July Church Ministries Night

Church Ministries Night is this Sunday, July 15, at 6:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall. 


Call to Order
Adoption of Agenda
Adoption of Minutes
Treasurer's Report
Old Business
New Business
      Proposal from Church Advisory Council (see below)
      Proposal from Property/Transportation Committee (see below)
      Proposal from Nominating Committee
Miscellaneous Business
Ministry Reports

Proposal from Church Advisory Council

Over a decade ago, our church began offering an early service. This service has been an important part of our church’s ministry and has offered opportunities for many to use their gifts. However, in the past 3 years attendance has dropped sharply. After careful, prayerful consideration, which includes a concern to be good stewards of our resources and to gather input from the church, the Church Advisory Council proposes that we end the early service and continue to worship together in one service. We trust our ministerial staff, with God’s leadership, to guide us in worship experiences.

Betty Aldredge
Carolyn Blevins
Kim Bowen
Ellen Di Giosia
Chad Hartsock
Eric Hasha
Pam Hester
Ricke Hester
Christine Jones, chair
George Langley
Ann McGraw
John McGraw
Ann Porter
Bill Rosser
Becky Stout
Earl Stroup

Proposal from Property/Transportation Committee

The Property and Transportation Committee, with the approval of the Church Advisory Council, proposes that the church pursue the sale of the three properties described in the accompanying materials. The Property and Transportation Committee will be responsible for securing a realtor to assist in the process. After determining the best offer, the Committee will bring the proposal to the church for final approval. Church trustees will sign the final contract. 

Ann Porter, Chair
Kevin Davenport
Megan Schefter
Burl Smelcer
Joe Dobyns
Brandon Palmer
Bill Rosser, staff liaison

*NEW* First Baptist Yard Crew

The growing season is upon us and we are seeking help from church members to maintain the lawn during the next 6 months. The Property and Transportation Committee is building several yard crews of 3-4 people each to bring personal riding mowers, push mowers, weed eaters and leaf blowers to take care of the church lawn. If you have one of these pieces of machinery and are willing to help on a rotation basis, please fill out the information below. By building these work teams and maintaining the yard, we are saving the church over $400 a month. The Property and Transportation committee will hold a brief meeting on Sunday, April 8 in the Media Center to go over the schedule and assign work crews. We hope to get a big response from the church so that this may be a successful venture.

Mowing Target Days - Thursdays or Fridays

Equipment Needed - Riding Mowers, Push Mowers, Weed Eater, Leaf Blower

How many on a work crew - Minimum of 3

Information Meeting - April 8; 1:00 PM in the Media Center

*No equipment is allowed to be stored in the church building, therefore we are seeking members who can bring equipment on designated work days.

Mission Opportunities for April and May

As a congregation we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our community. The Mission, Evangelism and International Ministry Team has been meeting monthly to pray for and plan ministry opportunities for our church members to serve their community. Here a couple of ministry opportunities we hope the church will respond to in the coming weeks. 

Dinner for Appalachian Outreach

AO offers a community meal at the Samaritan House on Tuesday nights throughout the year. Churches are invited to prepare and serve the meals to the residents staying in the house. We are planning to serve the meal on one of these days - April 24, May 8, May 22 or July 4. If we have enough participants we might be able to serve more than one of these dates. Meals would need to be delivered, ready to serve by 5:00 PM. We are asked to prepare for at least 25 people. 

If you are willing to prepare a portion of the meal to provide for one of these evenings, and/or serve the food for the meal please indicate on the form below. You may indicate what part of the meal you would be able to provide. If you cannot provide the food portion but would like to serve the food, this is also an option. The deadline to make your input is April 8. 

Great Big Yard Sale

The church will host a huge yard sale on Saturday, May 12 in the front lawn of the church from 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM. All sales will go to benefit the missions of our church. We need your help on various fronts. Please see the needs below and respond accordingly. 

Sorting and Pricing - We already have a big collection of donations given by members. We need help sorting through all of the donations and pricing them. If you are interested in helping on a free day, please contact Eric in the office. He can help you to understand the sorting and pricing system. The Mission Team will also have organized work days in April. 

Yard Sale Set Up - The front lawn will need to be set up for the yard sale on the afternoon of Friday, May 11. We need strong individuals to help move the items from the church storage to the front lawn, ready for the next day. 

Yard Sale Personal Shoppers - We need individuals who will personally help shoppers on the day of the sale. These helpers will walk with shoppers collecting items that shoppers want to purchase. These helpers will also collect the money and make change for the shoppers. 

Cuba Exploratory Trip Debrief

First Baptist Church is very active in mission giving, especially during the Advent season. But it's been awhile since we've take a travel mission trip. Kevin Davenport and I (Eric Hasha) traveled to Cuba as a mission exploration trip is to witness the ongoing relationship between the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Fraternity of Baptists of Cuba. Our focus was to explore opportunities for mission for our church.


If we are going to send a group to serve in Cuba we first wanted to walk through the motions, to see who we would work with, how we get to where we are serving, how to exchange our money and meet churches and leaders.

