Thank you so much for the support you give to this ministry. We have a strong Board to whom I am accountable, but I also want to share with you the investment of my time, energy, and talent over the last quarter. Here is a brief recap.
September 1 – Preached Sunday afternoon at the Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery. Several churches have an annual meeting together. Rev. Myron Smoke is the Pastor at Jerusalem Missionary Baptist. I always enjoy the worship experience with African-American churches.
September 6 – Drove to Lake Martin to speak in a conference at the META-CAMP at Lake Martin. This is a training facility for missionary and evangelism events. Dr. Chris Harmon from Birmingham is one of the strong leaders in this movement. The program that Friday and Saturday was interesting as I got to meet a lot of people that I have read about in missionary and evangelism training. You can learn more through their website.
September 7-11 – I drove to Mocksville, NC to preach at the Sprinkle Preaching Mission. This is the second time that I have participated in this mission. Dr. Glenn Meyers is the Pastor. I had an opportunity to meet with pastors of that area on Monday and to meet with church leaders from Mocksville on Wednesday night. We had worship services Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
September 12-15 – Drove over to Greenville, SC to be a part of the ministry of the Covenant United Methodist Church. Rev. Darin Hook is the Senior Minister. The Executive Pastor is Ken Himes who was a great leader at St. James United Methodist in Montgomery and Trinity United Methodist in Opelika.
This is a church that has recently experienced tremendous growth, and has a great future. I had an opportunity to meet with about 20 of their staff people on Friday. We spent several hours talking about staff function and priorities. This church is blessed with an outstanding staff. On Saturday I met for three hours with about 45 leaders of the church. We talked about vision and the importance of planning. Several of the leaders really listened and decided to act on a couple of things that I had pointed out regarding additional property. Raising the awareness of the need of contiguous property, the church leaders noticed some property that could be available. Within two weeks the church had added about 10 acres! The leaders quoted a couple of terms I had used – “the shoe should never determine the size of the foot, and when the door opens you better walk through it quickly.”
They have three morning worship services on Sunday. They have just completed a wonderful sanctuary. The problem is that they have almost outgrown it. The church is looking at creative ways to reach more people.
September 21 – Had an opportunity to participate with the Alabama State Football team and to give the prayer at the game where the Hornets played Grambling. I visit quite often with Coach Barlow and Coach Payne and pray and speak with the team and the coaches.
September 22-25 – Drove to South Carolina to be a part of an exciting ministry at the Pond Branch United Methodist Church. This is located just south of Columbia. Many people say that small churches don’t grow – Pond Branch is an exception. The Pastor Michael Bingham has a great vision for the church and it was exiting to participate in baptizing people who had just made a commitment to Christ.
September 26 – Drove over to Chapin, SC to speak at a great Leadership Conference sponsored by the Chapin United Methodist Church. Rev. Jody Flowers is having a tremendous ministry in one of the most rapidly growing churches in South Carolina. He shared about his experiences of coming to Frazer for Church Growth Conferences. His church is a great story and they spent some $25,000 to invite people throughout the state to come and be exposed to leadership. Bishop Jonathan Holston was one of the speakers along with Steve Taneyhill, one of the most successful High School football coaches in South Carolina. I gave the concluding sermon to the event. Jody Flowers has a great vision for the church. Pastors were invited to come without a registration fee, receive a free meal, and receive continuing education credit. Those are three things that Methodist pastors always respond to! I will share some stories in the future about Jody and that church.
September 28 – I had an opportunity to speak at the Huntingdon College Athletic Hall of Fame induction on behalf of my good friend Tom Ragsdale who died this past year. I also prayed several times as I met with the Huntingdon Alumni Advisory Board and Huntingdon Hawks football team and game.
September 29-October 1 – Preached in revival services at the Epworth United Methodist Church with Rev. Grant Parker. This church is growing rapidly. They have just made a decision to engage in another building project for a large family life center, etc. One of the great laypersons there is Susan Wiggins who showed me around the Bradley Company in Columbus where she has been a leader for the past 30 years. This is a strong company who has a profound influence in Georgia and is based on foundational Christian principles. It was inspiring to experience that.
October 4 – Had an opportunity to offer a prayer of dedication for the 50th wedding anniversary for Jim and Betty Jane Young in Atlanta, Georgia. They have been dear friends to my family and were active members of Frazer for several years.
