 with the idea to start a casual worship service for those in the area interested in attending church in any attire.
"Basically it's a come-as-you-are, casual worship service on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12 downtown (Temple) at the Worship Center," said Johnston. "It's a worship service, but it's not going to be so structured or formal. We will have songs, prayer, scripture and sermon, but we're also going to have a Q&A period. What we found out in talking to people around the community is that even though there are a lot of churches downtown who would welcome anyone, the people who don't have a suit and tie would feel uncomfortable coming to church. Come with jeans, t-shirts, whatever you've got – just come. I've been telling people that it won't be uncommon to see me preaching in shorts in the summer."
A few short weeks after he approached First Baptist's church leaders, he was given the thumbs-up with a great response from the congregation including a large amount of volunteers, who will be the backbone of this ministry due to other obligations of the First Baptist staff.
"Of course, in the middle of building a new sanctuary in West Temple, the staff's hands are tied," he said. "I'm a licensed ordained minister, but I've mainly been involved in international missions. My wife and I thought this would be a good ministry to start here."
Beginnings will meet in the Worship Center at 204 N. Main in Temple starting this Saturday, Jan. 12. They'll offer coffee, lemonade and even a few children's activities.
"We don't know quite yet what the people are going to need," he said. "We're going to adapt as needs arise. We're ready and flexible to adapt. God wants them in church, and you know what? We do, too."
The focus of Beginnings will be to focus on growing people's walk with God, Johnston explained, which is why they'll have a question and answer segment, but if people would like to talk privately, they will make time after the service for that as well.
For more information on Beginnings or First Baptist Church of Temple, call (254) 773-6866.