Who do we work with? (Eric) - The Fraternity of Baptists of Cuba was started in 1989 by three churches who were expelled from the Baptist Convention of Western Cuba. They were kicked out because of their political views, as well as their stance on female ordination. Today the FIBAC is made up of 43 churches throughout Cuba. These churches range in size and theological makeup. Some are located in city centers, while others are in more rural parts of the country.

The mission of the FIBAC lines up more with our own view of mission. First of all, the FIBAC is ecumenical in practice as it is a member of the Cuban Council of Churches. This organization is made up of 25 Protestant denominations and they are focussed on being united to serve the people of their country. Second, FIBAC is committed to serving their community. Speaking to each church leader it was evident that churches are not just concerned about people’s souls, but also their well being. The churches are seeking ways to minister to the needs of their community. We saw this in each church and each church did ministry in different ways. One church located in a fishing village was committed to repairing a fishing boat so that one of their members could catch fish and sell it at a lower price to the locals. Another church was active in social justice making their church open to all people. Third, FIBAC is committed to Christian education. All of the pastors we met with are seminary educated and trained. In each church the pastors spoke of the importance of their church being educated to read and understand the Bible. All of the churches had a comprehensive education program ranging for all ages.

Logistics (Kevin) - Traveling to Havana was very easy and no different than flying within the US. A passport and visa were the only additional requirements. The religious visa application has to be completed 3 months in advance. The CBF and FIBAC (The Fraternity of Baptist Churches in Cuba) assisted us with this process which involved filling out a simple 1 page application that included basic contact and passport information as well as travel dates.

We were advised to pack very light, and each took one carry-on bag with a checked suitcase. One of the advantages of traveling with a religious visa is the ability to take extra supplies for the locals. We used our checked suitcase as a way to provide common over-the-counter medications to churches in Cuba as these commodities are difficult to come by.

We left on Sunday afternoon and travelled to Atlanta. We spent the night in a hotel close to the airport which also provided a free shuttle the next morning. We had no trouble going through security at the airport. The flight was a direct 1.5 hour flight with Delta from Atlanta to Havana. Once we landed, we picked up our checked bags, and met Maykel, who is the pastor of a local church and president of FIBAC. FIBAC provided a van and driver for transportation throughout our stay. The agency also has a larger vehicle to be used by larger groups.

Cuba has two currencies, one for locals called the Cuban Peso and one for tourists called the CUC. Cash was the only form of payment. One dollar was equal to 1 CUC or 25 Pesos. Even though the exchange rate is about the same, everything is less expensive in Cuba. A typical meal in a nice sit down restaurant was between $5 and $10 compared to $10-30 in the US for the same. While it was inexpensive for us, it was 1 to 2 weeks worth of income for the average Cuban.

Food (Kevin) - Traveling always comes with uncertainties, and in Cuba, the two biggest concerns going into the trip were the language barrier and the food. The food was especially a concern for me as I’m not the most adventurous eater. I’d heard beans and rice were very common and assumed I might be able to find a Cuban sandwich, both of which I could handle. But, I had no clue what to expect other than that. I went prepared with at least 2-3 protein bars per day that I could use as backup in case I couldn’t handle a particular menu item. By the end of the trip, I had eaten only two, and those were only for a late night snack and mostly to make my pack lighter.

While we did have a lot of black beans and rice, it was some of the best I’ve ever had. All the food we ate was delicious and not uncommon to food we would eat in the US. Our host made an amazing breakfast each morning that included eggs, ham, bread and a fruit such as banana, papaya or guava. For lunch and dinner, we ate at local restaurants. There are no fast food or chain restaurants. Menus were typically made up of chicken and pork, rice, beans, pasta and fruit. We had two meals at the FIBAC Camp, where most meals would be provided for a church group. They served chicken, black beans and rice, and a side similar to potatoes. While the water in Havana is treated and the locals drink it, it is not recommended for tourists to drink because our bodies are not used to it. We always drank bottled water or other commercially bottled drinks like Coke.

Lodging (Eric) - Whenever I travel internationally for mission I am always nervous about the lodging situation. You never know what kind of accommodations you might be living in. I’ve traveled to refugee camps in Thailand where I slept on bamboo floors and I’ve been to Mexico where we stayed in a plush hotel. We were told we would be staying in people’s homes. I was nervous we would be staying in someone’s spare bedroom and it would feel awkward. But what we discovered once we arrived in Cuba was that there is a large market of AirBnB style lodging available. Kevin and I stayed in a four bedroom home and lived very comfortably. I stayed in the bedroom upstairs, which had my own bathroom. Kevin stayed in the bedroom in the back of the house with his own bathroom. Our accommodations were very comfortable and private and also included air conditioning. The lodging was also very affordable at only $45 per night and included an amazing breakfast each morning.

Groups might expect the same lodging in the future, or they might expect group lodging at the FIBAC office compound. Lodging at the compound involves bunk beds and two bathrooms with showers. Also warm meals each day would be provided. I’m not sure what the cost would be per person per night but it would most likely be cheaper than staying in rent houses.