October 5-9 – Preached in revival at the McDonough United Methodist Church. Rev. Darris Baker is the Senior Pastor. He has also served as the Senior Minister at Young Harris in North Georgia where my brother George and I both went to Junior College. We had noon and evening worship services. I had a great experience staying with the William Stricklands. He is a Chevrolet dealer and he and his family are great leaders in that church.
October 10 – Attended the Good Ole Boys meeting down at the farm of Grady Price. This is an event that I look forward to each year. Dr. Price and his partners Dr. Trulove and Dr. Foy provide this event for about 200+ men who spend an afternoon visiting and enjoy a great seafood meal. The purpose is to spend a few minutes thanking God for our great country and I have the opportunity to give a prayer asking for God’s guidance in the lives of all the people present.
October 13-18 – I flew to Zurich, Switzerland and met with the Billion Soul Initiative leadership team. There were twelve of us present. It was here that we put together a plan to start 5 million churches and win 1 billion people to Christ by 2020. The details for this specific plan are included in an earlier blog on November 6. This is one way that I will spend some of my time during the next six years. My vision is always expanded when I am with people around the world who think so big. I was sitting between two men – one is from the Philippines who has some 40,000+ people in worship each Sunday and on my left was a medical doctor who has planted hundreds of churches in India, and most of them average well over 1,000 people. The possibilities of this God-sized vision are huge.
October 19-23 – Returned from Switzerland and drove out to Jonesboro, AR to preach at the First United Methodist Church. Rev. John Miles is the Senior Minister. This church just completed a huge building which contains an auditorium for contemporary worship. I preached several times Sunday morning, then had evening worship services. John asked me to go with him to visit a couple of older people who had watched our worship service every Sunday on television when I was at Frazer. It was interesting to hear their stories of the Television Ministry.
October 27 – Preached at the Consecration Sunday for Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Rev. Glen Pugh is the pastor. I had an opportunity to be there for their stewardship emphasis.
November 5-6 – Spent most of these days involving phone calls and conference calls. I have the opportunity to serve as a coach to some pastors in other states and to give some counsel to other local churches.
November 6 – Spoke at the men’s breakfast at Frazer United Methodist Church.
November 9-11 – Went to Winston-Salem, NC to preach at the Centenary United Methodist Church. This is one of the largest Methodist churches in North Carolina. They have several different style worship services. On Sunday morning I preached 4 times. Two of the services were traditional, one was a service featuring jazz music, and the other was a contemporary worship. I went that afternoon to meet with a group of folks who had watched our worship services faithfully on television. It was great to hear their stories. I also met with two different groups of leaders from the church. Jim Holmes, III is a leader there. We had met at Lake Junaluska some time ago. He is my kind of a man as he loves sports (was at one time a sports writer) and has a great vision for his local church in his community.
November 12 – Spoke at the One Nation Under God Community Breakfast sponsored by the Exchange Club of Florence, AL. Steve Chennault is a member of that club. He had formerly attended Frazer when he was in Montgomery.
November 13 – Drove to Troy to speak at the Female Factor event. This is obviously for women and is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, Troy University, the bank, and the hospital. I was there last December. I was invited back to speak about the meaning of Thanksgiving. They had 152 women for the luncheon.
November 14 – Attended the PSIF (Public Safety Insurance Fund) meeting honoring all of our people who protect us and giving a huge check to pay for insurance for all of our first responders. I have attended and supported this endeavor since its inception. Grant Sullivan, Buddy Hardwich and Jerry Wills direct this project.
November 17 – Drove to Graceville, FL to preach the stewardship sermon at the First United Methodist Church. This had just completed studying the book I wrote “Treasures of the Transformed Life.” Dr. Jason Thrower is giving tremendous leadership there.
November 19-20 – Met with some different pastors and church groups. I went to Birmingham to officiate at the wedding of Hayden Hamrick the daughter of Bill and Gail who are active members at Frazer. Their son Hunter is a professional golfer and I try to give him some lessons all along!
December 1 – Preached at the Hutchinson Missionary Baptist Church. Dr. G. W. C. Richardson is the pastor. This was my fifth year to speak on their Race Relations Sunday. It is an experience to which I always look forward. Dr. Richardson (his initials stand for George Washington Carver) has been a good partner in ministry for a lot of years. They gave special awards to the Montgomery Police Department and to the Y.M.C.A. for their work in improving race relations in the Montgomery area.
I’m excited about 2014. Please pray that this ministry will see when doors are opening, and move quickly to walk through them.
Have a blessed Christmas. Please don’t get so caught up in what the world has to sell that you miss what God has to give!
For the Cause of causes, John Ed Mathison