This state-capital First Baptist Church exists as a “missions factory.”
“We want to be a factory that produces disciples who look like Jesus and engage our world with practical expressions of God’s love and light,” Jay Wolf, pastor of First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., told Baptist Press.
“Our goal is to be like the church at Antioch,” said Wolf, who has led the 190-year-old church since 1991. “We want to be an inclusive church family that is multi-generational and multi-racial. Like the Antioch church we want to exalt the Savior, equip the saints and evangelize the seekers in our neighborhoods and in the nations.”
First Baptist, where about 2,400 people gather for worship services and discipleship groups, sits on a small parcel of land downtown between the county jail and federal courthouse. “So if you come to God’s house, you may avoid the courthouse and the jailhouse,” the pastor said with a grin.
The church allocates 11 percent of its operating budget for missions through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ channel of support for state, national and international missions and ministries.
“We see our contribution to the Cooperative Program as a tithe of our offerings,” Wolf said. “Being part of the larger Southern Baptist family is extremely important because Jesus called us to function as a synergistic team.
“I believe in the effective work of our seminaries, the International Mission Board, the North American Mission board and our state conventions. We can do so much more together,” the pastor continued, “For instance, one goose can fly 1,000 miles alone but in a flock that same energy expenditure will take a bird 1,700 miles. So if you have the sense of a goose, be part of God’s team!”
Being a pastor, Wolf reflected, “is like being the head coach of a football team. The coach doesn’t try to play quarterback or linebacker but instructs and inspires the players to get in the game and experience the joy of involvement. My job is to turn spectators into participators. My job is to equip the saints to do God’s work of the ministry and see their faith explode into joyous reality by serving God’s victorious purposes.”
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Source: Baptist Press