Safety (Kevin) - The people in Cuba who we encountered were very friendly, honest, and humble. I never felt in danger, unsafe, or the need to look over my shoulder. The CBF and FIBAC leaders were very familiar with the area and places we visited. Along with the food, another concern was not knowing any Spanish. We did have a translator with us and most common communication could be understood with the help of body language and context. Many Cubans in the tourist areas know a small amount of English. It was certainly a new experience being in a place where I could not speak or read the language.


Construction (Kevin)

The mission opportunities seemed endless and only limited by our own creativity and skill set. Construction and repair work is one of the most visibly obvious needs. Maykel’s church has blueprints ready and has partially started on an addition to their church that would add a kitchen, eating area and lodging. This addition would allow the church to house other mission groups that would provide some income. And also support projects and outreach in the community. The other churches we visited had basic construction needs like the installation of new toilets, plumbing improvements, and updated electrical wiring and lighting.

Community engagement (Kevin)

Each church is seeking ways to connect with the community surrounding the churches. Community engagement might look different depending on the needs in each community. Engagement might look like programs directed at children or adults. The possibilities are endless in this category.

Medical (Kevin)

The Cuban government meets the basic needs for all Cubans, but that’s where it stops. Basic medicines can be hard to come by for the people and dental care can be difficult to acquire. We don’t know what the exact needs here, but we do know this is something of an issue, especially in the rural parts of Cuba.

Golden Age (Kevin)

There is a large portion of Cubans that are reaching older ages. With age comes more difficulties. Churches are trying to find ways to help those in their community that are older.

Relational Building (Eric)

FIBAC is focussed on building relationships with churches in North America. These partnerships help the FIBAC churches to do ministry in their communities by offering them resources and continuing education. But they see these relationships as reciprocal. Churches that travel to Cuba testify that they learn just as much from the churches. The Cuban church is growing and we have a lot to learn from them as they do from us.

Workshops (Eric)

Cuba is in a constant state of change and the needs are changing as well. There are many skills the Cubans can learn from us such as backyard gardening, raising chickens and aquaponics. As we build a stronger relationship with the Cuban churches we can discover what skills are lacking that we might be able to teach. There is also need for ministerial workshops.

What's Next

If you've made it this far, you might be wondering what's next. Eric will be working with our Mission and Outreach ministry team to begin discussing if it's in the church's interest to begin forming a mission team for a 2018 trip. Information will then be spread to the church to allow members to sign up with a deposit. So stayed tuned and begin praying about your own involvement in this mission. 

Want to see more pictures - GO HERE

Parents - Help Us Pick New Shirts

Hey Parents, we want to purchase new FBC tshirts for our kids and we need your help. We want to hear from you with your vote on which color to choose for long sleeve shirts. We will also be purchasing short sleeve shirts, which you can pre-order. Take a look at the survey below, vote for your favorite long sleeve shirt color, and pre-order your short sleeve tshirts. Payment for shirts can be made once the shirts come in. 

***The deadline to preorder your shirts is November 19. Shipments should be in by end of December. 


Cost - $10 each

Name *
Choose the Colors You Like *
Check all that apply

Preorder Your Short Sleeve Shirts

Please submit separate orders if ordering for multiple children. 

Cost - $8 each

Name *
Which color shirt(s) would you like to preorder?
Choose as many as you would like

A Message from Ellen...

One of the things I love most as your pastor is gathering with you on Wednesday nights. It's been a fun few weeks thinking together about our congregation's strengths and the opportunities we see around us. We'll wrap up that conversation this Wednesday, October 25, at 6:10pm. What makes us us is recognizing God's presence among us. What are we thankful for? How have we seen God's presence in our congregation this year and in years past? This is a time for Thanksgiving! Join us on Wednesday nights in November as we explore this theme together. And don't forget to buy your ticket for our Thanksgiving meal together on November 15. As we move swiftly toward the season of Advent, I'd like to invite those of you who play instruments to help us celebrate the season on Wednesday nights in December. We'll devote our Wednesday nights to music, and I'd love to hear all the gifts that our people hold. And one last thing: on Sunday, November 5, we will vote on a slate of deacons to join our deacon body for the next 3 years. Thank you for your nominations and for your discernment as we work together to provide leadership and care for our membership. I hope you'll be present as we affirm and encourage those who will serve.

With gratitude - ELLEN

College Ministry Small Groups

Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
— Galatians 6:2

Why Small Groups?

  • RELATIONSHIPS MATTER - We want to assist students in building healthy relationships with other Christ followers and their relationship with God. 
  • SPACE TO EXPLORE/GROW - The faith we hold onto varies. We want to create safe places for students to explore their faith in a time when our lives are changing into adulthood. 
  • CONNECTION TO ADULTS - We believe healthy growth comes from connection to other healthy adults. Our adult leaders desire to build relationships with students to mentor them into adulthood. 


