Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Missions Teams Update

A quick update of the status of our Missions Teams...

  • Yesterday our Stowe Center team served in the soup kitchen of the mission we support in inner-city Columbus. Reports are that things went well.

  • I spoke with our missions team in Mississippi yesterday. They are helping to rebuild churches destroyed by hurricane Katrina. They told me that they are working this week on the church where Adrian Rogers got his start as a pastor. They will return to Ohio this weekend.

  • Our Kenya team is doing well. I hope to be able to speak with them by phone again this week. We will call them during our worship service this Sunday morning. Of course, Greg & Lisa are now there long term... John and Sandy were going to come back a few weeks ago but have now decided to stay on until mid August. I am contemplating going back in August myself. Let me know if you might be interested in going with me.

  • If you would like to help support Greg and Lisa while they are in Kenya, visit Greg's website: There you can view and purchase some of his great art work.
Pastor Noel

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Monday!

We had a pretty good day yesterday. Good crowds in all of our services... Several first time visitors... A good number of decisions made in worship services...

A few people to thank...
  • Choir and Pastor Shawn for the great special just prior to the message in the 10:45 service.
  • The Hatfield family for preparing a great meal for our church wide fellowship honoring our recent new members.
  • The Dickover's for doing the coffee set-up for the 6:30 service.
  • The preschool choir for kicking off the 5:00 service.
I am looking forward to this week!
  • We've got a number of people already signed up for the new member's class on Wednesday at 6:30. (Give us a call if you would like to attend and are not yet on the list.)
  • Today I hope to spend a few hours doing some preparation for my Easter Sunday message and the two messages that will follow.
  • I have a few appointments this week with first time guests who have attended one of our services in the last couple of weeks.

Let me share with you something I read in my devotion time this morning...

Part of my reading was from Joshua 22.

In verses 9 & 10 we learn that the men of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-tribe of Manasseh left the other Israelites after the war to return to their land on the other side of the Jordan river.

On their way, they built an altar to the Lord.

This bothered the other Israelites because they thought that these men were trying to establish a new place of worship in violation of God's commands.

So the other Israelites decided to wage war against those who had built the new altar.

Just before the war ensued, the leaders decided to sit down and talk. As it turned out, each group had misunderstood the intentions of the others. Once everything was aired out it turned out that everyone agreed on everything!

What a great lesson! I wonder how many 'wars' have been fought between believers simply because we have misunderstood the intentions of others and we have let our pride keep us from sitting down and having a frank and honest discussion.

I pray that I will always have a heart that desires to talk first...

Pastor Noel

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's A Small World Today

Yesterday I wrote a post about our friends heading to Ethiopia next week and then to Bolivia in a few months... This morning I got a phone call from Hui Chi Williams. She had gotten as far as Chicago in her mission trip to Korea. She just called to ask if everyone would continue to pray... This morning, I've also tried, unsuccessfully so far, to call our mission team in Kenya to go over arrangements for them to share with our church via a phone call in our Sunday morning worship time... I met with Henry Zigan this morning, and he was telling me that everything was a go for our mission trip to Mississippi next week... And later today, I will be talking with an old friend from Alabama who now leads some mission efforts in New Mexico about our church sending some families down there to minister with some of the Native American tribes he is working with...

It seems like a small world today.

Isn't it exciting to hear how the Lord is working through our church around the country and around the world! In one morning, I've now talked or emailed with people ministering in Ethiopia, Bolivia, Kenya, Korea, Mississippi, and New Mexico.

Our next mission celebration is May 3. We have some exciting things to announce then about how you can be a part of all of this in 2009-2010!

Pastor Noel

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mozombite Family

Those of you in our church here in Ohio may remember David and Amy Mozombite and their two kids. They were with us in a missions conference a few years ago and have since become friends.

They have an amazing story and have had an interesting 'addition' in the last few days. They have been pursuing adoption for some time and have recently been approved to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia. Here you can see a video of their new son...

They will be leaving soon to go to Ethiopia to get Asher. They hope to be leaving sometime in the next few months to serve as missionaries in Bolivia.

If you would like to read more of their story, check out these blogs...

Pastor Noel

Monday, March 23, 2009

Prayer Requests...

Last week was a challenging week. It wasn't a bad week, just a challenging one. I had two very long days that I don't think I really ever recovered from, several counseling appointments a few of which were heart rending, one day trip to St. Louis, and a few distractions. Sunday was a good day. We had a good service in the morning; the deacons and I did our last day of one-at-a-time Lord's Suppers; and we had two good services in the evening.

I am looking forward to this week. It is starting off well. I got some very good news this morning that I believe is the Lord saying that this is going to be a good week of ministry, full steam ahead...

Here are some things to keep in your prayers...

