Posts Tagged ‘water the roots’

Story by Nancy Mairs.

You most likely have received your blue and green “Water the Roots” brochure in the mail encouraging you to spend some time praying about what you can do to “water the roots” of Richmond’s First Baptist Church (FBC) through your participation, giving of your time and financial resources so that our church can continue to bear abundant fruit. May sound a little heady, and you may decide, like almost 60% of the congregation, to just ignore the challenge and turn your attention to the demands of everyday life. But before you do, take a minute to think about the rich history of our church, and how we enjoy today the work that has occurred through the firm commitment of others who have gone before us over the past 234 years, who have taken seriously the challenge to invest themselves in “watering the roots” of First Baptist.

Water the Roots

And, to bring it closer to home, think about Ollie Wells. As Steve Booth, Associate Pastor, Ministry of Formation, explained, “In 2013, Ollie found himself in the unique position of participating on both the Generosity Team and being the chairman of the Budget Team. He had the dream of seeing a higher level of participation during FBC’s 2014 Generosity Team Emphasis. Of course, it would be great to see each card come back with a commitment to give a certain amount of money to the church in the coming year, but Ollie’s real dream was to see more people make any sort of commitment.”

With that vision in mind, Steve began to think about making the annual Generosity Team Emphasis more significant to our congregation. It all began to come together during a church staff meeting when the idea for “watering the roots” was mentioned as a way to think about the budget process and the metaphor was connected to 1 Corinthians 3:6. In the NIV translation of the Bible, the verse reflects Paul’s teaching to the Corinthians, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” When he heard this verse, Steve saw the progression as a reflection of how our church has grown over the years. “When you think about it,” Steve explained, “God planted the seed of what has become our beloved church in the hearts of a small group of believers meeting in downtown Richmond in 1780, and the members have watered that seed through acts of service, faithful giving, and a commitment to outreach over the subsequent 234 years! What could be a better way to ‘water the tree’ that God has given us … the First Baptist ‘tree’ … than to ask for the congregation’s help in continuing the work that God began.”

Steve went on to explain why November 16th is such an important date in the life of our church. This is the day that has been designated as “Consecration Sunday.” “Just look at Webster’s dictionary and you’ll see the significance of the word ‘consecration’ and why it is so appropriate to use for this year’s Generosity Team Emphasis. Consecration means to set apart as holy, to devote to a sacred or serious purpose,” Steve explained. And what could be more set apart as holy and devoted to a sacred purpose than the work being done at FBC. “This rich word explains what the Generosity Team Emphasis is all about,” continued Steve. “There’s an interdependency of many people with many gifts, which become more powerful when done in concert with others.”

Don’t you want to be a part of the action? Take your “Water the Roots” commitment card, put it in a place where you will see it every day, and start praying now about what you can do to be a part of the action here at First Baptist. And, don’t forget to fill out the card and turn it in on Consecration Sunday, November 16th. Invest your time, energy, and financial resources here to help “water the roots” of First Baptist and who knows how we will be remembered 234 years from now!

First Baptist Ministry & Missions Budget for 2015

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By Jim Somerville

Big Bend National Park is a desert.  It is dry and rocky and full of scratchy, prickly, thorny things.  What you don’t expect to see in a place like that is a hundred-foot-tall cottonwood tree, hung with tender, white blooms.

But that’s what I saw.

cottonwood treeOn my first hiking trip to Big Bend I came up over a rise in the trail and there it was, that tall, beautiful tree, looking strangely out of place among all the scraggly, surrounding undergrowth.  When I got closer I found that the ground around the base of the tree was damp from a spring that watered its roots.

Here’s the truth: we live in a time when the church in America is struggling.  Attendance and giving are down in every major denomination.  The religious landscape is looking more and more like a desert.  But I believe that First Baptist Church can be an exception—just like that cottonwood tree—if we will only “water the roots.”

How do we do that?

Frankly, by coming faithfully and giving generously.  And, frankly, by doing it through this summer, when the pastor is on sabbatical, and the sanctuary is being renovated, and we’re worshiping in the gym.  It would be a little too easy, under those circumstances, to take a vacation from church, to come back in September.

To let the tree wither.

It’s not completely up to us.  Paul once said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (I Cor. 3:6).  Somebody else planted this tree called First Baptist Church, and God has given it the growth since then, but let it be said of us when this summer is over,

“They watered.”

Jim SomervilleJim Somerville became RFBC’s 16th Senior Pastor in May 2008, following pastorates in Kentucky, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. He earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Master of Divinity from Southern Seminary. Jim has used his preaching, teaching, storytelling, and writing skills in many venues throughout the country. In his time off, he enjoys traveling, backpacking, sailing, reading, watching movies, and spending time with his family. Jim met his wife, Christy, at Georgetown College. They have two daughters, Ellie and Catherine.

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