Zac & Shannon Ballard

Zac & Shannon Ballard

Timothy & Hannah Guthrie

Timothy & Hannah Guthrie

Zac, Shannon, Timothy and Hannah are best friends who live blocks away from the Carson-Newman campus. They love hosting students and friends are their homes and look forward to hosting students for small groups. Zac, Shannon and Hannah are all public school teachers, while Timothy works in the admission office at Carson-Newman. 

When We Meet and How to Join

Small groups meet on Sunday nights at 6:02 PM at the leader's homes.

College students interested in joining can click the button below. Our small group leaders will be in touch.  


Our small group kick off will be September 17th at the Ballard's home. Hope you can join us!

How You Can Minister to College Students

The college students are coming!!! Every year the month of August just appears after a long (but not long enough) summer and we are reminded to get ready for the students. A new year of college ministry programming begins at the end of August. Our church has been so enthusiastic about ministering to our college students in the past. We want to offer several ways you can prepare with us to minister to them. 

Introduce yourself in worship

This might seem unnecessary to mention, but not everyone who walks into our sanctuary is warmly greeted. When we notice a young person attend worship we can simply shake their hand and welcome them to our church. This church has been known to be very friendly and we hope our student visitors feel welcomed each time they come to church. 


Invite them to the College Sunday Bible Study class in Room 301

Many of our first time college student visitors walk through the front entrance of the church. Most of the students have never ventured beyond the sanctuary walls, and thus never know where to go for Sunday Bible Study. The College Bible Study class is located in Room 301, one floor above the office. If you have the time, you might even walk the student up to the classroom to help with introductions. 

What do we do in this classroom on Sunday mornings?  We start off with coffee and drinks, a light breakfast and fellowship. We enter into a time of prayer and then Bible study, led by wonderful teachers. 

Prepare a Meal

Speaking of breakfast, we like to feed our college students. Eric runs by Walmart every Sunday morning to pick up the essentials. Each week during the school year, church members prepare a warm meal for the students. These meals can be anything, such as: casseroles, muffins, sausage biscuits, monkey bread, etc. If you are interested in serving a meal to our students one week, you can be in touch with Lea Ann Brummett. She coordinates the meal schedule for each week. This is a great way for individuals or groups to serve our students. 

Encourage Students to Fill Out the Welcome Card

You probably hear us each week during the announcements encouraging visitors to fill out the welcome card. This is a great way for us to know who is visiting the church and for us to formally welcome them. Unfortunately, most visitors do not fill out the card. When you get a chance to introduce yourself to visitors, you can go one step further by having a welcome card in your hand to ask visitors to fill out. This gives you an opportunity to remember their name and for the ministerial staff to send follow up correspondence. 

Outreach Events

Join us for any of these outreach events to college students. Be in contact with Eric Hasha if you would like to help with any of the following events.  

International Student Luncheon - Thursday, August 24 at 12:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall

The “new” international students entering Carson-Newman this fall will be hosted for lunch in our Fellowship Hall. We are expecting approximately 50 students plus some family members, as well as the Global Education staff. We are asking church members to prepare and drop off dishes of food for the lunch. Students especially enjoy vegetables, rice, chicken, casseroles, and fruit. Desserts are welcome too. Please avoid preparing pork dishes. If possible, please bring your dish to the Fellowship Hall by 11:00 am and have your name on your dish if you would like it returned. Our Mission, Evangelism, and International Student ministry team appreciates your assistance. 

Carson-Newman Freshman Move-In Day - Friday, August 25 at 10:30 am in Butler Hall

Several church members, including Eric Hasha will help unload the vehicles of new students and move their things into the dorm room. This is a very brief interaction with the students and families. We will wear a First Baptist Church t-shirt. 

BCM/Area Churches Welcome Center - Tuesday, August 29 from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm at the MSAC

Each year campus ministries and area churches are invited to promote their ministries to university students. We will have a table to shake hands, pass out church brochures and get to know students. If you are interested in representing our church, we would love your help. 

Hotdog Snack Lunch + Games - Tuesday, August 29 from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm in North church parking lot

In addition to the church welcome center, we will offer a snack lunch to students in our parking lot. This allows us to make a better connection with the students in a relaxed atmosphere. We are seeking members to have conversations with students and to serve the students the snack lunch. 

Welcome Back Picnic - Sunday, September 10 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM

We welcome all church members and Carson-Newman students to our annual picnic on the front lawn. We will have pulled pork BBQ sandwiches and drinks. We ask members to bring side dishes, desserts and lawn chairs. Expect yard games and inflatable bounces to add to the fun.

For those who would like to help set up before the event, we will begin at 3:30 pm.

Youth Serve in Perry County, AL

In Matthew 13, Jesus tells his disciples to be good sowers of the Good News in “The Parable of the Sower.” During the week of July 9, our youth were great representations of what it means to be good sowers. Eleven youth and eight adults traveled to Perry County, AL to lead “Seed Camp” for 70+ children. The mission team worked alongside members of Vestavia Hills Baptist Church located near Birmingham, AL. The children we served primarily live in public housing communities surrounding the Marion city district. When the team arrived on that Sunday afternoon, they traveled to four of the housing districts to pass out flyers to the families in order to promote the camp. For many in the group, visiting the neighborhoods was an eye-opening experience into American poverty. Perry County is one of the poorest counties in the state of Alabama; the median income for a household in the county is around $20,200. 

