Welcome to the historic First Baptist Church of Memphis, serving Memphis & the Mid-South since 1839. You will find exciting ministries, mission opportunities, and vibrant worship.

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9:30am Sunday School
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5:00pm Dinner
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200 East Parkway North, Memphis, TN 38112 ⋅ Office: 901.454.1131

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Growing by Building

What do you think of when you hear the word “Growing?”  Are you involved in that activity or just observing?   I think for most of us, most of the time, we would say observing.   We see a plant grow, a child growing, hair growing, and we have little involvement.  Even when we see farms, and we know that someone had a hand in that growth, we tend to marvel at the change, the evolution, the growth as if it were rather miraculous, and beyond ours or anyone’s control.  And when it comes to living things, of course, that is largely true. 

Our new vision statement runs contrary to this idea.  Grow First Baptist Church and its influence by reflecting Christ through hospitality, community, dialogue, and service.   Here “Grow” is used as an active verb, and we are the subject of that verb.  We are the actors, the ones who take the initiative and responsibility to bring about growth. (And by growth we do mean numbers, but we mean more than that.   We mean depth, passion, mission, giving, prophetic witness, outreach, etc.  Indeed tending to the latter types of growth will no doubt aid us in the former.)  Now, like plants, I think we do acknowledge that there are forces involved that we do not control, but likewise we believe that if we will do our part, that the most powerful force of all, God, will work with us and the desired growth will come. 

But if there is any confusion, the three pillars of our vision plan remove any temptation to think that this vision is someone else’s job.   For those pillars all begin with the word, “Build,”---Build the Future, Build the Church Family, Build the Community.   “ Build.”  

Now, there’s an active verb that leaves little doubt that we all have work to do.   Building takes planning, design, resources, sweat, effort and time.   And things built to last, require even more of all of the above. Now, none of us has to build it all.  None of us can build it all.   That’s not only a logistical truth.  It’s the way God designed it, with different ones of us resourced with different abilities and gifts, but each of us certainly has our part to play. 

I think of those fund raising campaigns where a sidewalk, a wall, a monument is constructed with bricks, each of them bearing the name of some donor who was willing to support the cause.  The Orpheum has one such drive presently going on in which the bricks will be used to pave the atrium to the Orpheum plaza entrance.   It’s a powerful symbol.   It reveals what should be obvious, that those bricks, and the wall or sidewalk or building they constitute, didn’t get there by themselves.   Those bricks represent the collected gifts and efforts of untold numbers of people, all seeking to bring about a common vision. 

As we think about growing First Baptist Church and its influence, as we think of what it will take to Build the Future, Build the Church Family, Build the Community…Where will your brick(s) be?  What pillar(s) will they be supporting?  How will you offer your gifts to be used?   How will God use you to bring growth to the Kingdom through the influence of First Baptist Church? How will you embody our core values of Hospitality, Community, Dialogue, and Service? 

We have a vision before us.   We have a plan consistent with our values.  We have solid lay and staff leadership to help us enact it.   God is with us.  Christ is risen.  The Spirit is active.  We have exciting days ahead of us.   Grace, David  


This article was written by Rev. Dr. David Breckenridge and originally published in the May edition of Together.
Posted by Bridget Ellis at 10:00 AM
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