  • I have prospect visits lined up for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Pray for these families.
  • Donna and the girls and I are praying about doing our first big family mission trip this Summer. We are going to try to make a decision in the next couple of weeks. Donna is working on passports right now, just in case.
  • So far this morning, we've had seven people sign up for our April 1 New Member's class! Pray that we will be able to make connections with all of those God is sending our way.
  • We have a leadership meeting (council) this Wednesday where we will be considering some upgrades to our youth ministry.
  • VBS meetings this week...
  • We are making the last preparations for publicizing our Easter services this year. We have a very special presentation the Friday before Easter, and then we will offer our Easter worship service three times on Sunday.
Thanks for the Prayers!
Pastor Noel

Monday, March 16, 2009

Quick Update...

It has been a week or so since I've posted, so here is a quick update of what has been going on...

  • In the past couple of weeks we've added six new members to our church in addition to six baptisms! It is great to see how God is working in people's lives and how our church has been able to be a part of that. It was also great to see the generations represented in the baptism time. Of the six we baptized the Sunday before last, one was in the 12-18 age group, one was in the 19-25 age group, two were in the 26-35 age group, and two were in the 60+ age group.
  • I was able to make three prospect visit appointments following the morning worship and the Sunday Extra Worship yesterday! Thank the Lord for the opportunities for ministry that He has set before us.
  • This coming Sunday will be the last day of our 'family at a time' Lord's Supper services. The original plan was to bring every interested family in one at a time for a time of prayer and worship through the Lord's Supper in one marathon day. Well, one day turned into two and now three. When it is all said and done I will have been able to pray with hundreds of people in family groups and share the Lord's Supper with them. This has turned into one the highlights of my ministry life.
  • Things are progressing with bringing Scott Parry in and up to speed as our new administrator and ministry director. Tomorrow will be focused solely on that. Scott and I will be spending the day consulting with another church that has made a similar transition.
  • Sunday Extra Worship... Last night was our second official week of our Sunday Extra Worship service (if you don't know, this is a repeat of our morning service that takes place on Sunday evenings at 6:30 in Harmon Hall). How is it going? So far, so good. Not counting children and children's workers, we had 48 in the service the first week and 58 in the service last night. We have several people who are completely new to our church attending. Keep on praying. Invite people you know who may be interested in a little more laid back service that takes place in the evening...
  • The five staff wives spent this past weekend together at a Beth Moore conference for pastor's wives in Nashville. Sounds like they had a great time. I hope you will keep them in your prayers. They play such an important role in our church and often make thankless sacrifices that few people know about. Praise the Lord for the character and sweet spirit that each of those ladies possess.

Pastor Noel

Friday, March 6, 2009

Anonymous Letter

I received an anonymous email this past Monday. I replied, and asked if I could share this on my blog. The author of the email gave me permission. I share the email here unedited.

I hope this will be an encouragement to others who may be dealing with similar problems. Both of the messages referred to in the email are available on our church website and at the CD/Book sales table in the main foyer.



I know you are a busy man so I will make this short. You had said that someone thought you may have gone too far in being careful with women (if I understand that right). I don't usually tell a pastor they are right or wrong but unfortunately, I'm well aware of this subject. You are absolutely right! I'm addicted to sex. It sounds funny but it's an accurate assessment of myself that has been verified by other sources. I purchased your "foundation" sermon and will refer to it for the rest of my life.

Today's sermon is a good addition to it. Not only being careful with women, but men with this weakness have to be careful with magazines (I mean the regular ones such as Newsweek, etc), billboards, commercials, the Internet, etc. As you know, sex sells and there are these "triggers" all over. I'm not over my addiction and will never be. With Jesus though, I can overcome it day by day. People sometimes see me as a strong person, drugs, booze, gambling, etc, will never be a problem for me but sex is. I'm married to a great person and have kids so am normal there but this addiction can rip a person apart unless it's controlled.

I just wanted to let you know that you hit the nail on the head with Foundation and thank you for having the courage to stand up and speak about it. You are truly a person of God!



The website where the message downloads are available is You can also search on "First Baptist Church of Heath Ohio" in the iTunes store to connect to the free podcast.

Pastor Noel

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Church Staff Reorganization

Below is the letter I mentioned in the previous blog post....


Dear church family,

Last Sunday I was able to make a much anticipated announcement concerning a new reorganization of our church staff. Jeff Salyer, the leader of our church council, shared in the morning worship service about the goals and the procedure for this reorganization. In the 5:00 service, I shared some of the details and the benefits of this reorganization.

I am very excited about how this is going to benefit our church, impact our community, expand the kingdom of God, and bring honor to our Lord.

Let me briefly describe how the reorganization will work...

  • As senior pastor this reorganization will allow me to focus solely on the 4P's of pastoring. More on that in a moment.
  • Administrative pastor Wally McLaughlin is promoted to associate pastor. He will share leadership responsibilities with me, be the chief go-to person on matters of pastoral ministries, and he will lead our children's ministry.
  • Worship pastor Shawn Gierling and youth Pastor Troy Kirkpatrick will have largely the same responsibilities as they do today, but the reorganization will allow them to approach their ministries in a more effective manner.
  • Scott Parry will come on staff full-time in May to be our administrator and director of ministries. Scott will handle the financial, support staff, and physical plant administration of the church. More importantly, Scott will serve as the project manager for every ministry in the church.
Why are we making this change? What are the benefits to the church and to our ministries?