The mission team conducted the camp on the campus of Judson College, an all girls four year collegiate institution located in the city of Marion. The camp consisted of a Bible Study time, Recreation, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Engineering, Science, and Creative Writing. The kids were divided into groups based on their completed grade, and many of our youth were the leaders of these groups. Each of the groups traveled to the different learning activities for 30 minute sessions. By the end of the day the children were able to experience the Bible story, breakfast and lunch, recreation, music, and several of the learning blocks. Both the children and the leaders were exhausted once the camp ended at 1:45 PM. 

It takes a lot of energy to pull together a camp such as this. The very first and last activity of camp is our opening and closing assemblies. The purpose of these times is to get the kids excited about the day’s camp, as well as pull everything together at the end of each day. Our youth were responsible for leading these portions. They took their Passport camp experiences and used them to help organize and plan the assemblies. They led the children in silly songs, repeat-after-me songs, and coordinated dances. Our youth did an amazing job of building excitement not only for the kids, but also the other leaders at the camp. The assistant coordinator for Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Lucas Dorion, said, “Your team did a fantastic job at Seed Camp. Your adults and students were well prepared and committed to their jobs. Your team was the best church group I’ve worked within Perry County.”  

The opportunity to travel together to serve in Jesus’ name is a blessing because our group gets to put into practice what they’ve been learning all year long. They also get to experience the history and culture in which they are serving. Marion, AL and Selma, AL are two close-by communities that were instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement in the mid-60s. Our youth watched the movie “Selma” one evening and traveled to Selma the next day to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. They also did a walking tour of Marion to hear about its part in the movement. Getting to see these parts of history in person puts into perspective the racial issues this community has lived with for so long. 

The youth mission team to Perry County hopes to find opportunities to share their experience with the church. Church members can also see pictures from the trip on the bulletin board outside the kitchen door. 

Youth Attend Passport Choices

By Sierra Bevins

After the 8:45 worship service on June 25th, fifteen youth and four adults travelled to Passport Choices camp in Greensboro, North Carolina. Upon arriving, they joined other church groups outside for games and mingling before unloading the van to move into their dorm rooms for the week. That evening, they attended an opening ceremony in which they were introduced to the theme song for the week and the staff, including Samuel U C Lian, who served as pastor for the week.

Many of the days throughout the week consisted of the same schedule. Everyone woke up for breakfast before doing a thirty-minute morning devotion. They then attended morning celebration, followed by bible study with their group, and then had a choice course time. Each of the youth was able to request a choice group that best reflected their interests and gifts, including: Grace Notes for those interested in leading worship in some capacity, Curtain Call, which catered to those with an interest in theatre, Huddle Up for those who enjoy playing games, Missions, where they served within the community, Color Palette, which allowed them to express their faith through imagery, and Five Things, which was limited to only high school juniors and seniors. Each day, the youth joined their choice group for lunch and various activities within that group. In addition to the youth’s participation, every chaperone also attended a choice group to assist the staff and youth.

The most impactful was definitely the night where we all gave our honest opinions of each other. It’s really hard for me to open up with others and I honestly have pretty low self-esteem so it was a great way to not only get close with others but also a big confidence boost.
— Jace Mitcham (completed 11th grader)

While this part of the day tended to look the same, evening schedules varied throughout the week. Every night consisted of dinner, worship, and church group devotion; however, there were also nightly parties that took place. After dinner on Monday evening, the youth participated in an outdoor rec party before attending worship. The rec party took place on the football field at Greensboro College. It was in the form of relay races and obstacle courses; the teams competing were comprised of the bible study groups that the youth belonged to. It was a fun and exciting way for the youth to both compete against one another and build camaraderie and relationships with the other groups attending camp. On Tuesday night, there was a costume dance party. The youth were encouraged to wear jerseys from their favorite sports teams. Thursday night was the variety show, which offered an opportunity for campers to showcase their talents and gifts on stage. Katherine Catlett, Reece Ratcliff, Rebekah Garber, and Katelyn Haun represented our youth group by performing a dance routine. While these nightly parties took place on campus among other church groups, Wednesday was a day set aside for time spent with individual youth groups off the Greensboro campus. Our youth and chaperones left after choice time on Wednesday afternoon and drove to the Greensboro Science Center to participate in Sky Wild, a ropes challenge course among the treetops. They then had dinner at CiCi’s Pizza before arriving back at campus in time for worship.

Every night throughout the week, there was a worship service. Each service consisted of a different message; however, it all reflected the theme of the week, Micah 6:8, which calls us to “Do Justice. Love Kindness. Walk Humbly” with God. Alongside the message brought by Samuel was also music and other various visual art that beautifully coincided with the week’s theme. A special aspect of worship was the opportunity that youth had to participate in various opportunities of leadership. Several youth from the church, including Ethan Bloomer, Rebekah Garber, Katherine Catlett, Conner Hawkins, Jacob Knight, and Rachel Bass, were participants in worship.

