There’s an old story about the famous architect Christopher Wren. After a massive fire destroyed London in 1666, Wren was tasked with rebuilding St Paul’s Cathedral.

The work was long and difficult.

One day in 1671, Christopher Wren observed three bricklayers on a scaffold. One was crouched, the second half-standing, and the third standing tall.

To the first bricklayer, Christopher Wren asked the question, “What are you doing?”

He replied, “I’m building a wall.”

When asked the same question, the second bricklayer said, “I’m working hard laying bricks to feed my family.”

But when third brick layer, the most productive of the three and the future leader of the group, was asked the question, he responded with a gleam in his eye.

“I’m a cathedral builder,” he said. “I’m building a great cathedral to the Almighty.”

For the first bricklayer, it was just a job. He was building a wall like any other. For the second bricklayer, it was a career — one that provided for his family.

For the third bricklayer, it was a calling.

We are called together to create something beautiful for the Almighty. We are building a church — a people — who also occupy some bricks and mortar from time to time.

The work is not easy. It’s hard pursuing the heavenly goal of being “one heart and one mind” (Acts 4:32, NIV). Being of one heart and mind means that we agree on what matters most — the excellency of Jesus Christ, our shared mission, and our mandate to love one another. We don’t have to agree on everything to be of “one heart and one mind.”

But when we are together — truly together — there is nothing like the church. There’s nothing like a church that loves one another and works well together.

I hope that when the church of the future looks back on this time in the life of First Baptist, they’ll say, “See how they loved one another. See what they did together when times were tough.”

Let me remind you of three important things as we consider the kind of church we are building, by God’s grace.

Opening Celebration for our New Children’s Ministry Area

After 8 months of renovation, we are ready to celebrate our new children’s area. I have been elated to see it come to fruition. It’s light-filled and colorful, elegant and fun. Susan Tatum has done a great job getting us ready for the opening event. We also very much appreciate Gary Nunley for serving as FBC’s owner’s representative to our architect and construction company.

You are invited to join us immediately following 11am worship on May 5th to take a tour of the new space.

Many, many people gave to The Generations Campaign to help us fulfill the vision of Psalm 78:4 (NLT): “We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD.” Many others have continued to give faithfully to FBC to keep our various ministries going. Together we are preparing for a new day.

Wednesday Night Discussion About Our Affiliation with the SBC and CBF

This Wednesday evening at 6pm we are hosting a town hall discussion on the question, “What Kind of Baptists Are We?”

There will be a brief presentation on our history as a church relative to denominational partners, followed by ample time for Q & A regarding our relationship to the Southern Baptist Convention and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

You’ll also hear information about how we give to denominational partners and what makes our identity distinctive in the broader Baptist family. Every voice is valued in this discussion.

I hope you’ll be present in Trentham Hall for this important discussion. It speaks to the heart of the kind of church we are and aspire to be in the future.

Let’s Finish Strong in the 4th Quarter

Finally, let me encourage you to give generously in this last quarter of our fiscal year (we conclude the 2023-2024 fiscal year on June 30).

On the whole, people have been incredibly generous with our church over the last 18 months. The Generations Campaign helped us successfully raise 3.1 million toward much needed renovations. Thank you again for helping to provide for our future.

Our general (budget) giving has not been as strong, but I am confident we can close the gap in the next few months. As I have started with many people already, “It’s the 4th quarter and we’re down two touchdowns!” I know we be a play-all-four-quarters kind of church.

Your generosity continues to amaze me. I’m thankful for the kind of church we are building together.