There are many benefits to this new plan. I believe this is going to help our church reach the next level of ministry and effectiveness. Briefly, here is what we believe this reorganization will provide...
  • We believe it will allow us to multiply the effectiveness of our pastors. It will do this in two ways. First, it will help by relieving the pastors of some of their administrative responsibilities so they can spend more time directly on ministry. Secondly, it will help the effectiveness of the pastors because we will be more organized, more proactive, and more purposeful in every ministry because of what Scott can help us with in terms of project management and ministry evaluation.
  • The new reorganization will allow me as the senior pastor to focus on what I believe the Lord has called me to do and how I can best benefit our church. I believe a pastor is most effective when he focuses on the 4P's...
  • Preaching... this reorganization will allow me to spend more time in the preparation of messages for our worship services.
  • Prayer... this reorganization will allow me to spend more time on the ministry of prayer and the word as is commanded in Acts 6.
  • People... this reorganization will allow me to spend more time with people. It will allow me to give greater emphasis to discipleship and leadership development.
  • Planning... this reorganization will allow me to spend more time developing long-term and strategic plans for our church.
  • Children's ministry will benefit greatly from this reorganization. I believe that the growth of our church is directly tied to the effectiveness of our children's ministry in the next few years. This reorganization essentially gives our church a full-time children's minister. I cannot wait to see how the Lord will bless us through this new emphasis in ministry.
  • There are many ministries in our church that will become more effective and more strategic now that we have a staff member, ministry director Scott Parry, to provide focus and accountability each step of the way.
  • I believe this reorganization will allow our church to continue to strive for excellence as we serve the Lord and serve our community.
There are still parts of this reorganization that will develop over time. It will take some time to implement all of the changes. I believe you will begin to see results from this change by the end of summer.

I hope you will pray for the wisdom and discernment of our church leaders, both the pastors and lay leaders. I hope you will pray for Scott and his family as they make the transition to our church staff. I hope you will pray that our church will be all that God desires for it to be in this community.

Thank you for letting me to serve as your pastor...

Pastor Noel

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Big Events...

The last half of this week's schedule is packed with events...

  • Tonight we have a 'New Member's Class'. We do this every four to six weeks. This is geared for new and prospective members of our church. It lasts about two hours. We have a great time in this class. We go over subjects like... 'how to be certain you are saved', 'what we believe', 'our church's mission and purpose', and 'the nuts and bolts of our church'. There is also a time to meet the church pastors and hear from them how they can minister to families in our church and community.
  • Upward Basketball Awards Night is Friday. We have a 6:00 and a 7:30 event to handle the crowd. We are expecting over 1,800 people to attend!
  • Sunday Extra Worship begins this Sunday evening at 6:30. This is our new worship service that we have been praying about for several months. As of this Sunday, worship times will be 10:45 a.m., 5:00 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.. The 10:45 and 6:30 services will have the same message.
That gives us much to pray for this week!

By the way, we have had very good response from our big announcement Sunday about our staff reorganization and the adding of Scott Parry to the staff. My plan is to write a letter describing these changes for the bulletin this week. If we are able to get that ready, I will also post it to my blog.

Pastor Noel

Monday, March 2, 2009

Christianity in Blue Jeans

This coming Sunday, in both our regular Sunday morning worship and in our Sunday Extra Worship we will begin a new series of messages from the book of James...

Christianity in Blue Jeans
Where Real Faith Meets Real Life

The book of James is a
No Nonsense look at what it means to be a Christian.

Too often, in our culture, Christianity has become some mysterious thing that takes place in a person’s heart. We often think of Christianity as a feeling or a philosophy... an experience or an event...

James understood that Christianity is not something that just happens in a person’s head, but also happens in a persons hands... and feet... and lifestyle.

This book has been called...

“The common man’s gospel”
“Rubber meets the Road Religion”
“The gospel in Overalls”

You will be surprised at how simple, straight-forward, and life changing these truths will be. If you listen closely; if you learn the principles of the book of James, you won’t just be smarter, you will be better!

Here are the questions we will learn the answers to as we study through the book...

03.08 How To Have Joy When Life Is Hard – James 1:2-4, 12

03.15 How To Really Live Obediently – James 1:13-25

03.22 How To Understand Why Some People’s Faith Fizzles – James 2:14-26

03.29 How To Make The Most Of Life – James 4:13-17

04.05 How To Pray A Prayer That Changes Things – James 5:13-18

I will be preaching each of these messages in both the 10:45 service and the 6:30 service each Sunday. In the 5:00 service we will be continuing our study of Spiritual Warfare from Ephesians.

Pastor Noel