The youth had an amazing week at Passport and are looking forward to doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God throughout this year.


AO Work Week

First Baptist Church has been serving with Appalachian Outreach (AO) for over 25 years both on the mission site and feeding groups in the church's fellowship hall. A group of volunteers dedicated another week of serving June 19-23, 2017. AO is a year-round ministry that seeks to minister to families in four counties including Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, and Hamblen. During the summer, AO's Home Repair ministry connects churches with local families that need assistance with home repairs. During FBC's AO Work Week our volunteers worked on a home in need of a new deck and ramp. The deck was 5 feet by 7 feet and the ramp was 37 feet long. The team also relocated a smaller deck and the stairs, as well as cleaned and braced the steps at the other entrance. It is our church's custom to present the homeowner with a Bible signed by the volunteers at the end of the project. In total, our FBC volunteers put in 176 hours. The volunteers were Frank Brown, Carey Herring, Leon Shoemaker, Lou Mogavero, Jim Wilson, Mike Dockery led by Ken Morton. 

FBC calls Rev. Ellen Di Giosia as Pastor

By Mark Brown

Rev. Ellen Di Giosia was named pastor of Jefferson City’s First Baptist Church following vote by ballot in two services Sunday morning. She will begin her duties on August 1 and preach as pastor for the first time on August 6. 

The selection was the culmination of a 17-month process that was accomplished by a nine-member pastor search committee. Those selected to be a part of the search team came from the breadth of the church’s membership, each selected by the Committee on Committees to search for the next pastor.  Ninety-four resumes from across the country poured into Jefferson City from the time the position was announced as open in early 2016.

The search committee met weekly at the beginning of the search, and more often from March through May as it winnowed candidates to a short list. Search Committee Chair Joe Dobyns said the group’s faithfulness and trust in the Divine was paramount.

“Throughout the process, we knew that the best thing we could do was to let God lead us,” said the longtime member of First Baptist. “We are honored and humbled that the congregation put their trust in us. We spent time in prayer, as individuals and as a group, and we felt that God was leading us to Ellen, just as we each felt God's call to serve the church.” 

“It was a lengthy process, but we were thorough because we were searching for the right candidate,” surmised Dobyns. “As we grew closer and closer to the end, it became clear to us that Ellen is the best fit. The energy and excitement within the church over the weekend was confirmation that she is who we need.”

Di Giosia brims with excitement as she considers the future in Jefferson City, getting to know the FBC family and working with members to demonstrate, she says, “Who we are to the community.”

“I hope that who we are to the community is the presence of Christ. I hope that we are bearers of God’s love to people, whether they see Him the same way we do or not. And I hope that we are part of a larger body, that we are not exclusive, but that we partner with other people of God to create justice in our community and spaces for people to grow in their knowledge of Jesus.”

Di Giosia (pronounced “dee joe SEE ah”) comes to Jefferson City from Woodland Baptist Church, in San Antonio, Texas, where she has been on staff since 2008, and has served as associate pastor of Faith Formation since 2013. In that capacity, she partnered with volunteers to assess and cultivate spiritual formation programs, which included Sunday school as well as seasonal classes and special events. She administered a vibrant family ministry program, planned retreats and facilitated numerous intergenerational ministry opportunities.

She led a six-figure project to update and secure Woodland’s preschool facility, including design, fundraising and construction, along with establishing new security protocols and overseeing parent education. She inaugurated an All Saints Day observance to honor deceased church members and designed a December 21 “Longest Night Service” as a special ministry to those who struggle with grief and loss at Christmastime. Other service includes teaching a beginning ESL class and being part of a peace pilgrimage to Northern Ireland.

She added Faith Formation duties to her work as children’s minister, through which she coordinated Sunday school, extended sessions and seasonal activities, such as PASSPORTkids! camp, VBS, and Christmas gift-making workshops. She has written and delivered children’s sermons, led the construction of a new playground, overhauled the church’s nursery program to better serve children and their families.

Di Giosia has also served as a minister of music and oversaw a pilot project that included providing pastoral care to senior adults and leading worship services at an assisted living facility. Other experience includes directing operations for the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, directing the educations program for the San Antonio Symphony and running her own music studio for several years.  She earned a BA in music from Mississippi College, an MDiv from Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary and has pursued studies in clinical pastor education. 

She will move to Jefferson City at the end of July, along with her husband Tony, an architect and home designer, and their children, daughter Gemma and son Luca.

Dobyns said an informational survey of the congregation, taken by his committee, and the vote for Di Giosia reflect the doctrinal position of the church, which is dually-aligned with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Southern Baptist Convention. “The vote showed our congregation’s rich heritage of believing that God blesses and calls women to serve. My mom was ordained as a deacon in the church, and we didn't just start that; it's been happening for more than 40 years.”

The new pastor says the journey has already been both informative and affirming. 

“I have felt every step of the way supported by the Spirit of God, supported by the search committee, supported by my family and my church (in San Antonio),” she said.

“And now, I look forward to getting to know people, hearing about what they’re doing and finding out more about the mission that is going on here.”

"Where I Can Serve" Survey

Your Church Advisory Council and Committee on Committees have partnered over the last several months to reconfigure FBC committees and teams. As has been noted, committee slots have been reduced, and certain committees have been changed to teams. Your participation in this survey is vital. It will help us better connect you with how you might best enjoy serving the Lord and your FBC faith community. Below you will find a description of Ministry Teams and Committees. While policy and operational committees remain, many vitally important roles have transitioned to teams, in part to foster innovation and flexibility. We hope the changes will foster excitement and new growth. Along with long-established Ministry Action Teams, the utilization of new teams will also encourage regular attendees to minister and serve, as committee roles are restricted to church members in accordance with FBC's by-laws.

If you would like to serve on a team or are interested in finding out more about a team, please check the appropriate box below each team. Check the ones on which you wish to serve or those you are prayerfully considering. We would appreciate having these surveys returned by Sunday, April 2.

Ministry Teams that Support the Worship and Fellowship of the Church
Name *
Flowers and Decoration Team (formerly a committee)
Works with staff to decorate sanctuary for worship services, including helping those providing memorials.
Kitchen and Fellowship Team (formerly a committee)
Works in concert with Food Service director to prepare and staff meals and receptions that support the ministry of the church, including keeping the kitchen clean and ready for health code inspections.
Music Team (formerly a committee)
Works with Minister of Music to help identify music leaders and plan special services.
Ordinance Team (formerly a committee)
Assists in preparing Communion elements, as well as helping with the logistics of baptismal services.
Senior Adult and Historical Team (formerly a committee)
Seeks to minister to senior adults and involve those constituents in ministerial opportunities; also works to maintain our church's history.
Children's Ministry Team (formerly a committee)
Works with the Minister to Children and Families to plan and implement programs.
Student Ministry Team (a combination of the former Youth and University Committees)
Works with the Minister to Youth and College to plan and implement programs.
Greeting Team (formerly the Welcome Committee)
Welcomes members and visitors on Sunday, especially those looking for Bible study classes and other locations.
Welcome Ministry Action Team
Welcomes first-time visitors in the welcome center in the foyer.
Ministry Teams that Support the Service of the Church to the Community
Mission, Evangelism, and International Ministry Team (a combination of two former committees)
Assists staff members in establishing programs to enhance outreach and evangelism, including special missions emphases, the promotion of missions and evangelism, and reaching out to the international community.
Tuesday's Neighbors Team (formerly a committee)
Utilizes selected Tuesday mornings to help local residents in need of financial assistance.
Wednesdays of Wonder (WOW)
Builds one-on-one relationships with elementary school children while helping them with homework, providing a snack, recreation, supper, plus offering music and missions education.
Transportation Ministry Action Team
Provides transportation to the elderly and others for medical appointment and at various other times.
Outreach Ministry Action Team
Ministers to recent visitors and prospects through outreach activities.
Stephen Ministry Team
Affiliated with the national organization of the same name, this group of trained laypersons provides confidential one-on-one care for people who are hurting.
Bereavement Team
Prepares the meal for church families who have lost a loved one when the funeral is in our area.
COMMITTEES that Conduct the Business of the Church
(Due to the nature of their areas of responsibility, committee membership is restricted to FBC church members.)
Budget and Finance Committee
Recommends an annual budget to the church and works to ensure the financial well-being of the church.
Children's Day Out Committee
Determines policies and approves personnel for the Children's Day Out Ministry.
Committee on Committees
Finds members willing to serve as leaders of ministry teams and/or members of committees.
Nominating Committee
Staffs all positions and finds leaders for Sunday Bible Study; enlists ushers, missions workers, and other leaders for various church ministries.
Personnel Committee
Administers all staff relations and recommends policies and procedures for all church employees.
Property and Transportation Committee
Oversees the maintenance of the building, grounds, equipment, and vehicles.
Stewardship Committee
Plans and conducts regular stewardship emphases in the church.
Tellers Committee
Works with church staff to keep records of all church receipts, including tallying and depositing various church offerings.

A Proposal Regarding Committees & Teams

Your Church Advisory Council and Committee on Committees have partnered over the last several months to reconfigure FBC committees and teams. Realizing that the number of committee positions almost equal the number of Sunday worshipers, we have reduced committee slots, along with certain committees. 

This structural change will be read for the second time, then discussed and voted on at our next Church Ministries meeting on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 6:30 pm. Please pray in preparation of ways you can take part and connect with this exciting new endeavor, as you will soon be asked to take a survey gauging your interest(s) and seeking your valued input. 

While policy and operational committees remain, many vitally important service and ministry roles will transition to teams, in part to foster innovation and flexibility. New teams will also encourage regular attendees to minister and serve, as committee roles are restricted to church members in accordance with FBC's by-laws. 

Below is a list of the committees that are proposed to remain, and the committees that will be transitioned to teams. In addition, there is a document with the proposed by-laws changes. You will notice in the document the original text in black, original text that will be changed in red stricken through, and the updated text in red. 


Flower & Decorations

International Ministries

Tuesdays Neighbors


Missions & Evangelism



Preschool & Children's

Senior Adult & Historical

Student Ministries (youth & college)



Budget and Finance

Children's Day Out

Committee on Committees



Property & Transportation




Current Ministry Action Teams that could possibly transition to formal teams:

Welcome - those who welcome first time visitors in the welcome center in the foyer




The Challenge of Maintaining a Committee System at FBC

  1. Our committee system is too large for our size church. We currently have 156 committee spots with an average church attendance of 180. 
  2. Our committee system allows only church members to serve on a committee. Like every church, we have regular attenders who have not joined the church who are not allowed to serve on a committee. 
  3. The committee system requires a 3 year service term. For some people this might be too long of a commitment.  
  4. Lack of training over the years has left many committees without a true understanding of their role. Many of our committees do not meet, or meet once a year. Chairs often don’t know how to lead their committee. 

Our Proposed Solution

  1. To redefine what makes a committee. 
  2. To decrease the total number of committee spots to best fit our church’s size. 
  3. To incorporate a team based model, which allows non-members to serve and decreases the service term limit. 

Inclement Weather Policy

FBC WEATHER POLICY                                                       

For Wednesday Evening Services:                                      

On days of inclement weather, the staff will make a decision about our services by noon Wednesday (even if the public schools are cancelled). The decision will be posted on the "This Week" page on the church's website and the church's Facebook page. Only if Wednesday evening services are cancelled, will the cancellation also be broadcasted on WBIR TV 10. 

For Sunday Services:                                                         

On days of inclement weather, the staff will make a decision about Sunday worship services by 7 a.m.. The decision will be posted on the front page of the church's website and the church's Facebook page. Only if Sunday worship services are cancelled, will the cancellation also be broadcasted on WBIR TV 10. 

Church Directory & Advent Devotions


We've been working for some time on a new directory for our church members and regular attenders. Currently, we have an online directory that is available to those who have filled out a release form. We are one step closer to printing and making the new church directory available to our church members. A first draft copy of the directory will be located in each of the entrances of the sanctuary. As you enter or exit the church for worship, please find your family's information and confirm it is correct. If any information needs to be changed, please mark on the copy with the red pen. If there is any information you do not want published, please mark through it. The deadline to update your information is December 25. The printed directories will be available to pick up by January 1, 2017. 


First Baptist Church is producing an Advent Devotional written by our own people. The devotions will be made available on the church's website beginning November 27. We hope the devotional will inspire you and your family during this season of anticipation. 

Pastor Search Committee Update

Your Pastor Search Committee was commissioned on January 17, 2016. We have met forty four times since that date. The committee has gathered information for creating a community and congregational profile for any potential candidates. We have created a Pastor Profile Survey to gather information from the congregation. We also met individually with many members of the staff to gain their unique perspective of what our next pastor might look like. We have met with other churches that have recently gone through a search process. We have met with the Personnel Committee and the Church Advisory Council. We have also hosted four listening sessions for the church body to discuss church issues and provide input to the search committee. A website has been created for any potential candidates to use. On this page, there is a thirty page document put together by the committee about the church and community. This document also contains the compiled results of the 210 responses we received for the congregational survey. There is also a recommendation form for use by anyone wishing to recommend a candidate. We have received seventy nine recommendations and resumes to date. We are meeting weekly to discuss candidates and move them through our process. Although we cannot discuss specific candidates due to confidentiality concerns, we are encouraged with the quality of the candidates. We are still accepting resumes and will continue to do so until we have a new pastor. We continue to ask that you please pray for us during this process. 

The Pastor Search Committee,

Joan Barnhill, Julia Bass, Will Brummett, Ray Dalton, Donna Davenport, Joe Dobyns (chair), Don Garner, Shirley Herring, Kristi Snyder

Serving our Community & Neighbors

By Mary Ellen Darby

As a community shaped by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, we are called to worship God, share the Good News, foster spiritual growth and meet the needs of hurting people.

Since the beginning of August our church family has been faithfully serving our community and neighbors. Faces of First Baptist Church have been preparing and serving meals to others. Take a look at the outreach events and the number served:

Fall Program Kick-Off (8/10) - 100 served                                                                     Carson-Newman Football Team (8/14) - 160 served                                                       Bereavement - 14 served                                                                                         International Student Lunch (8/19) - 80 served                                                           WOW on Wednesday - 20 served                                                                               Hotdog cookout for CNU Students (8/23) - 90 served                                        Baptist Collegiate Ministry Welcome Back Night (8/24) - 90 served                     Carson-Newman Welcome Back Picnic (8/28) - 90 students served    

Collecting this information and sharing it with our church is not meant to give ourselves a big pat on the back. Rather, it is to open our eyes to where people are serving and be an encouragement to future serving opportunities. These service opportunities represent a small area of our giving of time sacrifice. Each day members minister in our community through various opportunities. Thank you for answering God's call to service in your life. May we continue to be the face of Christ and face of First Baptist Church to our neighbors. Thanks be to God.